Bulbs, Gardening, Plants, Spring, Stuart

What Should I Plant in February?

The ground’s warming up, the birds are singing, and that means it’s time for February planting. Bulbs are still the order of the day thanks to a general lack of sunlight, but there’s also some bare root plants and trees you can get stuck into.

Without further ado, let’s get to the plants you’re going to want to work on in February!

TL;DR: Plant spring bulbs for a summer filled with colour, ornamentals like magnolias and ornamental cherries to get those bare roots in the ground.

Spring Planting/Summer Flowering Bulbs

Dahlia

A globular Dahlia, unsuitable for trypophobes

Dahlias bring some excitement to February gardening with their beautiful variety. Globes mix with daisy-like shapes and funky frilly varieties, in an excellent array of colours. There really is a Dahlia for everyone!

Once you’ve picked your variety tubers, place them in a tray of soil in good light and spray occasionally with water to encourage the buds to grow.  

Lily

A classic Asiatic Lily in crisp white

Known for their eye-catching colours and/or powerful fragrances (depending on the type), Lilies are a florist’s dream and loved by gardeners across the world. Also known by their Latin name Lilium, they come in two distinct varieties (colourful Asiatic or fragrant Oriental) and make excellent cut flowers.

Plant about 8-10cm apart in a border or planter, and remember that lilies like to grow tall – put some smaller plants around them (like snowdrops) to really accentuate that height!

Peony

a Raspberry red and fantastically fragrant peony

Peonies are a bit of a rose challenger, similarly packed full of petals and fantastically fragrant. They’re also perennials, coming back year after year for a multi-month burst of summer colour.

Plant them 10cm deep, 25cm apart (common instructions for many spring-planting bulbs) and you can expect them to appear around May time.  Don’t forget to add compost whenever planting bulbs!

Bare Root Plants

Ornamental Trees

From mini-leafed and berry-bearing Rowans to the perennial favourite Cherry Blossom, ornamental trees are perfect for some seasonal interest. Whether it’s for the blooms, the foliage or indeed the winding branches like on Magnolias, there’s all sorts of reasons to plant an ornamental tree this February.

With bare root trees, take note of  the size of the root ball, and make sure you’re planting in soil that isn’t waterlogged or frozen over. Dig a hole about the same size as the root ball, and feel free to add some rootgrow (mycorrhizal fungi) to help it grow. Stake it in once you’ve filled the hole back in with your tree and organic matter/compost, and you’re good to go.

For a more in-depth guide to planting bare root trees, check out this blog post on just that!

Hedging

A lot of hedging is in a dormant phase at this time of year (an ideal time to prune them), which makes it a good time to help the bare root hedges establish. They’re great to give birds somewhere to raise chicks protected from the elements, along with giving you some pretty privacy too.

Plant as you would a bare root tree, though you might want to mark a line with string first so you dig your holes in a line and your hedge is nice and straight.

Perennial plants

A Close Up of a Bunch of Bright Purple Lavender Plants

Perennials are plants that come back for 2 years or more, perfect for building pots or borders that return like old friends when the weather warms and the days get longer. There are loads of different types, from alpines (to go in rockeries) to evergreenspollinator-friendly varieties to bring in the bees and much, much more.

Favourites include Hostas, Lavender, Digitalis (foxgloves) and Alliums. We’d need to go into a whole new blog post to talk about them all in detail, but you can learn more about a few of them in ‘What is A Perennial Plant‘!

Bedding plants

fragrant Violas boasting unrivalled colour and durability

Bedding plants come in annual and perennial varieties, but let’s focus on the annuals. These stay around for a year before making way for whatever you have planned to plant next, so they’re for ever-changing styles and flashes of inspiration.

Pansies and Petunias are some of the more well-known annuals, and hanging baskets are often packed full of them along with violas. They’re renowned for their colours, with packs often sold with mixes of complementary or contrasting colours. Look for blues, yellows, reds, pinks, whites and all sorts of shades in between, with splashes of black for that characteristic face-like look.