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March garden calendar for Central Florida

Suessenguthia is in full bloom in late winter to early spring
Suessenguthia is in full bloom in late winter to early spring
Jim Ford

March is a top gardening month in Central Florida, and it's time to get outside and plant something. This month typically consists of warmer days and not much rainfall. Be sure to irrigate when new plants start to show signs of water stress.

Colorful cool-season annuals start to decline as the days heat up. Pull them out when they're no longer attractive and replace them with long-lasting summer annuals like ageratum, amaranthus, balsam, celosia, coleus, cosmos, gaillardia, gazania, gomphrena, marigold, moss rose, pentas, phlox, rudbeckia, salvia, sunflower, torenia, vinca, impatiens or begonias.

Now is also a good time to plant most types of bulbs and rhizomes. Try eucharis, haemanthus, caladium, canna, alocasia, gladiolus, gloriosa, daylily, moraea, neomarica, tulbaghia, hymenocallis, zephyranthes and many types of ginger.

Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs after the blooms have finished. Complete your pruning of other trees and shrubs before new growth begins. Tropical shrubs that were damaged by frost or freezes should be pruned as the new growth emerges, making it easy to identify which parts of the plant are still alive.

Harvest of most citrus varieties is winding down, but grapefruit is just reaching its peak flavor now and the Valencia orange harvest is just starting. Other trees fruiting heavily now are carambola, and glycosmis. If your area has avoided frost, you're probably also picking banana, and papaya.

Early in the month you can still put in transplants of some of the cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, particularly in the northern parts of Central Florida. It is too late to start them from seed. Now is also the time to plant most warm-season vegetables. Here's what to plant in the garden this month: Arrowroot, beans (bush, pole, lima), beets, cantaloupe, carrots, cassava, chayote, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant (transplants), kohlrabi, lettuce, luffa, mustard, Okinawa spinach, okra, onions & shallots (sets), peas (English and Southern), peppers (transplants), sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radish, squash, sunchokes, tomatoes (transplants), turnip and watermelon.

Landscape plants with top color this month include yellow and pink tabebuia, azaleas, purple firespike, suessenguthia, brugmansia and russelia. Deciduous fruits, like peaches and our native plums, are in full bloom also. And don't forget our native wildflowers; the bright blue blossoms of spiderwort and lyre-leaf sage are a welcome sight in any landscape. See how many of these you can spot when you're out driving around, and then go plant something!

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