What to Plant in March: Helpful Guide Makes Planting Easy
INSIDE: Not sure what to plant in March? Discover what flowers and vegetables to plant. [+Bonus download: March planting checklist].
The garden in March is defined by transitions.
It’s when winter finally yields to spring…
And we look forward to harvesting the ingredients for the first salad of the season.
As we pull the first weeds, we keep our fingers crossed for a quick end to mud season so we can actually get some gardening done!
When the weather warms up and the days get longer, it’s natural to think about sowing and growing.
And there’s a lot you can plant in March!
Keep reading to get the full list of flowers and vegetables to plant in your spring garden.
Want a printable list of what to do in your garden this month? Download my free March checklist.
March planting guide:
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What flowers to plant in March
- Start seeds of perennials such as columbine (Aquilegia spp.), campanula, Bellflower (Campanula spp.), blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.), globeflowers (Trollius spp.), and pyrethrum (Tanacetum coccineum) indoors under lights.
- Divide summer and fall-blooming perennials. Summer and fall bloomers can be lifted and divided now.
- Daylilies, chrysanthemums, hostas, daisies, and coreopsis are easy to divide and transplant when still semi-dormant.
- Lift clumps with a fork and make clean cuts with a sharp spade or knife. Keep the young outer portions and discard the old, spent center.
- Sow seeds of summer-flowering annuals such as zinnias, salvia, marigolds, petunias, and nicotiana indoors under lights.
- Move seedlings of snapdragons and pansies into a cold frame outdoors late this month.
- Sow seeds of half-hardy annuals like nasturtiums and alyssum indoors under lights.
- As soon as your soil temperature is above 45° F, direct sow nasturtium, sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), poppies (Papaver spp.), rocket larkspur (Consolida ajacis), and mignonette (Reseda odorata).
- Take cuttings from geraniums and root them in small pots indoors.
As a bonus for joining my weekly newsletter, download a free gardening in March checklist. You’ll be sure to get the right things done this month!
Get a head start on summer-blooming bulbs and tubers by starting these bulbs indoors in a moist, soilless mix.
- Pot up stored bulbs, such as hybrid tuberous begonias, dahlias, canna (Canna generalis), and calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica). Set them in the light.
- Plant Caladium (caladium), Colocasia (elephant ears), Begonia x tuberhybrida (tuberous begonia), Crocosmia (montbretia), Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), Canna x generalis (garden canna), Polianthes (tuberose), and Acidanthera (peacock orchid).
- Keep them warm until new growth appears.
- Move pots under grow lights.
- Move these pots outside when all danger of frost has passed after gradually introducing them to warm weather conditions.
Related: March Gardening Tasks
Best vegetables to plant in March
- Plant asparagus and rhubarb as soon as you can work the ground. Avoid harvesting asparagus spears in their first year.
- Plant potatoes this month. Put your seed potatoes on a warm, bright windowsill to encourage them to sprout before you plant them.
- Move cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower outdoors to a cold frame or a protected spot. Most of us live in houses that are too warm and cause these seedlings to get leggy.
BONUS: As a bonus for joining my weekly newsletter, download a free March gardening checklist. It’s everything you need to do in March!
- Grow cold-weather crops like broccoli under cover outside—in a hoop house or cold frame.
- Add some new bare-root berry bushes and fruit trees to your garden.
- Plant deciduous trees and fruit trees while they’re dormant.
- If you can’t get bare-root trees and vines into the ground right away, heel them into trenches to keep their roots moist.
- Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to sow crops. Some cool-season root crops (green onions, radishes, and beets) and greens such as kale, lettuce, and spinach can be planted when the soil is consistently at or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If your soil is warm enough, but your seeds don’t sprout, your seeds may no longer be good.
Related: How to pick the best living mulch for your vegetable garden.
Watch the Backyard Farmer’s video about soil temperatures for sowing seeds
Plan your seed sowing schedule by calculating back from your last frost date (enter your zip code here to find yours).
- Begin sowing cool-weather crops like peas, lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, mustard greens, collards, turnips, spinach, beetroot, carrots, and onions (seeds and sets) outdoors when your soil is warm enough. Or, use phenology to help decide: when daffodils bloom, sow those crops.
- A few radish seeds sown in between carrots help mark the row until your carrot crop sprouts.
Related: My picks for the best seed catalogs.
- Re-sow lettuce seed every three weeks for continuous harvests of young, sweet leaves.
- If you have the room, consider sowing peas in the garden every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to extend the harvest.
- You can also sow broad beans (fava beans) as soon as your soil is warm enough.
Here’s how to make gardening easy this month. Get a FREE gardening checklist for March when you join my newsletter.
Start seeds indoors, then transplant the seedlings to pots as soon as they become crowded or get their second pair of leaves. (Learn how to keep seedlings from getting leggy.)
- Trim the tops of onion and leek seedlings to an inch or so high, to keep them stocky if they’re not ready to be transplanted.
- Near the end of the month, start seeds of summer squash and winter squash.
- Root sweet potato sprouts in a glass or jar filled halfway with water.
- Sow seeds of warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants indoors, under lights. Don’t have grow lights? Learn how to set up grow lights for your seedlings.
Related: Download a FREE seasonal maintenance checklist.
- Most pepper seeds sprout in 7-10 days at a temperature of 70-80 F. Germination will take longer at lower temperatures.
- If you haven’t started them already, “March is the perfect time to get those tomato and pepper seeds started indoors!” (Urban Farmer)
- But if you have started your tomatoes, transplant your seedlings into larger pots, and bury the stem deeper into the soil for additional root growth.
- At month’s end, transplant early tomatoes that are too large to keep indoors or in a cold frame, outdoors, protected by a Wall O' Water to extend your growing season.
- Start seeds of annual herbs like basil and parsley indoors.
- Start seeds of perennial herbs like thyme, oregano, and marjoram under grow lights inside.
- Pot up any seedlings you started last month. You’ll know you need to pot them up when you see roots growing out of the pot they’re in.
- Dormant mail-order plants and trees should be unwrapped immediately. Keep the roots from drying out, store them in a cool, protected spot, and get them in the ground as soon as conditions allow.
Learn how to plant a new tree from the National Gardening Association
- Some trees do best when transplanted in the spring because the warm weather and soil encourage healthy root growth.
- If your winter has been mild and your garden beds aren’t frozen, add some new roses, trees, and shrubs to your yard as soon as they become available at local nurseries.
- Delay purchasing trees and shrubs if your garden soil is too wet. With all woody plants, avoid planting them too deep. Make the hole wide rather than deep.
When should you start planting in your garden?
What happens if you plant seeds outside too early?
If you plant seeds outside too early, your seeds won’t germinate. The best way to be sure it’s not too early is to use a soil thermometer to find out if your soil is warm enough before sowing your seeds.
How do I prepare my garden in March?
Is March a good time to plant perennials?
March may be a good time to plant perennials, depending on when your last frost date is. You can safely plant frost-tolerant perennials 2-3 weeks before your last spring frost. Growing spring-blooming perennials is a great way to add a splash of color and beauty to your garden.
Is it too late to plant spring bulbs in March?
Yes, it’s too late to plant spring bulbs in March. The best time to plant spring-flowering bulbs is late autumn. But don’t despair if you missed the window—instead, celebrate because March is a great time to start summer-flowering bulbs indoors. Get your plants ready now and enjoy beautiful blooms as soon as it warms up!
You’ll always know what to do this month!
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Here’s a sneak peek of your checklist:
Your turn: what do you plant in March?
Did I miss any important March gardening tasks where you live?
Let me know in a comment below!