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The Best Advice About What to Plant in April

Cheryl Spencer from Simply Smart Gardening
Inside: What to plant in April.

April is here and that means glimpses of green will pop up in the garden this month.

The first bits of green to appear in my garden come from the earliest fall-planted bulbs – snowdrops. Soon after, the daffodils make an appearance, yellow as egg yolks.

I could stand there for hours watching the bees buzz from one daffodil to the next.

These early-bloomers handle the unpredictable spring weather well!

And there are plenty of flowers and vegetables you can plant outside this month that can also handle the ever-changing weather in your April garden.

And if your weather isn’t ideal for planting yet, there are seeds you can start indoors this month under grow lights.

Keep reading to get the full list of flowers and vegetables to plant in April.

As a bonus for joining my weekly newsletter, download a free gardening in April checklist. You’ll be sure to get the right things done this month!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase. I only link to products I use and recommend.

woman planting in april garden, what to plant in april

What Flowers to Plant in April

This list also includes trees and shrubs to plant in April.

  • Harden off cool-weather transplants started earlier in spring before planting outdoors – gradually expose the young plants to outdoor conditions of wind, brighter sunlight, and lower moisture. Don’t forget to prepare your soil before you set out any transplants!
  • When buying bedding plants, choose compact, bushy plants that have not started to flower.
  • Plant containerized roses.
  • Plant new vines.
  • Plant new groundcover plants.

Related: Download a FREE garden maintenance list.

  • Shrubs and trees best planted or transplanted in spring, rather than fall, include butterfly bush, dogwood, rose of Sharon, black gum (Nyssa), vitex, redbud, magnolia, tulip poplar, birch, ginkgo, hawthorn, and most oaks.
  • When they start to show signs of life, divide overgrown perennial clumps and transplant them. Dig up, divide, and transplant crowded daylilies, phlox, helenium, fall asters, Shasta daisies, chrysanthemums, bee balm, and hostas. Don’t divide Oriental poppies (Fall), or Iris (late Summer) at this time.
  • Divide clumps of older bulbs in need of rejuvenation. Replant in a sunny spot and water in well. Bulbs prefer locations that are not heavily watered during their summer dormancy. So, don’t overplant with summer annuals or perennials that prefer wet conditions.
  • Plant hardy perennials, such as daylilies and delphiniums.

Related: Free printable garden journal pages 

  • Take cuttings from the tips of chrysanthemums and delphiniums to start new plants.
  • Start tuberous begonias and caladiums indoors for transplanting out to your garden later.
  • Plant cool-season annuals that can tolerate a light frost early in the month, after being hardened off. (When crabapples bloom is a good rule of thumb for proper timing.) These include snapdragons, sweet peas, English daisies, pot marigolds, African daisies, lobelias, sweet alyssum, forget-me-nots, pouch flowers (Nemesia), baby-blue-eyes, larkspurs, love-in-a-mists, bush violets (Browallia), stocks, primroses, pansies, painted tongues (Salpiglossis), sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), and violets.
  • Later in the month, when the weather settles, set out transplants of forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.), foxglove (Digitalis spp.), Shirley, Iceland, and California poppies, Persian buttercups (Ranunculus), and other cool-weather flowers.
  • Direct-sow seeds of sweet peas, bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus), and larkspur (Consolida ajacis) in flowerbeds.
  • Plant new shrubs and trees. With all woody plants, avoid planting too deep.
    • Research indicates that more trees suffer from being planted too deep in the hole than any other problem.
      Dig a hole that’s shallow and 2-3 times the width of the root ball.
    • Don’t add organic matter to the soil when planting trees. It doesn’t help the plant become established, and it creates conditions that encourage the roots to stay inside the planting hole instead of spreading through the surrounding soil.
    • Plant the root ball 1-2 inches above soil grade. Taper the soil away from the trunk back to ground level. Don’t put mulch over the root ball until the tree is established (1 year later).
    • Don’t fertilize newly planted trees or shrubs. Wait one year before fertilizing.
  • Plant summer bulbs such as lilies, freesia, gladiolus, and crocosmias about 1-2 weeks before your last expected spring frost, if you can provide frost protection during a cold snap. Otherwise, wait until after your last frost date.
  • Consider planting flowers that can be dried for winter arrangements. Some of the best are strawflower, statice, celosia, and globe amaranth.
Here’s how to make gardening easy this month… Get a FREE gardening checklist for April when you join my newsletter. It’s everything you need to do in April.

What Vegetables to Plant in April

  • Plant seeds of cool-season vegetables directly in the garden as soon as the soil dries enough to be worked. You can direct-sow these crops: peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and Swiss chard. Don’t forget to prep your soil before you sow your seeds or set out transplants!
  • Start seeds of warm-season vegetables indoors (including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, cucumber, melons, gourds, winter squash, and summer squash) indoors for transplanting later to the garden.
    Related: Leggy seedlings vs. healthy seedlings.
  • Seed a second crop of lettuce (start the seeds indoors or sow them directly in the garden).
  • Harden off and set out transplants of cool-season crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and onions.
  • Plant or transplant asparagus and rhubarb crowns. For best plant establishment, don’t harvest until the third year after planting.
  • Plant certified, disease-free potato “seed” tubers.
  • When the ground is warm and dry, transplant early tomatoes outdoors, inside protective Wall O’ Waters. When squeezed, your soil should crumble instead of forming a ball.
  • Plant or transplant small fruit: strawberries, raspberries, and other small fruit.
  • If planting new strawberries pinch off all the first-year flowers from June bearers to help develop strong root systems. Everbearing and day-neutral varieties can be allowed to develop flowers starting in July. For more info, see answers to frequently asked strawberry questions.

Download Your Free April Garden Checklist

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monthly garden checklist

Download the April gardening checklist now. You’ll be sure to get the right things done in your garden every April!

Want More Gardening Info?

If you liked this article, you’ll love my April gardening tips. You’ll get a list of everything you need to do this month!

And you might want to know what to plant in May.

Your Turn

What have you planted in your garden this April? Let me know in a comment below!

Cheryl Spencer, certified gardener

Hi, I’m Cheryl.
I’m a certified gardener, bird lover, and spreadsheet enthusiast. I believe you can grow your dream garden and still have time to enjoy it. I teach online gardening courses and write articles that help you save time and money in your garden. Join my mailing list, and as a bonus, you’ll get a helpful checklist that’ll tell you what to do in your garden right now.

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