Collier's Garden Scoop

Early Spring 2023

Early Spring

Garden Checklist

What to Plant Now:

While we still have a few weeks to go before all threat of cold nights has passed, March is a great time to start planting container gardens and small annual beds that can be protected easily if a late freeze occurs.

There are several early-spring annuals that will tolerate a light frost (down to 28 degrees), including alyssum, bacopa, African daisy, dianthus, dusty miller, euphorbia, geraniums, lobelia, marigolds, million bells, petunias, snapdragons and verbena.

It's still an excellent time to plant any tree, shrub, vine or groundcover. During March, our perennial and herb selection expands dramatically and most of these are fine to plant now.

What Not to Plant Now:

There are a few annuals that will struggle and droop immediately if exposed to cold air or soil temperatures, so it is best (for the plant and your wallet) to wait until the threat of frost or freeze has passed to plant these: angelonia, begonias, caladiums, coleus, impatiens, lantana, pentas, sweet potato vine, vinca, basil, mint and warm-season veggies such tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

The average last frost in central Alabama is March 20th. The latest recorded frost in our area was April 23rd; however, it's usually safe to plant all annuals, herbs and veggies by April 15th.

What to plant now for blooms: alyssum, bacopa, cyclamen, African daisy, dianthus, euphorbia, geraniums, lobelia, petunias, marigolds, million bells, snapdragons, verbena. All will tolerate a light freeze (28 - 30 degrees).

Early Spring Favorites

This colorful combination includes annuals that will tolerate a light freeze for worry-free blooms in containers and flowerbeds:

African Daisy





Dusty Miller





Million Bells



A hanging or potted fern on your porch or patio adds a pop of green that welcomes the start of spring. Asparagus, Boston and Kimberly Queen ferns are all in stock now (Macho ferns arrive later this week)! These are also easy to move or protect if a cold snap occurs. Add a houseplant to your home to bring the garden indoors and help purify the air.

Our herb selection has already expanded dramatically and most herbs will tolerate a freeze. The exceptions are basil and mint- wait to plant these until all threat of frost or freeze has passed.

Lettuce and strawberries are in stock and can be planted now.

Warm-season veggies such as tomatoes and peppers will arrive by early to mid April (depending on the temps).

Perennials are plants that live for more than two years, so with a little effort up front you can create a long-lived garden that will provide you with years of blooms and interesting foliage. 

There are two types of perennials: Herbaceous perennials grow and bloom during the warm season, die back in winter and re-emerge from the roots in spring. Evergreen perennials have foliage that persists through winter.

Perennials can be planted spring, summer or fall, although selection is best during spring.

For sun-loving perennials, provide at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day. Shade perennials need less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.

Provide perennials with well-drained, organically rich soil.

Space perennials so that they have plenty of room to grow, as it can take them several years to reach their mature size.

Most perennials benefit from being divided every 3 or 4 years. Generally, this can be done in early spring or fall. Dig up and gently split clumps apart by hand or with a hand shovel.

Here's how to get perennials to re-bloom: After they have finished blooming, shear back all dead flowers. This will trigger the plants to produce another flush of blooms.

Provide a generous layer of mulch to help retain soil moisture and insulate roots from heat and cold. Water thoroughly at least once a week, in lieu of rain.

We have succulents for container gardens and rock gardens, and options for indoors in bright light or outdoors in full sun. Perennial succulents can be planted in the ground now. Annual succulents need protection from temps below 40 degrees.

It is still an excellent time to plant trees, shrubs, vines & groundcovers. So, finish up those landscaping projects before the summer heat arrives!

Prepare flower beds and containers for planting by clearing weeds and plant debris. Loosen and amend soil if needed.

Crape myrtles, evergreens with insignificant blooms (boxwood, hollies & cleyera for example), roses, butterfly bush, all hydrangeas except oakleaf, summer-blooming spirea, evergreen ferns, perennial grasses, liriope & mondo grass can all be pruned or cut-back now.

Prune shrubs that have bloomed recently (if finished), such as forsythia, spirea and quince.

Divide perennials that bloom in summer & fall (ex: daylily, hosta, ornamental grass). Most perennials should be divided every 3 - 4 years. It's also a good time to transplant most shrubs & perennials. Avoid transplanting when a plant is in bloom.

Fertilize trees, shrubs and groundcovers with Hi-Yield Grower's Special as new growth emerges.

Fertilize perennials with Osmocote as new growth emerges.

Give your roses a boost with Bayer All-In-One Rose and Flower Care, a formulation of systemic insecticide, fungicide and fertilizer, that will help protect against aphids, Japanese beetles and black spot.

Apply lime (to turn pink) or aluminum sulphate (to turn blue) to French hydrangeas (follow label directions).

Add a layer of mulch to shrub borders and flower beds. This has instant visual impact in the landscape!

In late March or early April, apply fertilome All Seasons to Zoysia & Bermuda lawns.

Control weeds in your lawn by spot-spraying with fertilome Weed-Free Zone for Zoysia and Bermuda, or Hi-Yield Atrazine for weeds in Centipede and St. Augustine.

Spring Hours:

Monday through Saturday 9 to 5:30

Sunday 1 to 5

COLLIER'S NURSERY | 2904 OLD ROCKY RIDGE ROAD 35243 | 205-822-3133

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