5 of the best bulbs to plant in February for guaranteed summer blooms

Get ahead on your summer garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re dreaming of a summer garden filled with beautiful blooms, you may think that February is too late to get the ball rolling. But these are the best bulbs to plant in February. 

Of course, most of us know that the time between September and November is the best time to plant bulbs for spring. And while some spring-flowering plants will continue to bloom throughout the summer, planting summer-flowering bulbs is a surefire way to add extra colour and visual appeal to your garden. Thankfully, we're starting to approach the perfect time to plant summer bulbs

As the temperatures are still a bit iffy, we understand that it can be hard to know what jobs to do in the garden in February, and it will still be too early to plant some bulbs. That’s why we’ve consulted with the experts to take the guesswork out of planting bulbs, and below, you’ll find five of the best (and most beautiful) bulbs to plant in February. 

What bulbs to plant in February

‘You can plant summer-flowering bulbs in February as this will ensure that they start growing as soon as the weather starts to warm up, meaning that they're blooming fully in summer when they should be,’ explains Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. Just be mindful that you may need to start these bulbs off in pots if the weather is too chilly. 

Headshot of gardening expert Steve Chilton
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.

1. Liatris

purple plant in field

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve already added a bee garden to your outside space but think you could still do more to attract bees and butterflies, let us introduce you to Liatris. 

This herbaceous and long-blooming perennial offers beautiful hues of white, pink, and purple and is a firm favourite of our flying friends. Plus, it’s one of the best bulbs to plant in February.

How you plant liatris bulbs does depend on the current state of your garden and the weather forecast, though. If your soil is light and well-draining, you can get started on planting these bulbs around 5cm into the ground.

If it’s been raining heavily and your soil is waterlogged, it’s probably best to plant your bulbs in pots and then transfer them to your garden beds when the conditions are drier. 

Lucy Rhead, gardening enthusiast at Gtech, explains, ‘You can grow bulbs in pots; however, these will need to be large. Typically, the pot should be a minimum of 24 inches deep to accommodate the roots. Potted bulbs will also require extra attention when it comes to watering and protection from extreme weather.’

Picture of Lucy Rhead
Lucy Rhead

Lucy has worked at Gtech for more than five years during which time she’s developed a passion for cleaning and gardening. Lucy loves learning about new product innovations, and how they can help make everyone’s lives a bit easier.

2. Galtonia


(Image credit: Alamy / Steffen Hauser / botanikfoto)

Another bulb to plant in February is Galtonia, a stunning late-summer-flowering plant that’s often called the summer hyacinth. However, what’s intriguing about these flowers is that they look more like giant snowdrops. 

If you want to plant these bulbs, make sure you give them a sunny home (so you might struggle if you were planning to add them to your north-facing garden ideas) where there’s guaranteed well-draining soil. They’re also best planted in groups, but they still need a little space. So, aim to plant them around 10cm apart. 

3. Lilies

Lillies in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re wondering when to plant lily bulbs, the answer isn’t necessarily February. However, they can usually be planted anytime between the autumn and spring, so it doesn’t matter if you’re leaving this garden job to the last minute. As long as you plant lily bulbs before March, you should still be able to reap the rewards. 

Tony Williams, Estate Manager at Mount Ephraim Gardens, says, ‘February is a good time to plant Lilies before spring arrives, although early Autumn is the best time to get them started, while the soil is still warm. Planting earlier allows more time for the bulbs to establish a strong root system before winter dormancy.’

Thankfully, these flowers will be a welcome addition to any garden, but they’re especially handy to bulk out garden border ideas and offer some extra height to your garden beds. Just remember to plant them 15-20cm deep in a sunny area of your garden with well-draining soil. 

headshot of Tony Wiliams
Tony Williams

Tony is a keen and experienced gardener who has worked in horticulture across a variety of sites, including Canterbury Cathedral.  He is extremely interested in sustainable gardening and strives to avoid polluting chemicals in fertiliser and pest control. He is dedicated to preserving natural resources and reducing water waste wherever possible.

4. Agapanthus


(Image credit: Getty Images)

While agapanthus bulbs can be planted directly into the ground, this beautiful purple-blow flower actually thrives best in pots. So, if you’re looking to bring a container garden idea to life, agapanthus is another name to add to your shopping list. 

Agapanthus bulbs are also best planted in February, and you don’t need to worry about the changing weather patterns, either. Once you’ve planted the bulbs 8-10cm deep in your pots, you can then move the pots around depending on the temperature and where the sun shines in your garden. 

If it’s wet and cold, take them inside for some respite. When it’s sunny and warm again, they can go back outside. 

5. Eucomis

pineapple lily in garden

(Image credit: Derek Harris / Alamy)

If you’re looking to add an exotic and unusual plant to your garden this summer, you might be interested in Eucomis. Unofficially called the pineapple lily, this plant produces stems of light and dark pink flowers that will make a real statement in your garden. 

In an ideal world, you should wait until the spring to plant Eucomis, but if you’re looking to get ahead of the game, you can still plant Eucomis bulbs in February - but only if you do so in pots. If you plant them directly into the ground at this time of year, you may find that they rot before they get the chance to show off their blooms.

So, focus on planting three bulbs around 15cm deep into large pots filled with draining soil. Then, you can move them depending on the weather or pop them in a cold frame. 

Where to buy bulbs online

If you can't get to a garden centre there are plenty of places online you can pick up bulbs for these glorious plants. Here are three of the places that are our top go-tos for buying bulbs.


Can you plant any bulbs in February?

February can be a tough time to plant bulbs, as the ground is often still too cold and wet to start planting. This means that you should avoid just planting any bulbs and hoping for the best. 

Instead, do your research and find the best bulbs to plant in February. These tend to be hardier varieties or more tender plants that will benefit from being planted in pots during this colder period. 

Is it too late to plant tulip bulbs in Feb?

Ideally, you should always plant tulip bulbs between September and late November. This will ensure that they can survive throughout the winter, and bloom in the way that you want them to. 

If you find some leftover tulip bulbs in your shed in February, though, you might be able to get away with planting them. While this is not the recommended time to plant them, you may get lucky if the weather is on your side. 

Just remember to lower your expectations, as you may find that the tulip plants struggle to grow or bloom as they normally would. 

It’s time to get planting, ladies and gents.

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.