Gardening Sowing Seeds

Seeds to Sow Indoors in Early March*

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

Gather your sowing materials: it’s time to start sowing! Ill.: Claire Tourigny, from the book Les Semis du jardinier paresseux.
  1. Alternanthera (Alternanthera spp.)
  2. Clematis (Clematis)
  3. Climbing Snapdragon (AsarinaLophospermumMaurandya asarina)
  4. Columbine (Aquilegia)
  5. Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)
  6. English Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  7. Flowering Maple (Abutilon)
  8. Goatsbeard (Aruncus)
  9. Honeywort (Cerinthe major)
  10. Houseleek or hen and chicks (Sempervivum)
  11. Ivy Pelargonium (Pelargonium peltatum)
  12. Knautia (Knautia)
  13. Knotweed (perennials) (Persicaria and Polygonum)
  14. Leek (Allium ampeloprasum)
  15. Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum)
  16. Madagascar periwinkle or vinca (Catharanthus roseus)
  17. Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea)
  18. Penstemon (annual forms) (Penstemon hartwegiiP. gloxinioides, etc.)
  19. Red Valerian (Centranthus rubra)
  20. Silver Sage (Salvia argentea)
  21. Toothache Plant (Acmella oleracea, syn. Spilanthes acmella)
  22. Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
  23. Zonal Pelargonium (Pelargonium 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:

Seeds to Sow Indoors in Mid-March

Seeds to Sow Indoors in Early April

Seeds to Sow Indoors in Mid-April

Seeds to Sow Indoors in Early May

Seeds to Sow Indoors in Mid-May

Having fun with this year’s sowing!

Main text adapted from an article published on March 1, 2016.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

2 comments on “Seeds to Sow Indoors in Early March*

  1. Pingback: Keeping Seedlings Short and Compact – Laidback Gardener

  2. There are too many seed to fit into lists. within reason, some get sown when we get around to them. I so some of the tree and woody perennial seed (such as yucca) late in winter just so they are out there when the weather changes. There is no specific time for them, as long as they are out there before things get too warm and dry for them. (They get watered anyway of course.)

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