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.
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.
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.
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.
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.