7 flowers to sow in February to provide beautiful blooms in beds, borders, or containers

Sow seeds indoors early for fabulous flowers and get a long season of blooms to enjoy

Flowers in bloom in a cottage garden border
(Image credit: Getty Images/Jacky Parker Photography)

Sowing flowers in late winter or early spring can guarantee you earlier blooms and potentially longer flowering seasons. Many popular types of flowers can be started from seed in February - providing you can give them the heat and light they require to grow healthily.

Perennials, biennials, and annuals can all be started from seed in February. Whether you are growing for color or foliage to add to beds, borders, or pots in the coming year, or aiming to get perennial blooms for years to come, sowing indoors earlier in the year can give you a good head start on the season.

When planning what to plant in February, however, consider your climate and when you will be able to put the plants out into the garden. You do not want root-bound plants that have sat for many months waiting for the last frosts to pass. Timing is everything, when done well you will have healthy plants to provide a bounty of color throughout summer and fall.

Sowing flower seeds in pots of compost

(Image credit: Getty Images/Aleksandr Zubkov)

Tips for sowing flowers in February 

  • Flower seeds benefit from a lot of light to germinate and grow in a healthy manner. While a greenhouse, or a warm and bright windowsill, can provide good levels of light, they may benefit from the use of LED grow lights to supplement the natural levels 
  • Warmth is also important to germinate flowers, this will especially be the case during the colder period of late winter. A heated greenhouse can be an ideal set-up for heat and light. Many people will opt to grow indoors, where a heated propagator, or heat mat, can be used to provide a consistent temperature. A propagator such as the iPower Seed Tray Kits, available at Amazon, can provide gentle and consistent warmth to help seedlings germinate
  • Picking the right soil to start seeds in is also going to be key. Choose a potting mix that is specifically designed for starting seeds in - such a product will be lightweight, well-draining, and contain the right level of nutrients required to germinate seeds. Alternatives, such as homemade compost, contain far too many nutrients than are needed at this stage and can cause erratic germination 

1. Antirrhinum

Snapdragon flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Antirrhinums are known more widely as snapdragons and these cottage garden favorites are commonly sown early in the year, to flower from June onwards. Seeds can actually either be sown indoors in fall, or in early spring from February onwards in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill inside the home. 

Antirrhinum seeds are sown on the surface of compost and do not want to be covered - as they want the light to germinate. Cover the trays or pots with a propagator, or a clear plastic bag, and give them a temperature of 65-75°F. 

Pot on seedlings once they are large enough to handle and continue to grow them in a sheltered spot, ready to transplant into the garden once the risk of frost has passed. Antirrhinums are ideal for growing in flower beds and borders, or can thrive in a container garden, and their flowers attract bees

You can see the range of snapdragon seeds at True Leaf Market

2. Cerinthe

cerinthe major Purpurascens flowering in cottage garden border

(Image credit: Deb Hopton / Alamy)

Cerinthe is a fantastic hardy annual that can provide striking foliage in a border. The plant reaches around two feet in height and has silvery-blue leaves that are topped with purple hanging bell-shaped flowers. Cerinthe is best sown indoors from February to April, while it is also a flower to sow in fall and overwinter for very early blooms. 

It is beneficial to sow the seeds for 12 hours before sowing, as cerinthe seeds are tough and this simple preparation can help improve the chances of germination. After soaking, sow the seeds on the surface of compost and cover them with a thin layer of more compost or vermiculite. Place them somewhere warm - ideally at temperatures of 65-75°F - and the seeds should germinate within a couple of weeks. You can get cerinthe seeds to grow at Walmart.

3. Black-eyed susan

yellow rudbeckias

(Image credit: Ali Majdfar / Moment / Getty Images)

Black-eyed Susans, also known as rudbeckia, come in shades of red, yellow, and orange and can be either perennial, biennial, or annual plants. Black-eyed Susans bloom for a long period, from summer through fall, and annual varieties can be sowed from seed indoors from February onwards. 

Plant black-eyed Susan seeds thinly in pots or trays a quarter-of-an-inch deep and cover with a thin layer of soil. The use of a propagator or a clear plastic bag can increase the warmth and humidity around the seeds and boost germination. 

Providing a temperature of around 65-70°F is ideal for germinating black-eyed-Susan seeds within two or three weeks. Pot the individual seedlings up to grow them on and transplant them to their final location come spring.

