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What To Do In Your Flower Garden This April (Mid-Spring)
As we enter April the spring weather gets milder, which makes working in the garden so pleasant!
Take advantage of the warmer temperatures to save yourself time later when things heat up in the summer.
Plants start growing rapidly this month, including the weeds! So, if you haven’t started weeding yet, now is the time to do so.
And mulch! Mulch your flowers, shrubs, and trees to lessen your future weeding chores. Mulch is one of the best ways to prevent weeds in flower beds.
April is a busy time in the garden, no question, but this checklist will help you keep on top of things! And you should also check out my April vegetable garden checklist and my April lawn and garden checklist.
Flower Garden Tips for April
- When they start to show signs of life, divide overgrown perennial clumps. Dig up, divide, and transplant crowded daylilies, phlox, helenium, fall asters, Shasta daisies, chrysanthemums, bee balm, and hostas. Don’t divide Oriental poppies (Fall), or Iris (late Summer) at this time.
- Divide clumps of older bulbs in need of rejuvenation. Replant in a sunny spot and water in well. Bulbs prefer locations that are not heavily watered during their summer dormancy. So, don’t overplant with summer annuals or perennials that prefer wet conditions.
- Hydrangeas: Prune paniculata hydrangeas and Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ (not mop-top blue types).
- Cut back Buddleia hard once you see the very first signs of life.
- Stake tall-growing perennials plants, such as peonies and delphiniums, before they reach six inches.
- Cut flower blooms and stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowering bulbs as the flowers fade. But don’t cut the foliage until it dies back naturally. The leaves are necessary for the bulbs to re-flower next year.
- Remove winter coverings from roses, but keep mulch nearby to protect them from late freezes. Prune and fertilize as needed. Wait to prune roses until after buds begin to swell to avoid late frosts damaging new growth. Begin spraying to control black spot disease.
- Plant hardy perennials, such as daylilies and delphiniums.
- Take cuttings from the tips of chrysanthemums and delphiniums to start new plants.
- Start tuberous begonias and caladiums indoors for transplanting out to your garden later.
- Plant cool-season annuals that can tolerate a light frost early in the month, after being hardened off. (When crabapples bloom is a good rule of thumb for proper timing.) These include snapdragons, sweet peas, English daisies, pot marigolds, African daisies, lobelias, sweet alyssum, forget-me-nots, pouch flowers (Nemesia), baby-blue-eyes, larkspurs, love-in-a-mists, bush violets (Browallia), stocks, primroses, pansies, painted tongues (Salpiglossis), sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), and violets.
- Later in the month, when the weather settles, set out transplants of forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.), foxglove (Digitalis spp.), Shirley, Iceland, and California poppies, Persian buttercups (Ranunculus) and other cool-weather flowers.
- Direct-sow seeds of sweet peas, bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus), and larkspur (Consolida ajacis) in flowerbeds.
- Plant summer bulbs such as lilies, freesia, gladiolus, and crocosmias about 1-2 weeks before your last expected spring frost, if you can provide frost protection during a cold snap. Otherwise, wait until after your last frost date.
- To extend the blooming period of gladiolus, plant early, middle and late season selections each week until the middle of June. Choose a sunny location and plant the corms four to six inches deep and six to eight inches apart.
- Peony care: Pick the lateral buds off peonies to promote larger blooms on the terminal buds. If botrytis blight or bud blast was a problem with peonies last year, spray newly emerging plants with an approved fungicide when the plants are 2 to 4 inches tall. When peonies reach 10 inches, stake or hoop them to support their blossoms. Avoid overhead watering your peonies. If the fungus persists, consider relocating peonies to a more open, full-sun are. Move the plants in the fall.
- Consider planting flowers that can be dried for winter arrangements. Some of the best are strawflower, statice, celosia, and globe amaranth.