Yes, seed-sowing time is nigh! Photo: The Rusted Garden
In areas with frigid winters, March is truly the season when gardeners begin starting their seeds indoors. Of course, I’ve seen many enthusiastic gardeners gushing over their new seedlings of tomatoes and peppers on Facebook over the last few weeks, but, in most cases, they’ve jumped the gun. I used to as well: it’s hard to resist those lengthening days. You feel you just have to sow something.
Well, I’ve become wiser as I grow older. I’ve learned that what I want are not spindly, overgrown plants that have a hard time recuperating when I plant them out, but young, energetic seedlings that may look small but will take off like a rocket once they’re outdoors. So, I hold back. In gardening, you sometimes have to rein in your enthusiasm if you want the best results.
Start These Indoors in Early March*
*All dates are based on northern, short-season climates
- Alternanthera (Alternanthera spp.)
- Clematis (Clematis)
- Climbing Snapdragon (Asarina, Lophospermum, Maurandya asarina)
- Columbine (Aquilegia)
- Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)
- English Daisy (Bellis perennis)
- Flowering Maple (Abutilon)
- Goatsbeard (Aruncus)
- Honeywort (Cerinthe major)
- Houseleek or hen and chicks (Sempervivum)
- Ivy Pelargonium (Pelargonium peltatum)
- Knautia (Knautia)
- Knotweed (perennials) (Persicaria and Polygonum)
- Leek (Allium ampeloprasum)
- Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum)
- Madagascar periwinkle or vinca (Catharanthus roseus)
- Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea)
- Penstemon (annual forms) (Penstemon hartwegii, P. x gloxinioides, etc.)
- Red Valerian (Centranthus rubra)
- Silver Sage (Salvia argentea)
- Toothache Plant (Acmella oleracea, syn. Spilanthes acmella)
- Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
- Zonal Pelargonium (Pelargonium x hortorum)
When to Sow Other Seeds? *
But what if the seed variety of your dreams doesn’t figure on the above list? It’s probably too early to sow it… and it is still quite early to be sowing plants for the outdoor garden. Patience then: your plant’s turn will come, probably in April or May.
Here are some other titles in the series:
Having fun with this year’s sowing!
Main text adapted from an article published on March 1, 2016.