B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension







Follow us online at Purdue Agriculture News Columns


Be sure to visit the "Purdue Plant Info to Go" display at the Indiana Flower and Patio Show, March 11-19 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

HOME (Indoor plants and activities)

Begin fertilizing houseplants as new growth appears. Keep spent leaves and flowers removed to improve appearance and encourage more blooms.

Start garden seeds indoors for transplanting outdoors later in spring.

Check stored bulbs and produce for decay; discard damaged items.

Prune, repot and clean houseplants as needed.

YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits)

Prune trees and shrubs, except those that bloom early in spring, while plants are still dormant. If winter injury is a concern, delay pruning until after dieback; desiccation injury can be assessed as plants come out of dormancy.

Plant new trees and shrubs as soon as the soil dries enough to be worked. Plant bare-root plants before they leaf out. Soils may be exceptionally wet this spring as winter snows thaw.

Fertilize woody plants before new growth begins, but after soil temperatures have reached 40 degrees F.

Remove winter coverings from roses as soon as new growth begins. Prune out dead canes and fertilize as needed. Delay pruning into live canes until after winter injury can be assessed.

Apply superior oil spray to control scale insects and mites when tips of leaves start to protrude from buds.

GARDEN (Flowers, vegetables and small fruits)

Plant cool-season vegetables and flowers as soon as the ground has dried enough to work. Do NOT work the soil while it is wet; wait until it crumbles in your hand. If the soil forms a solid ball when squeezed, it's still too wet.

Gradually harden off transplants by setting them outdoors during the daytime for about a week before planting.

Follow last fall's soil test recommendations for fertilizer and pH adjustment. It's not too late to test soil if you missed last year.

Start seeds of warm-season vegetables and flowers indoors; in northern and central Indiana, wait until the end of March or early April. Transplant to the garden after danger of frost has passed.

Watch for blooms of early spring bulbs, such as daffodils, squill, crocus, dwarf iris and snowdrops.

Remove old asparagus and rhubarb tops, and sidedress the plants with nitrogen or manure. Plant or transplant asparagus, rhubarb and small fruit plants.

Remove winter mulch from strawberry beds as soon as new growth begins, but keep the mulch nearby to protect against frost and freezes.

Remove weak, diseased or damaged canes from raspberry plants before new growth begins. Remove old fruiting canes if not removed last year, and shorten remaining canes if necessary.

Prune grapevines after winter injury can be assessed.


Writer: B. Rosie Learner
Editor: Cindie Gosnell