March Gardening Activities - Region 6
Gardening Tips for March
Tropical and Sub-Tropical Gardens
States in the region:
Hawaii, Florida (Southern), Texas (Southern), Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
and other U.S. Territories
Key Issues for March
- Keep an eye out for palmetto weevil, a pest that lays its eggs in the leaf bases of stressed or dying palm trees. The larvae feed on the plant’s stem tissue. Be on the lookout for various other insect pests that feed actively on new emerging plant growth, too.
- Plant heat-tolerant beauties known to survive and thrive over your region’s hot summer months. Here are three winners to consider:
- Catharanthus roseus is a mounded, semi-woody shrub that works well as a foundation plant or in mixed borders. It grows best in full to partial sun and poor to fertile, friable, well-drained soils.
- Pentas lanceolata is a tropical, shrubby, evergreen perennial that attracts butterflies. Its small, tubular, star-shaped flowers are red, pink, white or lavender, depending on the cultivar.
- Portulaca grandiflora is a tough, low-growing annual with many glowing-pink flowers that only stay open in the morning.
- Harvest cool-season vegetables as they mature. Peas, lettuce, radish, spinach and others should be picked regularly. Quick-growing crops, like radish, can be sown every few weeks to guarantee continued harvests until it gets too hot.
- Fertilize your landscape plants – citrus, palms, azaleas and camellias will benefit from it. Always carefully read and follow package label instructions for proper rate of application, as well as to confirm you’re using the right fertilizer formula for your specific plants.
- Remove young weeds in your landscape and garden beds now instead of later. (Think of all that additional weed seed that will germinate if you wait!) When you’re finished, help prevent weeds from further invading your garden by adding mulch to your beds or planting some attractive groundcovers.
- Add some caladiums to the shady spots in your garden. These attractive tender tropicals are prized for their amazing foliage. They can be used as bedding plants, in containers or as a filler in mixed plantings.
- Plant warm-season vegetables – summer squashes, tomatoes, peppers, corn, eggplant, melons and more. Short on planting space? Consider alternative locations for a vegetable garden.
- Build a raised bed for your fruit and vegetable garden.
- Conserve soil moisture, eliminate weeds and provide a “finished look” to your property by applying the right mulch to landscape beds and borders. A 2- to 3-inch layer is all you need.
- Care for ornamental grasses. Now is the time to cut back last year’s foliage to stimulate new green growth. Bundle and tie the plants before cutting to make removal easier (and neater).
- Make sure you mow your lawn at the proper height. Mowing correctly can help keep a lawn healthy and lush.
- Repot orchids that need repotting. As the intensity of the sun continues to increase, relocate your orchids to shadier locations.
- Have a dry, windy, sandy or rocky and well-drained planting spot? Consider adding some terrific and easy-to-maintain succulents and cacti there this year. Be on the lookout for striking plants that show up at your nursery and garden center.
- Amend your garden soil by mixing compost, manure or other organic amendments into your planting beds.
- Plant an early spring crop of edibles. Start seed of bush and pole beans, sweet corn, melon, squash and all root crops.
- Trim the dead canes on your roses, if you haven’t already. Just be careful when pruning roses: Only remove dead vegetation. Do not remove the buds and flowers! Don’t forget to fertilize your roses throughout the growing season for a nutritional boost of flower power.
- Develop a rain-catching system to harvest the rains that may not come later in the season. Conserving water in the garden can be as involved as hooking a rain barrel to roof downspouts or as simple as adding mulch to planting beds. Check and repair all garden hoses and irrigation equipment to further save water.