Pacific Northwest Gardening in April

Tete-a-tete Daffodils
Tete-a-tete Daffodils

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
― Margaret AtwoodBluebeard’s Egg

Average last frost  March 22,   Safe Date April 15

  •  Keep on with general clean-up and pruning back dead wood and old perennials.
  •  Start some serious weeding before things get out of control, mulch to reduce weed germination.
  •  Prepare garden beds by adding organic material such as compost or manure.
  •  Cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches before new growth begins.
  •  Start the slug patrol, remove hiding places, hand pick or use iron phosphate bait.
  • Be on aphid alert!  Wash them away with a stream of water or use insecticidal soap.
  •  Fertilize perennials, roses and flowering shrubs with a good organic fertilizer (if not done in March).
  • If needed, aerate, thatch and re-seed lawn.
  • Complete spring pruning on roses and shrubs like hydrangeas. Shape and thin after blooms fade for rhododendrons, forsythia and lilac.  Remove dead wood first!
  • Prune pines to reduce size by cutting ‘candles’ (emerging shoots).
  • Consider using a fungicide such as copper soap on roses, dogwood trees and other plants prone to fungal diseases.
  • Visit a local plant sale, like LWIT  Horticulture in Kirkland, WA  April 25-26, 2014
  •  Enjoy the rainbows and the rain. Celebrate Earth Day April 22 and plant a tree!


  • Sow hardy annuals like sweet alyssum, cosmos, cleome, marigolds, California poppies and sunflowers, plant pansies
  • Summer bulbs like lilies and gladiolus and dahlia tubers.  Visit the Seattle Dahlia Society website for tips on planting and growing.
  •  Cool season veggie crops like lettuce, peas, cabbage, onions, spinach, radish, etc… (think leaves and roots)
  • Container roses.
  • Herbaceous perennials
  • This is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, before summer heat.

Consider adding flowers and herbs to the veggie garden to attract beneficial insects: Angelica, fennel, dill, yarrow, catnip, rue, thyme and alyssum.

April Flowers


  1. Amelanchier
  2. Cercis canadensis
  3. Magnolia x soulangeana
  4. Magnolia stellata
  5. Malus (Crabapple)
  6. Prunus
  7. Salix


  1. Camellia
  2. Chaenomeles
  3. Fothergilla
  4. Osmanthus delavayi
  5. Rhododendron
  6. Ribes sanguineum


  1. Ajuga
  2. Basket of Gold
  3. Bergenia
  4. Bleeding Heart
  5. Candytuft
  6. Forget-me-not
  7. Lewisia
  8. Lungwort
  9. Primrose
  10. Trillium




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