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., Peritoma arborea (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
your garden this year
• 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 (if not already in bloom):
• Diplacus spp,
• Plants in Mint Family (Mentha arvense; Monardella spp; Lepechinia fragrans, Clinopodium/Satureja; Stachys ),
• Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa
• Ribes viburnifolium
Rejuvenate and prune pond/pool and rain garden wetland plants (if not done already)
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 (4/16 to 4/24) and Earth Day (4/22)
• Invite a friend over; tell them about your native plants