What grows in low desert Arizona gardens in March? I’ll show you. All of these pictures come from my garden in Mesa, Arizona.
March in the low desert Arizona garden is one of the most beautiful times of year. Take time to enjoy your garden this month. Many gardens offer garden tours during the month of March. Enjoy the beautiful weather at the tour and take note of plants, flowers, trees and vegetables you see growing and would like to add to your landscape.
The low desert of Arizona includes cities in and around Phoenix, including Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Apache Junction, Buckeye, Fountain Hills, Tolleson, Surprise, Sun City, Queen Creek, and Goodyear.
“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of his instruments, not the composer.”Geoffrey Charlesworth
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Arizona Garden in March
There are important garden tasks to do in March, such as pruning frost-damaged plants and thinning fruit trees (see a list of garden tasks for March below). Harvests from fall plantings are ending as planting continues for the spring and summer gardens.
Keep reading for garden inspiration, a March garden checklist, and a list of which vegetables, herbs and flowers to plant in your low desert Arizona garden in March.
Vegetables growing in the low desert Arizona garden in March
Because of the heat of Arizona summers, we have a short growing season. Look for tomatoes with a short (60-90) days to maturity. These are often types with small to medium fruit or Roma or paste varieties. Varieties highly recommended for Arizona include Punta Banda, Celebrity, Pearson and Cherokee Purple.
Pepper plants require a long warm growing season. In the low desert of Arizona, start seeds indoors in late December or early January. Begin hardening off transplants about 10 days before planting in late February and early March. Once seedlings have at least 8 leaves, pinch the top back to encourage strong bushy plants.
Asparagus harvests begin in late February and continue throughout the month of March. Harvest stalks that are at least ¼ inch in diameter. Let smaller stalks grow through the summer to give energy to the roots.
Tips for growing flowers in the low desert Arizona garden in March
Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers and bulbs to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.
Fruit trees in the low desert Arizona garden in March
As blossoms become fruit on your fruit trees, fruit should be thinned before it is an inch in diameter. Thin fruit within about a month after full bloom. Fruit thinned later than this lessens the chance that fruit size will increase. For more information, read this article.
Questions about growing citrus? This article answers 10 questions about how to grow citrus and includes guidelines for selecting, planting, watering, and fertilizing citrus.
Herbs in the low desert Arizona garden in March
Harvest chamomile when the petals are flat or beginning to fall back from bud. Harvest flowers on a sunny day after dew has dried. Flowers can be air-dried or dried in a dehydrator – they are dry when flower crumbles easily. Use 1 teaspoon of dried petals in diffuser per cup of water for tea. If using fresh flowers for tea, double amounts – drying flowers concentrates the flavor and oils. Read this article for more information about how to grow chamomile.
Read this article for more information about how to grow dill.
Read this article for more information about how to grow calendula.
Low Desert March To-Do List
- March is a great time to plant citrus trees and the best month to plant watermelon.
- Plant fruit trees early in the month so they have time to settle in before the heat of the summer. Look for varieties which require less than 400 chill hours, have early maturing fruit, and are self-pollinating.
- Plant heirloom roses and container-grown roses this month on the north or east sides of yard that receive afternoon shade in the summer.
- Plant cold-tolerant trees, bushes, and perennials as well as frost-sensitive plants such as lantana and hibiscus. Plant summer flowering shrubs. Do not over plant, be aware of mature size of plant, and space accordingly.
- Although the weather is still cool, think twice before planting cool-season annuals this month. It will be heating up soon and their time in the ground will be short. Better to plant warm-season annuals when they are available.
- Plant blackberries and grapes this month.
- Plant ginger and turmeric rhizomes this month.
- Check irrigation system and timer. Run system, and inspect all drips and sprinklers for leaks and proper watering.
- As temperatures heat up, annual plants will need more frequent watering. Water to a depth of about 6 inches, and allow top of soil to dry out before watering again.
- Check containers with a moisture meter or make sure top inch or so of soil has dried out before watering.
- Water established citrus trees once every 2-3 weeks.
- Water established fruit trees once every 7-10 days.
- Wateruseitwisely.com is a helpful resource for landscape watering guidelines.
