April in the Southern California Garden
Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for April. Remember
that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year.
Best of Show:
Tree/shrub: *Carpenteria californica, Ceanothus spp., Cleome isomeris, Malacothamnus fasciculatus;
Smaller shrubs:Calystegia macrostegia, Camissonia cheiranthifolia, Constancea (Eriophyllum) nevinii, Coreopsis species,
Dendromecon rigida, Diplacus spp., Encelia spp., Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa, *Keckiella antirrhinoides, Lupinus albifrons,
Malacothamnus clementinus, *Perityle incana, Salvia leucophylla, Trichostema lanatum, * Venegasia carpesioides;
Annuals/perennials/bulbs: *Allium unifolium, * Aristida purpurea, Bloomeria crocea, Camissonia spp., Clarkia spp.,
Dichelostemma capitatum, Erigeron ‘Arthur Menzies’ , Gilia spp., Iris douglasiana, *Heuchera spp., Layia platyglossa, Lupinus
(annual), Malacothrix saxatilis, *Mentzelia lindleyi, Nemophila menziesii, Platystemon californicus, Salvia (annual), Sidalcea
malviflora, Sisyrinchium bellum, Stachys spp., Trifolium spp.
Fruits/berries: lemons and tangerines are still very showy
Foliage: shiny green new Ceanothus leaves
Take home one new idea from the garden tours or visiting native plant/botanic gardens. Plan how to incorporate that idea into
Visit spring plant sales; purchase judiciously
Fertilize containers if needed
From seed: Collect seed from early spring wildflowers; still time to start traditional summer veggies like squash, bean, melons,
Excellent month for planting bog and pond/pool plants
Plant riparian species and desert species from spring through summer
Taper off water for early spring bulbs when the leaves start to wither
Taper off water for early spring wildflowers
Check hoses, soaker hoses and drip irrigation; repair & replace as needed
Check soils as they begin to dry out. Turn on irrigation or begin routine summer watering schedule when appropriate
Give the garden a last good soaking. Do it during a cool period to simulate rain
Tip-prune (pinch) to promote fullness:
Plants in Mint Family (Mentha arvense; Monardella spp; Lepechinia fragrans, Clinopodium/Satureja; Stachys ),
Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa
Weeds/Diseases/Pests: major weeding month
Weedy grasses: Crabgrass, Bermuda Grass, Kikuyu grasses start to grow with warm weather
Look particularly for the following weeds: Common knotweed, Wild radish, Prickly lettuce, Prickly ox-tongue, Wild mustard.
Remove while they’re small.
Collect dry seeds from early wildflowers (except Lupine); parch and use as a seasoning/flavoring agent
Prune some leaves from Salvias; dry for later use
Use the ‘mint’ cuttings for fresh mint tea, other uses
Press spring flowers in a plant press for use in greeting cards, bookmarks, etc.
Enjoying the garden: major enjoying month
Make a bouquet of spring wildflowers for your table
Enjoy the spring peak of bloom; get out in your garden as much as possible – sit and enjoy the show you created!
Watch for butterflies – photograph them on your spring flowers
Go on the CNPS and Theodore Payne Foundation spring garden tours – bring your camera and notebook. Don’t be afraid to ask
Celebrate California Native Plant Week (4/11 to 4/19) and Earth Day (4/22)
Invite a friend over; tell them about your native plants