April offers us some of the best gardening days of the entire year right alongside some of the most disheartening weather. Progress made during a warm weekend might seem like it happened ages ago when the following days deliver rain, frost, and even snow.
But the resiliency of the April garden is something that should give us all hope—bulbs, buds, and blooms usually come through the cold unscathed, and they will spend each and every sunny day growing by leaps and bounds, making up for lost time!
In the Portland Metro Region and Vancouver, our average last frost date is April 15th.
April To Do List in the Garden
Replenish containers with colorful annuals—we’re receiving daily shipments at this time! Planting soon will lead to full, beautiful pots this season, or stop into one of our garden centers and grab a pre-planted container!
Pick up 4-inch perennials to fill in gaps in the landscape. These lower-priced options are only available for a short window of time and will grow rapidly if planted in gardens now!
Sow seeds for sweet peas and nasturtiums now; wait to plant sunflowers until May.
Planting & Maintenance
Apply fertilizer to roses, perennials, trees, shrubs, and established plantings. We recommend G&B All Purpose Fertilizer, G&B Paradise Blend, or Organic Portland Rose Society Fertilizer to feed your plants and improve the soil quality with beneficial microbes and fungi.
- Monitor rhododendrons/azaleas towards the end of April for signs of lace bug hatching/damage. This will look like light green stippling on the tops of the leaves and will show reddish brown wet spots on the bottom of the leaves.
- Monitor roses and fruit trees for early signs of disease or pests. Stop in to discuss safe and effective treatment options with one of our garden experts!
- Protect tender shoots of emerging plants from slugs with Sluggo or Slug Magic.
Prune early spring-flowering shrubs like Forsythia, Flowering Quince, Flowering Currant, and Camellias after flowers fade. Tip back to control size and for deciduous shrubs, remove oldest canes at the base of the plant.
April is the perfect time to get your veggies going for the upcoming season! It’s still too cold for many summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, but it’s the perfect time for greens and root vegetables!
Plant your salad garden! Grow green veggies like lettuce, kale, mustards, cabbage, pac choi, broccoli, and cauliflower, along with root veggies like radishes, carrots, and beets. You can start plants from seeds or buy vegetable starts at the garden center. Sow seeds or plant starts in 2 to 3 week intervals for a staggered harvest.
Protect tender new shoots from slugs with Sluggo or Sluggo Plus; protect from insects and mild frosts with a frost blanket like Harvest Guard.
April Lawn Care
Overseed bare spots or thicken up thin lawns as temperatures warm up. If you use a weed and feed, it will be most effective this month.
Fertilize your lawn with a well-balanced, organic lawn fertilizer like G&B Organic Lawn Fertilizer.
Organizing the Garden Shed
Check on tender plants in storage, like overwintered Fuchsias, Abutilon, and Geraniums; slowly bring them out from protection as the weather warms.
Keep tender/young plant protection items handy for late freezes like cloches, cold-frames, burlap, and frost blankets.
Never run out of Sluggo!
Indoor Gardening in April
Now that the days are longer, houseplants should be actively growing, so take some time to give them extra attention.
Reposition and rotate houseplants to optimize light exposure as the sun’s angle changes and the pattern of light movement through your house shifts.
Pinch back or trim houseplants to encourage fullness and redirect new growth.
Take cuttings from vigorous, healthy plants and share them with friends once they have rooted!
What to Do for Fun in April
Take photos of your favorite daffodils and tulips as you walk through the neighborhood—they might not be available as potted starts now, but set a reminder on your phone to look for those beauties as dormant bulbs for sale in September!
Make a terrarium to honor Earth Day (April 22). Observe the cycles of nature as you tend to your tiny world under glass.
Plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day (April 30).
Keep feeding the birds! Support wildlife in the garden by supplementing their diet with birdseed, and be sure to clean your birdfeeder weekly.