What to Do in the Garden in March

By   | Last Updated :   February 14, 2022 | Filed In :   Garden Activities & Events Ideas

As the days lengthen during the month of March, warmer sunny days can fool us into thinking the summer has arrived. In reality, daytime temperatures can be high but the evenings and nights are still very cold. So enjoy the daffodils in bloom but keep the greenhouse door closed when it gets dark.

Right now, there are lots of jobs to be done both indoors and outdoors:

Indoor gardening jobs

Outdoor gardening jobs

If you’re wondering what to do in the garden in March, there’s plenty to keep you busy:

Get lawns in shape. Rake the lawn well and mow it for the first time since last autumn.

Prune roses, fuschias and hypericums. To keep the shape of your favourite roses, you need to prune them every year. Some gardeners like to prune hydrangeas now too but I advise waiting until the frost has gone. Where I live, frost can still occur in May so enjoy the hydrangea’s dried flower heads and cut them after the last frost. Hypericums can also be pruned if you have a shrub type. Cut out dead branches and take a good look at its shape. If you want to prune it hard, now is the time to do so. Hardy fuschias will benefit from removing any crossed branches that flowered last year. Cut them back hard to the base and remove any weak shoots.

Plant summer flowering bulbs. Snowdrops, snowflakes and grape hyacinths have all flowered by now and daffodils and narcissi are in full bloom. There’s still time to plant bulbs that will flower in the summer. Alliums provide wonderful purple seed heads which attract swarms of bees and pollinators. Lilies, freesias and ixias can be planted now too. (See detailed instructions for bulb planting below). You can also plant snowdrops or snowflake bulbs for next year and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts next spring.

allium summer bloom

Plant allium bulbs for glorious summer colour. Image credit: @willowcreekblooms

Take root cuttings of Cornus alba, buddleia and jasmine. Dip these in hormone rooting gel or place them in a jar of water and wait for roots to appear. As soon as they do, it is safe to plant them on into pots of soil.

Sow hardy annuals outside in the south of England but if you live further up north or it is still very frosty in your area, wait for a warmer day. Dig the soil a little. If it feels warm, that’s a good guide. If it is difficult to dig, then wait for sunnier days.

Deadhead irises that have flowered and remove any brown stalks. Any Dutch iris planted in flower beds may need to be covered with cloches or fleece if the weather is harsh.

siberian irises

Image credit: @siberian_iris_lover

Plant indoor hyacinths outside. Hyacinths that were forced into winter-flowering can be planted out in the garden now. Put them somewhere close to where you normally sit so that their heavenly scent can fill the space. Great while you have a cup of tea!

Mulch perennials. March is a good month to add some nourishment to the soil for the next season’s growth. Apply a layer of manure, leaf mould or compost. Dahlias and other plants that have over-wintered in the ground will thank you for it!

Divide herbs like mint, lovage, tarragon, rosemary and thyme. Lift the whole plant and then use sharp pruners to divide the roots into sections. You can use a spade to do this if the roots are extensive. Mint, rosemary and thyme are hardy but lovage and tarragon need to remain indoors until it is warmer. Remember that mint can be invasive so plant it back into a container. For other plants, re-pot the sections into new soil and pots and water them well. These divided sections are great presents for newbie gardeners. Who wouldn’t love a gift of French tarragon or lovage to add some spice to their culinary creations?

divide herb plants and repot

Divide and repot herbs for the perfect gift. Image credit: @york_christi

Crumble your leaf mould. If you saved your autumn leaves, you’ll now have a bag of goodness waiting to be sprinkled over pots and the soil. When you empty the bag, you’ll probably find lots of wriggling worms who have found their way in to nibble the leaves. The leaf mould should be well rotted and dry. You can crumble it between your fingers and add to new seedlings or use it to top up pots with a layer of goodness. Keep empty soil bags for use in the autumn to make more.

Fruit and vegetable garden jobs

broad beans

Broad beans should be ready to plant out now. Image credit: @meg_grows_veg

Last month I suggested warming up the soil by placing plastic or architectural fabric over the ground before planting. So the first task in March is to remove it and check for any slugs and snails underneath. This ground is perfect for planting peas and broad beans right now. Read on for a list of other jobs in the vegetable garden:

Tina’s Tips:

How to plant bulbs

  1. Dig a space twice as deep as the width of the bulb and remove any weeds.
  2. Sprinkle a layer of compost, manure or general slow-release fertiliser to feed the bulb after it flowers. Cover with a thin layer of compost.
  3. Water the bulbs in well. Keep watering until the flowering season.

Brassica tips

When you cut a cabbage, leave the stem in place because often, the plant will continue to grow and you can pick more leaves for a tasty stir fry later in the month. If you cut sprout tips, the pruned cut will also grow new leaves. These are delicious fried with black pepper and butter and served with cheese and bread for a tasty lunch.

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