February still feels like winter in many parts of the country, but it isn't too early to plant some flowers and enjoy a mass of spring blooms, or in the case of bulbs, tremendous fall color. If the soil is workable, planting these flowers directly outside will give you the best head-start. If the ground is still frozen, you can start these flowers indoors and transplant outside as soon as the ground is thawed.
Bulbs work at a slightly slower rate than seeds. If you plant bulbs in fall, you will get blooms in spring; plant in early spring, and you will have beautiful blooms in the summer or fall. Fall-blooming perennials can be planted as early as February if the ground is workable. A good selection includes canna lilies, white calla lilies, gladiolus (which may bloom in late summer), dahlia, spider lily and anemones.
Perennials are a gardening favorite for their accommodating habit of coming back up every year; plant once, enjoy multiple times. In February, some perennials can be sown directly from seed (or started indoors in flats) and some can be planted as seedlings or full plants (in warmer areas). Plant these perennials from seed: chrysanthemum, lupine and delphinium. Some full perennial plants can be put in the ground as soon as it is workable: heuchera and blooming, bare-root shrubs.
Annuals are a great way to install a lot of color for just a small investment in your garden. Many annuals can be started from seed in February and will be blooming with eight to 12 weeks. If it's warm enough, sow directly outside. If not, sow in flats inside and transplant later when the soil is thawed. Annuals to plant in February include alyssum, carnation, cosmos, impatiens, marigold, flax, forget-me-not, larkspur, poppy, stevia, verbena and zinnia.