All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.
Cosmos flowers

What to plant in February

Find out which seeds, bulbs and plants to plant in February

In the UK, February is a good month to sow seeds of hardy annuals such as cosmos, and greenhouse crops such as tomatoes. By sowing seeds early on in the year, you can enjoy flowers and vegetables for a larger part of the year – the growing season can then be extended by carrying out repeated sowings from March onwards.

Advertisement

If you have a heated propagator and grow lamp, you can start sowing chillies, aubergines and sweet peppers in February. Otherwise, sow seeds of hardier vegetables such as kale, and hardy annual flowers such as cosmos, in pots on a warm, sunny windowsill.

February is also a good time to plant summer-flowering bulbs in pots, most of which do best in free-draining soils. You can plant hardy perennials such as Japanese anemones and hardy geraniums, too. Most are dormant in February, with little or no foliage growing above the ground. However, by planting them in February you can get them off to a good start, as they will start growing as soon as temperatures increase.

Outside, in soil warmed beneath a cloche, you can sow broad beans and plant out young plants of hardy salads.

You will need:

It’s exciting to be able to start sowing a variety of different seeds at this time of year, and to give them the best chance you might find that it’s worth investing in additional kit, which we’ve suggested below.

Flowers to plant in February

Cosmos

A single, pink cosmos flower

Cosmos are easy flowers to grow and they look great in borders or meadows. The seeds need light to germinate, so sow on top of peat-free seed compost in a tray or plant pot placed indoors in a sunny spot such as a window sill, then prick out when large enough to handle.


Sweet peas

Pink sweet pea ‘First Flame’

Sweet peas are a stalwart of summer garden and they’re easy to grow. Sow seeds individually into biodegradable pots or cardboard tubes, as they can be planted out in their containers to avoid root disturbance. Keep them in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame and harden off before planting out.


Salvias

Salvia patens flowers

Salvias are great for providing structure and height in the garden, and many varieties can be grown from seed. Sow the seeds in February, scattering them on top of peat-free seed compost, and then cover the seeds with a fine layer of compost or vermiculite. Keep the pots in a light, warm spot indoors, ensuring the compost stays moist.


Lilies

Pink and white lily flowers

Lilies are fantastic summer border flowers, and work well in cut flower arrangements. Plant the bulbs any time from autumn to spring in a sunny spot, in rich, well-drained soil, around 15-20cm deep. If you have heavy, wet soil, it’s best to plant them in pots, to plat out later.

Lots of lilies to plant? Check out our expert’s guide to the best bulb planters, and here’s the list of the top scorers:


Eucomis

Pineapple lily (Eucomis) flowers

Exotic pineapple lilies (Eucomis) are usually planted in spring, however, it’s not too early to plant them in February, but you’ll have more success if you plant them in pots, as open ground can be wet at this time of year, causing the bulbs to rot. Plant the bulbs 15cm deep in pots in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse, and plant out into the garden when all risk of frost has passed.


Liatris

Feathery pink liatris blooms

Liatris are tough, herbaceous perennials hailing from North America, beloved by bees and butterflies. Large, extravagant blooms come in shades of pink, purple and white. Plant the bulbs in light, free-draining soil, around 5cm deep. If you have heavy, or waterlogged soil, plant the bulbs in pots to plant out later.


Agapanthus

Tall blue flowerheads of agapanthus

There are many beautiful types of agapanthus to grow, and getting them started couldn’t be easier. Containers are ideal for growing agapanthus, as you can bring them under cover in winter if you need to. Plant the bulbs 8-10cm deep, 10-15cm apart in good quality, well-drained compost. Once frosts have passed, move the pot outdoors to a warm, sunny position.


Galtonia

White bluebell-like flowers of the summer hyacinth Galtonia

Galtonia, or summer hyacinths, are stately plants that produce tall spikes of nodding white flowers, which look particularly good when planted in large drifts. They do best in a sunny position in free-draining soil, where the bulbs should be planted 10cm deep, 10cm apart. In heavy soils, plant in pots.


Hardy geraniums

Pink-lined white flowers of a hardy geranium or cranesbill

Hardy geraniums, also known as cranesbills, are useful plants to have in the garden. The flowers will last for months, providing food for pollinators, and they’re easy to grow. They can also be grown in sun or shade. These robust plants will adapt to suit most soils, except those that are waterlogged. For deep shade, why not try sowing seeds of herb robert?


Japanese anemones

Japanese anemone flowers: pale pink petals around golden centres

Reliable and vigorous, Japanese anemones are well suited to borders, blending well with other plants and adding height and structure. Grow them in partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil.


Vegetables to plant in February

Kale

A red kale plant

While very hardy, kale seeds need to be started off indoors during winter, as it’s too cool outside for the seeds to germinate. Sow seeds indoors in modules or 7cm pots, with 2-3 seeds per module, then thin to leave the healthiest seedling. Keep on a sunny window sill.


Tomatoes

Sowing tomato seeds in a tray in a propagator

The seeds of tomatoes need a minimum temperature of 10ºC to germinate, so are best started off in a heated propagator. However, if you wait until the end of the month, a sunny windowsill should be warm enough to encourage germination, just make sure the pots or trays are covered to stop temperatures falling dramatically at night.


Chillies

Crop of red chillies

Chillies are a good crop to start in February, but only if you have a heated propagator as most varieties need a minimum temperature of 25ºC to germinate. Sow 2-3 seeds thinly per small individual pot using seed compost. Cover to own depth with vermiculite.


Aubergines

A selection of aubergine varieties on a wooden table

Harvest July to October.

Like chillies, aubergines need a minimum temperature of 25ºC to germinate, but the earlier you sow them, the longer their season of growth and the greater chance they have to fruit. Sow 2-3 seeds thinly per small individual pot using seed compost. Cover to own depth with vermiculite.


Basil

Basil leaves

Basil needs a minimum temperature of 15ºC to germinate, so it’s best sown in a heated propagator, but you may have success on a sunny window sill from the end of the month. Sow basil thinly on the surface of pots or trays of seed compost, and cover with vermiculite.


Broad beans

Sowing broad bean seeds

Sow broad beans in February for a head start on spring sowings. Sow direct outdoors if conditions are mild or if you have pre-warmed the soil using cloches or fleece. In cold conditions, sow in multi-celled trays in a greenhouse or cold frame, and then plant the young plants out when temperatures have increased.

Advertisement