With the official start of spring just a few weeks away, now is the time to prepare your garden for the future flowers, vegetables and plants you’d like to enjoy through the upcoming season and into the summer and fall months.
March is the time to plant warm-season vegetables. (Texas A&M AgriLife by Laura McKenzie)
Plant warm-season vegetables from seed. The planting guide can suggest prime planting times for corn, beans, squash and other vegetables.
Pot up to protect from frost, repot for summer color
Many gardeners opt to pot up their transplants in larger containers to grow a more extensive root system prior to planting and to make it easy to move the plants inside in case of a late spring frost. Repot overgrown container plants as well as plant containers of tropical plants for a stunning display of summer color.
Select and order plants
Now is the time to select and order caladium tubers, as well as geranium and coleus plants for late April and early May planting. Do not plant caladiums until soil temperature reaches 70 degrees.
Beware of what you buy
Beware of close-out sales on bare-root trees and shrubs. The chance of survival is relatively low on bare-root plants this late in the season. Your best bet at this time of year is to depend on container-grown or balled and burlapped plants for landscape use.
Prepare and plan for color
Start hanging baskets of petunias and other annuals for another dimension in landscape color. Plant dahlia tubers in fertile, well-drained soil. Blue plumbago can be planted now for season-long, low-maintenance color.
It is usually cold hardy to Zone 8 and in sheltered places elsewhere. Although tolerant of sunny conditions, blue plumbago prefers a little protection from the hot afternoon sun. It is quite drought-tolerant and blooms from spring till frost.
Starting in March, roses should be fertilized regularly through September. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie)
Fertilize roses every four to six weeks from now until September. As camellia and azalea plants finish blooming, fertilize them with three pounds of azalea-camellia fertilizer. Check mulch on azalea and camellia beds and add where needed.
Divide summer and fall perennials
Dig and divide summer and fall flowering perennials just before they initiate their spring growth. One attractive begonia plant can yield a number of others through careful rooting of stem cuttings.
Thin wildflower seedlings
Now is a time to thin larkspur and other wildflower seedlings. Plants will bloom much better if thinned to about 4 inches apart. Transplant or share the extras with gardening friends.
Enjoy spring-blooming wildflowers and make a note to not mow until they have set and realized their seed. Wildflowers will respond to fertilizer just as other plants do.
Collect oak leaves for mulch
Continue to collect oak leaves to amend your planting beds; they are slow to break down, so they make an excellent mulch the first year but will significantly help the tilth of the soil in the coming years.