Can you plant daffodils in February? Experts reveal whether the window of opportunity has closed

It's not ideal – but is it possible?

Daffodils in the garden
(Image credit: Getty Images/Johnrob)

Daffodils are the bright symbols of spring arriving, signalling the end of a dreary and cold winter. So it’s not surprising that this sunny flower enjoys much popularity. But if you’ve left it this late, you’re probably wondering – can I plant daffodils in February?

Given that some daffodils are already starting to bloom now, it’s probably quite obvious that February is not the ideal time when to plant daffodil bulbs. But the question is whether it is at all possible to plant daffodils in February.

So we put this very question to our gardening experts to see what their advice on the matter is. And this is what they’ve come back with.

Tree espaliered against a grey wood clad wall with flowerbed of daffodils and gravel below.

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Can I plant daffodils in February?

Planting bulbs in January is already cutting it tight, let alone leaving it till February. But it turns out that while it’s not ideal, you can actually still plant daffodils in February, according to gardening pros.

‘You can plant daffodils in February here in the UK, as long as the risk of frost has passed for the year,’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. ‘I wouldn't recommend planting in February if snow is due, or if the temperatures are still freezing,’ he warns.

Planting your daffodils in February is especially recommended if you have some bulbs left over since these won’t last until the next planting season in autumn as the commonly recommended window for planting is between September and November.

Winter Narcissi: Narcissus papyraceus 'Ziva' / paperwhite daffodil bulbs on top of antique books.

(Image credit: Future PLC)
Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

‘Daffodils should be planted in autumn or early winter. However, if you have missed this window, it is not too late to plant them in February,’ says Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk.

‘If you have bulbs available, it’s better to plant them rather than let them go to waste as they may still be able to take root and bloom given the right care and attention. Even if the bulbs don’t flower this year, they should bloom as normal the following year.’

And that way, you can start on your bulb lasagne a year in advance.

Where to buy daffodil bulbs:

Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête': a close-up shot of the yellow flowers of this smaller daffodil variety

(Image credit: Crocus)

FAQs

What happens if I plant daffodil bulbs in February?

‘If the ground is frozen, the daffodils may struggle to take root,’ Fiona explains. ‘However, if you plant them slightly deeper, this may protect the bulbs from freezing.' 

'A good layer of mulch will also help insulate the bulbs and retain moisture. Flowering may also be a bit later than usual and could have fewer flowers due to the lack of a strong rooting system. The blooms may also be smaller than usual.’

Daffodils in the garden

(Image credit: Getty Images/MaxBaumann)

What is the latest month to plant daffodil bulbs?

The ideal planting time for daffodils is from September to November, with December being the absolute latest that gardening experts recommend to plant them.

‘I recommend planting them early December at the latest. As long as you plant them before the first frost of the year hits, you are planting them in good time,’ Steve says.

But if you do end up planting your bulbs in the new year, they should still catch up.

‘Daffodil bulbs can be planted as late as January but the bulb establishment and flowering can take a while after planting. However, they will catch up eventually,’ says Petar Ivanov, gardening and plant expert at Fantastic Gardeners.

Bottom line is that whether you have bulbs lying around or you’re feeling adventurous, plant those daffodils this February and see what happens. It might be a great success.

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.