March Gardening Advice

Many ornamental grasses hold onto their foliage overwinter; this provides a delightful structural softness, texture, and delicacy for our winter gardens.  Grasses will be producing new growth soon; therefore, this is the ideal moment to pop on some gardening gloves and use your fingers to comb through deciduous grasses, removing all the old stems ready for the arrival of fresh new growth. Deciduous grasses can also be cut back to ground level now; take care to avoid slicing the tips of the new foliage, as this will spoil the plant’s natural beauty.  Remove any unsightly leaves from evergreen grasses and weed around all ornamental grasses.  Finally, apply a mulch of bark chips or well-rotted manure to suppress weed growth and retain moisture.

This amalgamation of autumnal loveliness includes the sunlit yellow of Solidago x luteus ‘Lemore’, the pink cone flowers of Echinacea pallida, and the white flowers of Selinum wallichianum with the haze provided by Sporobolus heterolepis.

If you’ve got a butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) growing in your garden, it’s time to find your secateurs and pruning saw and get ready for action!  First of all, remove all dead wood, next clear any snapped branches, and then cut out stems that rub against each other.

I planted this Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’ about six years ago, it now grows up to at least about 2.3m (8ft) tall every summer.

Buddleja davidii flower on stems grown in spring and summertime.  These shrubs can produce a whopping 2m (6.5ft) of new growth in a year; therefore, an unpruned plant’s towering stems will lift the blooms out of sight!  Cutting Buddleja davidii back to 30cm (0.9ft) now will stop your plant looking scrappy, prevent as many branches as possible from breaking needlessly, and ensure the Buddleja is more engaging when it does bloom.  Remove any weeds and apply a mulch of homemade garden compost, peat-free compost, or well-rotted manure over the soil around your plants.

I just adore Peacock Butterflies. Their wing markings are just mesmerising! These ‘eye’ markings can confuse predators into thinking that a larger unknown species is waiting for them, giving the butterfly the chance to escape to safety. This is Buddleja ‘Pink Delight’.
Rosa ‘Eustacia Vye’ forms an upright, naturally bushy shrub, which grows to around 1.2m (4ft) tall and about 90cm (3ft) wide, depending of course, on your soil type and the plant’s growing conditions.

If you’ve got container plants that have become long-term residents, this is the ideal time to assess your plants and decide whether to plant them in your garden or allotment, or to repot or top-dress.  If you’re harbouring plants that have been lurking in containers for a couple of years or more, they will undoubtedly benefit from a re-fresh.  Depending on the size of your plant’s roots, you may choose to pot your plant into a new larger-sized container, or you might decide to re-pot your plant back into the same planter using fresh peat-free compost.  Don’t throw old compost away.  Spent compost can be refreshed by simply adding a small amount of nutrient-rich compost, like Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost to your old compost.  Alternatively, add your old compost to your compost heap.

Roses are far easier to maintain when they are planted in the ground. Container plants require more watering and regular care than plants growing in flower beds and borders. Choose plants that are suited to your soil, situation, and aspect, and plant them directly in the soil for an easier option that usually produces healthier plants and saves on time, water, compost, and fertiliser.

When choosing a larger-sized planter, avoid the temptation of re-potting a plant into too big a pot, as this is likely to be detrimental to the plant.  I look for planters that allow the existing planter to sit inside the new one with a diameter that’s just about wide enough to allow me to insert my finger vertically between the two pots.  Choose an appropriate peat-free compost for the plant you’re growing and position your container in as sunny or shaded a situation as the plant would choose for itself.

Top-dressing container plants with fresh peat-free compost is another option to consider.  Gently tease away the compost from the top of your plant pot and carefully scrape away the old compost from the outer edge around your plant and then top-dress with an appropriate peat-free compost that’s a good match for your plant.

For more gardening advice for March, please click here.

To see my plant pages with photographs and advice to help you grow a wide range of plants, including fruit and vegetables, cut flowers, roses, houseplants, orchids, trees, and ferns, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Daffodil Garden Openings, Daffodil Shows and Events, please click here.

For more detailed instructions on how to plant containers, please click here.

To see my calendar of specialist plant fairs, plant sales, plant and seed swaps, please click here.

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One thought on “March Gardening Advice

  1. Emma

    March 10, 2023 at 11:01am

    Thank you for this reminder and your advice, Beth ! I have various ornamental grasses in my garden, and it’s true they add something very special to the landscape in winter. I’ll put on the gloves this weekend 🙂
    Your wonderful pictures really inspire me – every time !
    Spring cheers from Germany !

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      March 10, 2023 at 12:32pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely message, Emma.

      I am so glad that you enjoy seeing my pictures.

      I really enjoy hearing from you and finding out how you and your garden are growing. I hope you have a super weekend!

      Warmest wishes, Beth

  2. Tina

    March 17, 2023 at 9:44am

    Hello really enjoy your knowledge. I am wondering if you know if anywhere UK I can get sivri biber and dolma and carliston plugs or plants? I haven’t had much luck with seeds I’m afraid although my other chillis and padrons all do well.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      March 17, 2023 at 6:53pm

      Hello Tina

      Thank you for your compliment. I am glad that you enjoy my writing.

      When I saw your message, I contacted Joy at Sea Spring Seeds to ask if they knew of anyone raising those chilli peppers as plug plants. Joy doesn’t know anyone but she does have some spare plants that you could purchase if you get in quickly and send her a message and find out what plants they have available. You can contact Sea Spring Seeds via their website, here’s a link:

      I purchased many of my chilli pepper seeds from Sea Spring Seeds.

      I hope you have a great growing season ahead!

      Best wishes, Beth

  3. Tina

    March 17, 2023 at 6:57pm

    Thank you so much Beth, I lived in Turkey for a number of years and have since tried to obtain plants. I have lots of chillis coming up but not Turkish. I thank you for your help and time. Enjoy lots of good crops!! Tina

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