What To Know About When To Start Planting


This month, gardeners are experiencing many changes. First, daylight saving time started, which gave everyone extra daylight in the evening to be outside and do some gardening. Second, Spring officially began on Tuesday, March 19th. But what Mother Nature gives us is the most important. So far in March, we have had ample rainfall and mild temperatures. The combination of all this has people anxious to be planting now.

Guests come into the greenhouse every day asking questions such as:

  • “Can I be planting now?“
  • “When is our last frost for Richmond?”

Those are good, logical questions. So, let me delve into each of them.


The quick answer is yes—with some reservations. Now is a great time to be planting trees and shrubs. However, timing is everything regarding being a successful planter in March. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. It’s still March, and we still have the potential of having a cold snap (hopefully not). Our soil temperature is warming. The combination of warm soil temperature, warm days, and ample rainfall sets us up for a great time to plant. But not everything! People are already coming into the garden center and asking for tomatoes, marigolds, etc. You won’t find these plants here—it’s too early.


This is a good question that only Mother Nature truly knows. Our average last frost day is around the 20th of April (a month away). Now, this is average. We have had some years where our last frost was before April 20th. Conversely, we have had some years where our previous frost was past April 20th. We had a frost in early May just a few years ago. My advice again is don’t get ahead of yourself and watch the weather forecast.

Yes, I empathize with all of you who are eager to start planting. I know your green thumb is aching and wanting to get brown. When it comes to gardening, proceed with some caution. Remember, it is still March.

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