Spring Gardens Are Blooming — Here's What to Do in April

Colder climates may still be shrugging off winter, but many gardeners are excited to be back to work by April. Dry summers in California and the American Southwest call for drought-tolerant plantings and water-wise practices. Butterflies signal spring’s return in the Great Lakes area and elsewhere, whilst flowering native trees make their presence known in the Northeast. Back in Texas and the Southeast, heating temperatures mean everything from herbs to vegetables to annuals can be sown from seed. Here’s what to do in your garden, by U.S. area, this April.

Locate your April garden checklist:
California | Central Plains | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast
Pacific Northwest | Rocky Mountains | Southeast | Southwest | Texas

LLC, Arcadia Gardens

Northwest. “You will want to secure your new starts and seedlings in the ravages of snails and slugs,” writes landscape designer Genevieve Schmidt. “It is also wise to guard the shoots of emerging perennials, which can be susceptible to harm. Dahlias, hostas (shown), bear’s breech,
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California. The current San Francisco Flower & Garden Show was packed with all the newest breed of climate-appropriate plants,” notes garden editor Bill Marken. “Among the very eye catching was Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’, together with white-trimmed, light green leaves in sculptural symmetry.”

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Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Southwest. “As temperatures increase, so do the water needs of plants,” writes Arizona horticulturalist Noelle Johnson. “Watering schedules need to change with the season. How deeply you water is also important.”

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Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Rocky Mountains. “Transplant or divide crowded perennials when new growth emerges,” indicates Colorado landscape designer Jocelyn Chilvers. “Summer and fall bloomers like asters, hummingbird flower (Zauschneria spp), Maximillian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliana), gayfeather (Liatris spp), tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), coneflower (Echinacea spp) and ornamental grasses may need attention.”

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Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Texas. “Almost any plant easily grown from seed could be sown this season,” says landscape designer Jenny Peterson. “Make sure to look at the planting directions on the backs of their seed packets to be aware of the proper planting depth for each seed type.”

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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Central Plains. “Resist the urge to prune spring-blooming shrubs, like viburnum, dogwood and spiraea, since they bloom on old growth rather than brand new,” says Nebraska garden consultant Benjamin Vogt. “Once they’re done flowering and setting fruit, you can prune if you want to.”

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Barbara Pintozzi

Great Lakes. “Butterflies create their initial appearance in April, such as this painted lady on squill (Scilla siberica),” states Illinois garden coach Barbara Pintozzi. “Leave bare tiny areas of somewhat depressed soil in the garden where butterflies can drink from mud puddles. Allow some native violets (Viola sororia) to remain in the yard for frittilary butterflies to utilize as host plants”

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Paintbox Garden

Northeast. “Among my favorite native trees to the northeast is Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis),” writes Vermont landscape consultant Charlotte Albers. ” The unusual magenta buds open directly on branches before the leaves emerge in this time of year, and the leaves are heart shaped (cordate). Grow this little tree in sunlight as a focal point, in an open environment or along the edge of a woodland for visual interest in early spring”

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Amy Renea

Mid-Atlantic. “April is the time to keep from this garden for the most part,” indicates Amy Renea. “If the rains are heavy, do not step on your garden beds, or you may compact the soil and perhaps even take out little plants trying to emerge. Be careful whilst weeding, as most infant plants look very like their weedy cousins”

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Gardening with Confidence®

Southeast. “Plant annual herbs such as basil following the season’s final frost,” says North Carolina garden writer Helen Yoest. “Biannuals such as parsley and perennial herbs such as rosemary, chives, thyme and mint can be planted now.”

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