Regional Gardening Guide for March

Gardening Tips for the Beginning of Spring

Gardening Hand Trowel and Fork Standing in Garden Soil

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March is a guessing game in the garden. Will it warm up soon? Will it stay warm? Will the rains start/stop? 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. It's tempting to take advantage of warm days, but even in Zones 9 and 10, spring gets the last word in the garden.

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

All Regions

  • Start feeding houseplants again. Repot, if necessary.
  • Avoid walking on wet soil in the garden. This is because soil can be wetter this time of year than during the core winter months, and you can compact the soil by walking on it. Compacting the soil could result in poor root penetration, poor drainage, and lack of necessary air space between plants.
  • Get your soil tested.



  • It's tropical season, but cold spells happen. Be prepared.
  • 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., such as blood lily, caladiums, canna, and elephant ears.
  • Begin planting warm-season vegetables before the temperature shoots up.
  • Finish up winter shrub pruning and cut back any flowering shrubs as the blossoms fade.
  • Transplant container-grown citrus trees. Fertilizer established trees now. Wait 4–6 weeks to feed newly planted trees.


  • Start feeding your gardenias now.
  • Keep mulching.
  • Sow a cover crop.


  • 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 the 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 such as Buddleia and Caryopteris.


  • Good luck planting peas for St. Pat's Day. You'll have better luck if you wait for the soil to get warmer and drier.
  • Start seeds of warm-season vegetables and flowers indoors.
  • Force some spring-blooming trees and shrubs such as forsythia, pussy willow, quince, and crab 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

Pacific Northwest

  • Amend soil and side dress existing plants.
  • Start seeds of greens indoors.
  • Plant peas at the end of the month.
  • Deadhead early bloomers.
  • Keep mulching.
  • Be diligent about hunting slugs.
  • Set out apple maggot traps.


Southern California

  • Scout for slugs and 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, and potatoes
    • Indoors: eggplant, melons, peppers, tomatoes, and squash
  • Plant summer bulbs.

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