- Pinch back basil and pepper plants when they have several sets of true leaves to encourage bushy plants rather than till spindly ones.
- Prune frost damage from frost-tender plants such as hibiscus and lantana this month.
- If you haven’t already, prune established roses and deciduous fruit trees. Clean up all fallen leaves and debris to discourage disease and insects.
- Prune dead branches out of cold-hardy trees and shrubs.
- March is the perfect month to prune evergreen trees and shrubs.
- Clean up and remove dead or damaged wood and crossing branches on citrus.
- Do not prune newly-planted trees or shrubs.
- Fertilize deciduous fruit trees and citrus if you didn’t do it in February.
- Prepare soil for planting by adding compost.
- Do not fertilize newly-planted trees or shrubs.
- Fertilize trees and shrubs in your yard as needed. Native trees and shrubs do not require extra fertilization.
- Fertilize blackberries with a balanced fertilizer.
Yard to do and clean-up:
- Thin fruit on deciduous fruit trees. This article will help explain the process.
- Remove spent winter-growing annuals. Stressed plants attract pests.
- Thin warm-season annuals to keep plants from overcrowding each other.
- Clean up and remove dead or damaged wood and crossing branches on citrus.
- Remove dead plants in yard. Look at landscape and make note of how plants look and their performance. March is a good time to transplant and move plants within your yard to areas where they get more or less sun depending on the needs of the plants.
- Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around base of shrubs and trees. Mulching reduces soil temperatures and adds organic matter to the soil.
What to plant in the low desert Arizona garden in March:
- Prepare beds for spring planting – Add compost and other organic matter to the soil.
- It’s important to have your soil tested at least once a year. A soil test can determine the health of your soil. I use this test kit from Amazon.
- Add a balanced fertilizer if needed.
Herbs to plant in the low desert garden in March
Anise, Basil, Bay, Caraway, Catnip, Chamomile, Chives, Epazote, Fennell, French Tarragon, Garlic Chives, Germander, Ginger, Horehound, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rue, Safflower, Sage, Winter Savory, Summer Savory, Thyme, Turmeric, Yarrow
Plant from seed: Anise, Fennel, Hyssop, Safflower
Plant from rhizomes: Ginger, Turmeric
Arizona Herb Planting Guide helps you learn when to plant over 30 different herbs in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Vegetables to plant in the low desert garden in March
Plant all month
Armenian Cucumber, Artichokes*, Blackberries*, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Corn, Cucamelon*, Cucumber, Eggplant*, Grapes*, Green Onions, Ground Cherries*, Malabar Spinach, Okra, Peanuts, Peppers*, Pumpkin, Radishes, Sweet Potatoes*, Summer Squash, Sunflowers, Tomatillos*, Tomatoes*, Watermelon, Winter Squash
Plant after March 15
* plant from transplant
Arizona Vegetable Planting Guide helps you learn when to plant vegetables in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
With 50 vegetables listed that grow well in the low desert of Arizona you are sure to find one to try.
Flowers to plant in the low desert garden in March
Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Coleus, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Dianthus, Dahlias, Desert Marigold, Desert Milkweed, Dusty Miller, English Daisy, Four O’Clock, Gaillardia, Gazania, Globe Amaranth, Geranium, Gloriosa Daisy, Hollyhock, Lisianthus, Marigold, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia), Ornamental Pepper, Petunia, Portulaca, Purslane, Ranunculus, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Spilanthes, Sunflower, Sweet Alyssum, Wild Hyssop, Vinca, Zinnia
Flowers on this list that do well started from seed are Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Four O’Clock, Globe Amaranth, Hollyhock, Marigold, Mexican Sunflower, Rudbeckia, Spilanthes, Sunflowers, Wild Hyssop, Zinnia
Arizona annual flowers planting guide helps you learn when to plant flowers in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Would you like the low-desert planting dates for vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a convenient calendar?
*PLANTING GUIDE: Each month has a planting guide (letter boards) for the vegetables, herbs, and flowers to plant in the low desert of Arizona.
*HARVEST GUIDE: Harvest guides are the harvest photos of what it is possible to harvest each month.
Click here to learn more
Want more information about gardening in Arizona? This blog post shares 7 tips for how to grow a vegetable garden in Arizona.