Gardening in March: what to plant and tidy in your garden this month

gardening march 2022 tips what to plant tidy seeds how to grow jobs garden things to do
Greenhouses and windowsills will soon fill up with pots and seed trays

A fuzz of fresh, vibrant green is starting to appear over shrubs and trees, keeping the many spring bulbs company. It is such an exciting time in the garden. March brings with it a great influx of light, plus the clocks going forward: by the end of the month, evening gardening is very much back on the cards. That extra hour will come in handy as this is the first really busy gardening month. Greenhouses and windowsills soon fill up with pots and seed trays as we attempt to get our plants to the point of perfect readiness, raring to romp away when the warmer months arrive.

Despite all this, temperatures can stymie us and remain really low in March. So, caution is still the watchword: much better to hold on another few weeks than to sow too soon, or to pull tender plants out of their cosy nooks and have them hit by a frost. This is a month during which we have to balance the fickleness of early spring with our desire to crack on.

Gardening jobs to do in March


If you left old growth on your perennials over winter so that insects could overwinter in their stalks, now is the time for a tidy-up. New shoots are pushing through and we need to make way for them, but pile up old debris somewhere so that lurking wildlife can emerge at its own pace.

Water perennials with an all-purpose feed and then seal winter moisture into the soil by applying a mulch of organic matter: garden compost or well-rotted manure are both perfect. The mulch will also help to keep weeds down, and will gradually be incorporated into the soil by worms, improving soil structure and keeping your plants happy. Plus it looks great.


If you haven’t mown your lawn yet this is the time to give it the first cut. Now is also the best time for repairing bare patches. Scratch up the surface, scatter grass seed, and then cover with a square of horticultural fleece or environmesh, pinned down with tent pegs, to keep the birds off while the seeds germinate. Keep these new patches well-watered all summer.

Gardening in March what to plant and tidy in your garden this month uk 2022
If you haven’t mown your lawn yet this is the time to give it the first cut - rmarnold/iStockphoto

Garden wildlife

Don’t panic if your pond seems overfull of frogspawn: nature sorts itself out and there is no need to bucket any out to another pond or container. You can inadvertently move around diseases or invasive plants and do more harm to the wildlife than good. Let it be.

Introduce oxygenating plants to your wildlife pond now to keep the water healthy through the summer. Hornwort and curled pondweed will do the job well, and they also help to shelter pond inhabitants from predators.

Continue feeding the birds high fat foods such as fat balls, which help them to survive the still-cold nights.

Vegetable plot

Plant crowns of asparagus in a well-prepared bed of their own, with good drainage. You will need to leave the plants unharvested for two years, keeping them weed-free and cutting back the foliage in autumn, but it is worth the investment as they will then crop for many years.

The soil is likely to be too cold still for direct sowing – it needs to be around 7-8C before seed will germinate, any colder and they will rot. Speed things up and prepare for next month by laying clear or black polythene over the soil now, to trap warmth.


So much needs to be sown this month, and you will need every corner of the greenhouse, every windowsill, and quite possibly a spreadsheet and clipboard. In the heated propagator: tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, and winter squash should all be sown around mid month. A cold greenhouse can be used to get a head start with crops that could otherwise be sown direct in the ground next month: peas, broad beans, cabbages, spring onions, sprouting broccoli, leeks, lettuces, beetroot, carrots, radishes and rocket.

Gardening in March what to plant and tidy in your garden this month uk 2022
A cold greenhouse can be used to get a head start with crops that could otherwise be sown direct in the ground next month -

The cut flower garden

Sow hardy annuals now in the cold greenhouse: calendula, cornflower, larkspur, sunflowers, love-in-a-mist, Shirley poppies and Ammi majus. You can still sow sweet peas, but they will not flower very early. You might do better to pick some plants up from a garden centre now, and pot them up at home, ready to be planted out next month.

It is time to start dahlias into growth. Pot up the tubers into generous pots of fresh compost, label them and place them in a sunny and sheltered spot – a cold greenhouse is ideal, but even there you should be ready to throw some horticultural fleece over them if a frost is forecast. If starting dahlias in pots outside, wait until next month.


Houseplants are looking pretty grotty after a winter indoors, but as the light increases, they start to perk up. Give them the best start by placing them in the bath and giving them a thorough shower, to remove the dust from leaves and soak through dried-up root balls. It is time to start watering and feeding regularly now, but just a little at first, then more as they start into growth.

Balcony and patio

Plant lily bulbs for summer scent now. Oriental lilies such as white ‘Casa Blanca’, gold and cream ‘Mister Cas’ and purple ‘Montezuma’ are highly scented and bloom in the later part of the summer, when the weather might just suit sitting out and wallowing in their lovely spicy evening scent.

Get your pots ready for a spring and summer of growing. Long term plantings should ideally be potted on each year, and now is the time. If they have become dried out over winter, tip the root balls out of their pots and soak them in a bucket of water for a few hours. Find a pot large enough to give the root ball another inch of space all the way around and then re-pot, using fresh compost. If pots are too large for this treatment, scrape off the top inch of compost and replace it with fresh.

This article is kept updated with the latest advice.