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The Best Advice About What to Plant in March

Cheryl Spencer from Simply Smart Gardening
Inside: What to plant in March – what flowers and veggies to sow and grow this month.

The garden in March is defined by transitions.

It’s the month when winter yields to spring.

We finally get to harvest the first green salad leaves, pull the first weeds, and we keep our fingers crossed for a quick end to mud season so we can actually get some gardening done!

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, it’s natural to start thinking about planting and sowing.

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.

Get a printable list of what to do in your garden this month: Download my free March checklist.
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.
a woman planting flowers in her garden in march
Gardening in March: If the weather cooperates you can start planting things outdoors in March.

What to plant in March

  • Pot up 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 plant as soon as conditions allow.
  • 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, plant roses, trees, and shrubs 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 planting hole wide, rather than deep.

Related: March Gardening Tasks

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 planting them.
  • Move cool-loving crops 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!
  • Cold-weather crops like broccoli can be grown under cover outside – in a hoop house or cold frame.
  • Plant bare-root berry bushes and fruit trees.
  • Plant deciduous trees and fruit trees while they’re dormant.
  • If you can’t plant bare-root trees and vines right away, heel them into trenches to keep their roots moist.
  • Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant crops. Some cool-season crops (spring onions, kale, lettuce, beets, 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 they may no longer be good.

Related: What You Can Plant in February

Vegetable seeds to sow in March

Plan your planting schedule by calculating back from your last frost date (enter your zip code here to find yours).

  • Start 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 decide when to plant: when daffodils bloom, plant those crops.
  • A few radish seeds sown in between carrots help mark the row until your carrots sprout.

Related: My picks for the best seed catalogs.

  • Replant lettuce 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 plant 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.

Vegetable seeds to start indoors in March

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 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.
  • Start sweet potato sprouts in a glass or jar filled halfway with water.
  • Start 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 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 so they can be ready for an early spring planting!” (Urban Farmer)
  • But if you have started your tomatoes, transplant your seedlings into larger pots, planting 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.
tomato seedlings in pots
Pot up your tomato seedlings before they outgrow their containers.

Herbs to plant in March

  • Start seeds of annual herbs like basil and parsley indoors.
  • Start seeds of perennial herbs like thyme, oregano, and marjoram under grow lights inside.

Related: The Best Books for Vegetable Gardeners

Flowers to plant in March

Perennials 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.

Annuals to plant in March

  • Plant summer-flowering annuals such as zinnias, salvia, marigolds, petunias, and nicotiana indoors under lights.
  • Start seeds of half-hardy annuals like nasturtiums and alyssum indoors under lights.
  • Move seedlings of snapdragons, and pansies into a cold frame outdoors late this month.
  • As soon as your garden soil is workable, 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!

Bulbs to plant in March

Get a head start on summer-blooming bulbs and tubers by starting them 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), 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.

Download your free March gardening checklist & planting calendar

You’ll always know what to do in March!

Join my weekly-ish newsletter, and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable checklist! Click here to download and subscribe.

Here’s a sneak peek of your checklist:

gardening checklist preview

Your turn: what do you plant in March?

Did I miss any important March planting tasks where you live? 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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