March in the Southern California Garden
Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for March. Remember
that the gardening depends on weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year.
Best of Show:
Flowers: tree/shrub: Bacharis salicifolia, Ceanothus griseum, * Cercis occidentalis, Cleome isomeris, Dendromecon harfordii &
rigida, * Fremontodendron species, * Garrya (other than elliptica), * Hyptis emoryi, Lavatera assurgentiflora, Malacothamnus
clementinus, Prunus ilicifolia, Rhus integrifolia & ovata, * Calliandra californica; smaller shrubs: Camissonia spp, Diplacus spp,
Encelia californica & farinosa, Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa, Lepechinia fragrans, Lupinus (bush species), Salvia leucophylla, *
Verbena lilacina, Rhus trilobata; Annuals/perennials/bulbs: Bloomeria crocea, Dichelostemma capitatum, Erysimum species,
Eschscholzia californica, Gilia capitate, Iris douglasiana, *Heuchera spp, Lasthenia species, Lupinus (annual), Mimulus guttatus,
Sisyrinchium bellum, Stachys spp.
Fruits/berries: citrus fruits: tangerines, oranges, lemons
Foliage: shrubs with white/silver foliage (Bush lupines; Constancea nevinii; Encelia farinosa; Salva leucophylla)
Start to think about your gardening priorities for the next gardening year. Consider your many options.
Check hardscape, slopes, trees after heavy rains
Repair paths; flood damage if any
Check hoses, drip lines – repair if need; warm weather comes quickly!
Get the veggie garden ready for warm season crops; fertilize
From seed: good time to start native shrubs/perennials in nursery containers; start traditional summer veggies in nursery
containers – protect from frost
Last month to safely plant most native plants
Last planting of annual wildflower seeds for late spring/summer bloom: Clarkias, Globe Gilia, Phacelias, Annual Sunflower, Madia
Replace plants that didn’t make it from earlier plantings
Veggies: plant in ground (from seed or starts) beans, squash, carrots, beets, potatoes
Check soil moisture during prolonged dry periods (3 or more weeks) or windy periods; irrigate as needed
Check seedlings daily in warm weather
Tip-prune (pinch) to promote fullness: most perennials and sub-shrubs that are actively growing now (Gambelia; Salvias;
Epilobium; many others)
Mow (if desired) cool-season sod-forming grasses, sedges
Divide/replant Wetland species (Equisetum, Tules, Cattails, Rushes/sedges
Weeds/Diseases/Pests: major weeding month
Weedy grasses will take over if you let them
Warm-season weeds will start to poke their heads up; this is a good time to weed, as the ground is still soft
Beware of slugs and snails – take action if needed
Watch for signs of sucking insects (aphids & others) on new growth; blast off with water if needed.
Press wildflowers – or just photograph them – and make note cards or bookmarks with them
Enjoy native CA greens in salads, cooked as greens or in stews or soups
Take a native crafts or cooking class
Enjoying the garden: Major enjoying month
Plant a tree for CA Arbor Day;
Visit a native plant garden/botanic garden – see how the designers use native plants in interesting ways
Spend as much time as possible just enjoying being out in your garden – this month begins the enchantment!