What to sow and grow in February
With crocus' flowering, it's a sign that winter is coming to a close
Image: Crocus 'Ruby Giant' by Thompson & Morgan
February might be the cold, tail end of winter, but springtime is only around the corner. There are plenty of flowers, fruits and vegetables to sow and grow this month. Here are our top picks:
Flowers to sow and grow
Give your begonias a head start by planting them in a frost-free position
Here are the flowers that can be most successfully sown and grown in February:
In the greenhouse/indoors
- Sow lobelia in a heated propagator.
- Plant begonia tubers (hollow side up) in pots of moist compost and cover with a little more compost. Keep them in a bright, frost-free position.
- Sow antirrhinums (snapdragons) and laurentia now to ensure early flowering.
- Start dahlia tubers into growth by planting them in pots of compost, maintaining a minimum temperature of 10 degrees celsius.
Sow sweet peas in a glasshouse, cold frame or a cool place indoors. Soak sweet pea seeds in tepid water overnight before planting them, to speed up germination.
- Grow your own chrysanthemum plants from seed — start them off now in the greenhouse for the earliest blooms.
- Sow geraniums (pelargoniums) indoors now for earlier flowers.
- Plant or pot on hardwood cuttings taken last year.
- Pot on rooted cuttings of tender perennial plants taken last summer.
Vegetables and herbs to sow and grow
You can really get cracking in the vegetable garden this month. Here are the crops to focus on:
In the greenhouse/indoors
- Start growing (chitting) early potatoes on a windowsill indoors.
- Start sowing cucumber and tomato seeds for the greenhouse, in warm conditions.
- Sow peas — try sowing them in upcycled guttering with drainage holes drilled in the bottom.
- Start asparagus pea seeds under cover for planting out in late spring.
- Sow aubergine seeds now for indoor crops this summer.
- Grow your own basil on the windowsill to flavour your favourite Italian dishes and fill your kitchen with heady Mediterranean aromas.
- Start early sowings of brassicas under cover. Try Brussels sprouts, summer cabbage, cauliflower 'All the Year Round', and calabrese 'Aquiles'.
- Start slow-growing celeriac seeds now under cover.
Try bolt-resistant varieties of celery, such as 'Lathom Self Blanching', for early sowings.
- Sow leeks under cover — these vegetables need a long growing season.
Try growing really large onions this year — sow 'Bunton's Showstopper' and 'Ailsa Craig' indoors now.
- Sow sweet peppers for growing on in a heated greenhouse. Always provide plenty of warmth.
In the cold frame/under cloches
- Sow broad beans, carrots, parsnips, early beetroot, salad onions, lettuces, radish, peas, spinach and summer cabbages outside under cloches, if you have light (sandy) soil and live in a mild part of the UK. Otherwise it's best to wait until the soil has begun to warm up in March or April.
- Sow beetroot under cover.
- Sow early carrot varieties, such as 'Nantes 2', under cloches or in greenhouse borders.
- Grow chicory under cloches, for early summer harvesting.
- Sow early peas under cloches for your first crop of the season. 'Twinkle' is a good variety for this.
- Sow radish seeds now under cloches or in greenhouse borders.
- Grow some salad leaves, lettuce or spinach indoors or under cloches for a tasty and nutritious start to the growing season.
- Sow seeds of spring onions under cloches, in greenhouse borders or in cold frames. 'Ishikura' and 'Summer Isle' are good early varieties.
Direct sow outdoors
- Plant out garlic and shallots in light soils only; heavy soils still need longer to warm up.
- Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
Fruit to sow and grow
February is a good time for planting the following fruits:
- Plant raspberry canes and blackberries, provided the soil isn't frozen or waterlogged.
- Plant redcurrants, whitecurrants, blackcurrants and gooseberries if soil conditions are right.
- Plant bare-root strawberry plants outside now. Replace plants that are 3 years old or more, as they will have lost much of their vigour.
- Plant stone fruit trees, such as apricots, peaches and nectarines.
- Plant rhubarb crowns in a sunny position in well drained soil.
Keep one step ahead — what to order this month: