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What to sow and grow in March

gardening tools on a table
It's time to get your spring planting tools out.
Image: Maria Evseyeva

It's March and spring is finally here. There are lots of plants to sow and grow this month - here's what to concentrate on:

Flowers to sow and grow

Dahlia variabilis 'Giant Hybrids Mixed' by Thompson & Morgan
Start dahlias in March for summer displays.
Image: Dahlia variabilis 'Giant Hybrids Mixed' by Thompson & Morgan

These are the flowers you can be sowing and growing this month:

In the greenhouse/indoors

  • Sow aster in a heated propagator for summer and autumn colour.

  • Pot on rooted cuttings of tender perennial plants taken last summer.

  • Sow Ageratum indoors to bring a splash of blue to your summer beds.

  • Start dahlia seeds indoors to produce tubers for lifting in the autumn.

  • Sow Brachycome in a heated propagator - they’re great for filling out baskets and containers.

  • Repot orchids and other house plants before they start into active growth again.

  • Sow Coreopsis indoors or in a heated greenhouse.

  • Sow Celosia in a heated propagator to bring a fiery theme to this year’s beds.

  • Try growing versatile salvia under glass for a long-lasting display throughout the summer and autumn.

  • Sow Cleome on a windowsill indoors as early as possible in the season - it needs fluctuating temperatures to germinate well and this will help ensure it gets a drop in temperature at night.

  • Sow summer bedding plants, such as lobelia, busy Lizzies, petunias and geraniums, in a heated propagator.

  • Pot on hardwood cuttings taken last year.

  • Sow stocks on a bright windowsill for a delicious fragrance in your summer garden.

  • Plant begonia tubers in the greenhouse this month, positioning them just below the compost surface with the indented side facing upwards.

  • Sow your flower seeds now, ready for planting out in June.

  • Start sowing bedding plant seeds ready to plant out after the last frosts.

  • Sow hardy annuals in pots or module trays for planting out later in the spring.

  • Pot up plug plants and grow on in a sunny back bedroom or windowsill. Add some easy feed or plug boost, to give them the very best start. Give the tips a pinch a couple of times while the plants are young, this will make them nice and bushy, with more flowers.

Direct sow outdoors

  • Direct sow wildflower seed mixtures into well-prepared soil. They’re great for bees and butterflies, and add beautiful colour too.

  • Sow sweet peas.

  • Direct sow hardy annuals such as California poppies, clarkia and cornflowers into workable, well-prepared soil.

  • Sow hardy annuals directly into the soil.

Plant outdoors

pink and white hyacinths growing indoors
After forcing hyacinths indoors, plant them outside.
Image: Sarycheva Olesia
  • Plant bare-root roses.

  • Plant out any forced flower bulbs, such as hyacinths and daffodils, which have finished flowering indoors.

  • Lift and divide established perennial plants to improve their vigour and create new plants for your garden.

  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as gladiolus, lilies and ranunculus into beds, borders and containers.

  • Plant snowdrops in the green to brighten up your winter garden next year.

  • Plant herbaceous perennials.

Vegetables and herbs to sow and grow

Broad Bean 'The Sutton' by Thompson & Morgan
Sow early broad bean varieties in trays of compost.
Image: Broad Bean 'The Sutton' by Thompson & Morgan

There are plenty of vegetables and herbs to get growing this month:

In the greenhouse / indoors

  • Start off aubergine seeds in the propagator - they need a long growing season.

  • Start basil seeds off to grow on your kitchen windowsill, or for planting out after the risk of frost.

  • Sow celery indoors from the middle of the month onwards.

  • Sow chilli peppers and sweet peppers indoors.

  • Sow perennial herbs such as lemon balm, rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme under cover.

  • Sow cucumbers and gherkins in warmth now for greenhouse growing.

  • Sow Brussels sprouts under cover.

  • Start cauliflowers off under cover.

  • Start celeriac under cover - it needs a long growing season.

  • Sow tomato seeds under glass for greenhouse cultivation. Use our tomato selector guide to help you choose which variety to grow.

  • Sow salad leaves in pots and place on the windowsill or in the greenhouse.

  • Start sowing winter brassicas in seed trays in a cold greenhouse.

  • Sow early broad beans, like The Sutton or De Monica, and early peas, such as Twinkle or Avola) in seed trays of compost. Just push the seeds into the compost and keep watered; you can transplant them later once they've germinated and have the strength to survive in the soil.

  • Begin chitting (sprouting) seed potatoes on delivery.

In the cold frame/ under cloches

  • Sow lettuce in module trays under glass for transplanting into the garden later. Alternatively sow lettuce outside under cloches.

  • Sow radish seeds under glass under cloches for your first salad of the season.

  • Start to direct sow vegetable seeds such as carrots, radishes and lettuce in greenhouse borders or under cloches.

Direct sow outdoors

  • Start sowing beetroot directly into well-prepared soil.

  • Sow broad beans directly into the ground now for a delicious summer crop. If mice are a problem, sow into modules for transplanting later on.

  • Start to sow carrot seeds directly into light, stone-free soil.

  • Sow chicory directly into soil now.

  • Sow herbs, such as chives, coriander, dill and parsley, directly into the ground or in containers.

  • Direct sow summer and autumn cabbages such as 'Red Jewel' and 'Greyhound' into well-prepared beds outdoors.

  • Sow calabrese 'Aquiles' outdoors or into modules for planting out later in the spring.

  • Sow kale seed into a well-prepared seedbed for a summer crop.

  • Try direct sowing kohlrabi outdoors, for something unusual and fast maturing.

  • Sow leeks directly into the ground now.

  • Sow peas directly into the ground, or start them off in modules if mice are a problem.

  • Direct sow parsnips in rows 30cm apart when the soil is workable.

  • Start sowing spinach outdoors in soil enriched with plenty of organic matter.

  • Sow spring-onion seeds in drills outdoors for a quick crop to add to salads and stir fries.

  • Try Swiss chard sown outdoors for a colourful crop - they even look great in flower beds!

  • Sow turnip seed directly into the ground now for an early crop.

  • Try growing your own watercress in containers, making sure the container is sitting in 2-3 inches of water at all times.

Plant outdoors

hand planting onion sets in the ground
If the ground's not frozen, plant out onion, shallot and garlic sets
Image: rodimov
  • Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers as soon as the soil is workable, at a depth of 10-15cm.

  • Plant out asparagus crowns in well-prepared permanent beds.

  • Plant onion sets, garlic sets and shallots now for a crop this summer.

  • Plant chitted early potatoes outside in the ground later in the month. If you don't have enough space for growing potatoes on your plot, try a potato-growing kit for your patio. (For more on growing potatoes in bags or in the ground, see our potato growing guides.)

  • Plant asparagus beds from crowns into a trench about 20-25cm deep and 30cm wide.Carefully place the crowns 45cm apart and ensure the emerging buds are just below soil level.

  • Plant onion, shallot and garlic sets provided the soil isn't frozen or waterlogged.

Fruit to sow and grow

Rhubarb 'Champagne' by Thompson & Morgan
Rhubarb crowns need rich fertile soil.
Image: Rhubarb 'Champagne' by Thompson & Morgan

March is a great time for growing these fruits:

Plant outdoors

Keep one step ahead - what to order this month: