My Green Thumb


By Lisa Lonsdale

Weather should start to warm this month.  Here are some tips to help gardens grow.  Have fun!

What to Plant

1. This month roses will begin that first bloom. Plant potted roses now

2. Azaleas and camellias are best planted while blooming. March is still a prime bloom month.

3. Start planting perennials and annuals.

4. There is still time for planting bulbs!

5. Plant a few gladioli every week until the end of March to get a continual bloom through the summer.

6. Sow row crop vegetable seeds directly into your garden beds this month, such as lettuce, squash, kales, carrots, radish, and beans, Transplant any seedlings, such as peppers, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and rhubarb and tomatoes around the 21st of the month.  Also, transplant strawberry, blackberry and raspberry plants.

7. Start herbs from seeds and transplant mint, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.

8. Now’s a good time to plant citrus and avocado trees.

9. Finish planting most California Natives this month.

10. Plant and transplant succulents.

Feeding and Maintenance

1. Vegetables – Amend and mulch vegetable beds to prepare for spring planting.

2. Herbs – Weed and amend beds with a good planter mix.

3. Fruit Trees and Vines – Irrigate fruit trees and vines when new growth begins. Water to a depth of 3 feet. If you live inland, you can now start to fertilize your citrus. Apply fertilizer high in nitrogen.

4. Deciduous Fruit Trees – Start to thin out fruit on apples, pears and stone fruits when they are about one-half inch in size.  Space fruit four to six inches apart. Leave one fruit per spur.

5. Flower Beds – When preparing your flower beds for planting, use a natural mix that enriches the soil so plants can perform at their best.

6. Roses – Start your growing season fertilizer routine. Depending on your preference, there are many organic and synthetic fertilizers available. Control aphids by washing them off with a strong spray of water from the hose in the early morning. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural sprays are effective to control aphids.

7. Bromeliad – Start cleaning Bromeliad after their dormancy. Cut dead leaves, remove spent blossoms and clean the entire plant by flushing between the leaves and center cup. Check for scale and treat if needed. Keep snails and slug away with snail baits.

8. Perennials – Thin.  Dig up each clump so that the root ball come up intact. Wash or gently shake off excess soil, then cut into divisions with a sharp knife. Each division should have plenty of roots and a few leaves. Replant immediately.

9. Camellias – Feed camellias this month. Begin an annual fertilizer schedule. Feed three times a year.

10. Trees and Shrubs – Fertilize.  You can begin pruning your ornamental shrubs (pittosporum, boxwood, etc.) for hedges. Wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees until their blooming is over.

11. Iris – Start feeding with low-nitrogen fertilizer.  Water regularly if there is no rain. Clean beds and keep weeds under control.  Watch for pests.

12. Native Plants – If rainfall is adequate, no extra watering is needed.

13. Geraniums – Remove dead or damaged leaves. This will promote new growth and protect against molds and fungi.

14. Orchids – Repot any needing a new pot. Train developing spikes. Fertilizers can be increased this time of year. Make sure to protect from sun damage.

Start watching for pests.  Warmer weather speeds their life cycles.  Soapy water and insecticidal soap products are good, safe choices.