But for the more casual plant person, a few warm days signal it’s time to call or visit the garden shop to buy all the spring bedding plants they can get their hands on.
Unfortunately there are more than a few businesses willing to sell them, even knowing our last average frost in the Birmingham area isn’t until mid-April. But please understand, March soil is too cold for basil, tomatoes, begonias, caladiums, and more that are offered to tempt even the smartest of us.
This is why I call March the in-between month. It’s getting late to plant pansies and winter annuals, but it’s still early for the heat lovers, though we know their time is getting closer. Remember the blizzard of 93? That was 25 years ago – in March.
A better choice to spend money on now are perennials, those plants that return year after year. If you have planters small enough to cover easily or bring inside when temperatures drop, many herbs, cool season vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage and some annuals (See list below.) that appreciate more moderate temps can be planted as well.
Some perennials available for early season purchase include Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’, creeping and summer phlox, daisies, daylilys, many ferns, hellebores, stokesia, and lobelia to name just a few. If you don’t see something you’re looking for always ask!
Annuals and some herbs that do well in very early spring before our last average frost include thyme, chives, oregano, tarragon, lavender, sweet alyssum, bacopa, calibrachoa, geraniums, dianthus, marigolds, and diascia. Remember, you must protect newly planted greenhouse grown annuals from freezing temperatures.
By Kris Blevons