Pruning in the garden – essential spring clean jobs for March

As we welcome longer days and less ground frost John Kane takes on the gardening jobs for March.

The threat of really severe frosts is less now so I have started some pruning in the garden. I’m in the north west and we do still get the occasional hard frost – those of you in the south will probably have a couple of weeks head start on us.

In early March I prune the more hardy shrubs such as late flowering clematis and spiraea joponica. I prune the clematis down to about a foot from the ground and have given the spiraea, which flowers in late summer, a really hard prune as this encourages new growth of pink foliage.

spiraea joponica - pruning in the garden
Spiraea Joponica

I also give the evergreen shrubs a trim at this time of year both to shape them and to remove any frost damaged stems. I leave the slightly less hardy plants (such as the pentstemons, phygelius and hardy fuchsias) for another week or two before hard pruning as I am always aware that a late hard frost could be damaging to these plants. I also take the opportunity to clear away old stems of the perennial plants now before they start to put on new growth.


As I have now converted all of the garden to permanent planting I do not have a lot of seed sowing to do in March as in previous years. I have however purchased some seeds of a new asarina for containers, pentstemon clutei (a tall hardy variety), sweet pepper and some Ipomoea (morning glory) which is my favourite climbing plant. I will start to sow these in the next few weeks.

I also have a few packets of hardy annual seeds (sunflower, nasturtium calendula and sweet peas), which I will sow later in the month. These are easy to grow and are very useful to fill in gaps in the garden in summer.

In the greenhouse I have trimmed back the plants now that they have started making
new growth and have started taking some cuttings of the fuchias and geraniums. Cuttings taken at this time of the year usually make good size plants by early summer. I find that if I take the cuttings too late they do not flower until late summer.

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Reproduced Courtesy of John’s Garden

Tags: , , , , , , , Last modified: March 4, 2022

Written by 7:27 pm Gardening