March in the Garden

March is a guessing game in the garden. About the only thing we can count on is that March too shall pass. So go ahead and push the envelope, but keep the row covers handy.

Everyone should have their seeds started, their trees and shrubs pruned and their tools ready to go. After that, the most important thing is to have patience.

Here are regional gardening tips to take with a spoonful of judgement.


  • Start feeding houseplants again. Repot, if necessary.

  • Avoid walking on wet soil in the garden.

  • Get your soil tested.


  • Check on your rhubarb.

  • Start seeds indoors.


  • It’s tropical season, but be prepared for cold spells.

  • Keep watering, especially new plants.

  • Start replacing cool weather annuals with summer varieties.

  • Get perennials in the ground to establish them.

  • Plant summer bulbs, tubers, etc., like blood lily, caladiums, canna and elephant ears.

  • Begin planting warm season crops.

  • Finish up winter shrub pruning and cut back any flowering shrubs as the blossoms fade.

  • Transplant container grown citrus trees. Fertilizer established trees now.


  • Start feeding your gardenias.

  • Keep mulching.


  • Hardy annuals can go out even before last expected frost.

  • Wait until the soil warms and dries before planting summer bulbs, tubers, etc.

  • Perennial vegetables and fruits can be planted once danger of frost has passed and the ground is workable.

  • Prune roses before the buds break.

  • Plant shrubs when the ground warms.


  • Start Seeds Indoors. Cut back grasses.

  • Check shrubs for damage. Finish pruning.

  • Start spraying fruit trees.

  • Remove burlap coverings from around evergreens.

  • Cut back sub-shrub perennials like buddleia and caryopteris.


  • Start seeds of warm season vegetables and flowers indoors.

  • Force some spring blooming trees and shrubs like forsythia, pussy willow, quince and carb apples.

  • Keep tabs on plant crowns that may have heaved out of the ground during a thaw.

  • Begin removing mulch at the end of the month, as temperatures increase.

Northern California

  • Plant summer blooming bulbs, tubers, etc..

  • Fertilize trees & shrubs.

  • Feed your roses.

  • Harden off and set out seedlings.

  • Plant potatoes.

  • Prune old growth off the bougainvillea.

Pacific NW

  • Start seeds of greens indoors.

  • Plant peas at the end of the month.

  • Deadhead early bloomers.

  • Keep mulching.

  • Be diligent about hunting slugs.


  • Plant out cool season vegetables (Broccoli, cabbage, chard, greens, lettuce, peas, root veggies)and flowers.

  • Plant berry bushes.

  • Start seeds of warm season vegetables indoors (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes) and flowers.

  • Direct seed outdoors, any cool season greens and root crops like beets, carrots, onions, radishes and turnips.

  • Finish pruning while woody plants are still dormant.

Southern California

  • Scout for slugs & snails.

  • Divide fall blooming perennials.

  • Spray fruit trees.

  • Start seeds, if you haven’t already.


  • Time to pull back the mulch and start warming the soil.

  • You can still get a freeze. Keep covers handy.

  • Plant vegetables

    • Outdoors: beets, corn, greens, lettuce, potatoes.

    • Indoors: eggplant, melons, peppers, tomatoes, squash.

  • Plant summer bulbs.


By Marie Iannotti, Guide
Regional Gardening Guide for March