You can see the range of black-eyed Susan seeds at True Leaf Market

4. Silene

Red flowers of red campion silene dioica

(Image credit: Getty Images/Tom Meaker)

Silene is a wide genus of mainly attractive perennial wildflowers that are loved by bees and whose blooms can come in many shades. Many species are popular ornamental plants that form clumps with delicate spikes of divided petals that bloom throughout summer and into fall. 

Seeds can be sown in fall or early spring and require lower temperatures and a period of cold stratification to break dormancy than many other flowers. This cold period can be achieved by placing the seeds in the fridge for a few weeks, or germinating them in a cold frame outdoors. 

Thinly sow seeds onto trays or pots filled with compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of more soil. The seeds may take time to germinate, but once they do grow the plants at around 65°F until it is time to plant them out after the risk of frost has passed for your US hardiness zone. One example of a lovely variety is Silene pendula, with seeds available at Amazon.

5. Hardy Geranium

hardy geraniums Orion in cottage garden display

(Image credit: Alex Manders / Shutterstock)

Many people grow hardy geraniums as they are reliable and long-flowering perennials that have a plethora of uses in the garden. These perennial plants can work in cottage gardens, flower beds, as ground cover plants, or look fantastic in pots. And there is a wide range of hardy geranium varieties to choose from, coming in a variety of colors. These plants are easily confused with annual geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, but there are major differences between the two. 

Hardy geraniums are usually bought as young plants from nurseries and garden centers, but they can be grown from seed if you fancy a bit of a challenge. If you do want to try cultivating your own, they can be sown from seed in February and those sown this month will tend to burst into flower come next summer. 

Sow the seeds thinly and cover with a fine layer of soil. Keep the soil moist - do not let it dry out - and ideally at a temperature of around 70-75°F. In ideal conditions, they should germinate within 10 days of sowing. 

6. Salvia

Purple salvia

(Image credit: Getty images)

Salvias are hugely popular plants as part of many people’s backyard ideas. There are annual and perennial forms of salvias to grow and they are fantastic late summer flowers. Their long blooming season means they are still displaying late on - almost into November - as plants for fall pollinators

There are many varieties of salvias that you can grow from seed, and an ideal time is to start seeds indoors in February. Sow seeds on the surface of pots of trays filled with compost and cover them with a sprinkling of more compost, or vermiculite. Salvia seeds want temperatures of 70-75°F to germinate and for the soil to be kept consistently moist. 

Prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them indoors ready to plant them out after the risk of frost has passed.

You can see the range of salvia seeds and plants at Burpee

7. Osteospermum

Pink flowers of an osteospermum in bloom

(Image credit: Getty Images/Firdausiah Mamat)

Osteospermum, also commonly known as the African Daisy, is a vibrant addition to any flower bed, with its blooms coming in bright shades of orange, yellow, pink, purple, and white. The plants bloom throughout the summer and fall and are known to attract bees and other pollinators. 

Osteospermum seeds are best sown undercover from February through to May. Sow the seeds into pots or trays of compost and only cover them very lightly, as they want lots of light for germination. 

The seeds want temperatures of 60-70°F to germinate and for the soil to be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Placing the seeds in a propagator or plastic bag will aid germination. The seeds should germinate within two weeks and be transplanted into individual pots once large enough to handle.

You can see the range of osteospermum seeds at True Leaf Market


Can roses be planted in February?

You can plant roses in February. Both bare root and container-grown roses can be planted this month, as long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged. If you want to grow roses, bare root roses can be planted at any point of their dormant season, between October and April. Container-grown roses can be planted at any time of the year.

Once the soil warms up in spring, you can start sowing flower seeds directly into the garden. However, such direct sowing does come with a lot of variables, as there is unpredictability when it comes to the weather and whether insects or animals may eat the seeds or the germinated seedlings. You will always have more control by starting flower seeds indoors and, in truth, it has always been my preferred way of growing flowers over the years. 

Drew Swainston
Content Editor

Drew’s passion for gardening started with growing vegetables and salad in raised beds in a small urban terrace garden. He has gone on to work as a professional gardener in historic gardens across the UK and also specialise as a kitchen gardener growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, and cut flowers. That passion for growing extends to being an allotmenteer, garden blogger, and producing how-to gardening guides for websites. Drew was shortlisted in the New Talent of the Year award at the 2023 Garden Media Guild Awards.