Richard's top tips for March
Dazzling dahlias. Start dahlia tubers into growth. Place them in trays of multipurpose compost, water well and keep warm. If you need a few more plants, take cuttings from the first shoots once they are 3-4in high.
Water cacti. It’s time to wake cacti and succulents from their winter slumber. Water them every fortnight from now until the end of April. From May to August, water them once a week. Give them an extra boost with an occasional feed of Flower Power.
Peach perfect. Place pot grown peaches in a cool, light spot under cover to protect the flowers from cold. Use a painter’s brush to help pollinate the blooms. Keep the leaves dry to prevent peach leaf curl disease.
Snow go. Dig up overgrown clumps of snowdrops once they’ve finished flowering and while they’re still in leaf. Split in small clusters of bulbs and re-plant in fresh soil.
Back to the fuchsias. Wake up those over-wintering fuchsias. Re-pot with fresh compost, cut them back and water them well. As soon as the new shoots are big enough – normally in three or four weeks – you can use some of them for cuttings.
Prettier pansies. Give pansies, primulas and other spring flowering bedding plants a feed with high potash fertilizer like Flower Power. This’ll help them put on an even better display over the next few weeks.
Light up. Remove some insulation from the greenhouse to let in more light which will help the young seedlings grow more sturdily.
Get set. Plant onion sets 6in apart, with the tips of the onions just showing at soil level. Shallots should also be planted now, but with the tips just above the soil level.
Grass act. Planning a new lawn this spring? Prepare the ground now by spraying with Round Up to kill any perennial weeds. Wait three weeks for the weedkiller to work, then dig over the soil, remove any stones and level it. Finally, sprinkle on some Growmore fertilizer before seeding or turfing.
Rose care. Finish any spring pruning, then mulch with compost, bark or well rotted manure. For an extra boost, feed with rose fertilizer.
Pest alert. Check pansies, tulips and rose shoots for early attacks of greenfly or blackfly. Squash the blighters if possible or spray with my Plant Invigorator (a safe insecticide combined with foliar feed).
Do the splits. Give a new lease of life to overgrown clumps of hardy geraniums, hostas, sedums and daylilies. Dig them up, chop them into smaller sections and re-plant the best bits in soil enriched with compost.
Spud u like? Now’s the traditional time for planting early cropping spuds. Plant the tubers 9in deep, 12in apart. When the young shoots appear, mound soil over them to protect from frost and to boost the crop.
Get tough. If your honeysuckle is an over-grown mess, now’s the time to sort it out. If it’s just a little bit tangled at the top, trim it with shears. But really overgrown plants should be cut back hard, to about 18in from the ground.
Pond clear. If your pond is getting clogged up, now’s the time to give it a good clean out. Pop the plants on the side and any fish in a bucket before scooping out the silt.
Happy houseplants. Now it’s getting warmer and lighter, your houseplants will grow much faster. Start watering them more regularly and give them a real treat by feeding once a fortnight with a liquid fertilizer. Use Flower Power for flowering plants and Miracle-Gro for green plants.