Spring Gardening Checklist: What to Plant and When

Spring Gardening Checklist: What to Plant and When

When the weather starts to warm up, it’s the start of many plants’ growing seasons. Now’s the time to tidy up your garden and prepare your veggie garden and flower beds. But, what are some of the things you should plant during spring?

Some plants that can be planted in the springtime include produce such as kale, cabbage, and carrots. Ornamental flowering plants that you can plant in the spring include weigela, hydrangeas, lettuce, and lemon verbena. 

In this article, I’ll feature these plants and some others that do well when planted in spring. I’ll also look at essential tips on how to prepare your garden for spring planting. 

Preparing Your Garden for Spring 

Preparing Your Garden for Spring 

Before spring arrives, make sure you’ve decided what you wish to grow. Purchase seeds and bulbs so that they’re ready for planting. Make sure your garden is ready for them by following these tips 

  • Remove plant debris—clean up your flower beds by removing sticks, leaves, and other plant matter. 
  • De-weed your garden—if you can see lots of weeds, remove them. Throw them in the trash as if you compost them they will grow again. 
  • Add compost to your soil—boost the nutrients in your soil with compost. All you need is a one-inch (2.54 cm) layer of compost. Place it on top of your soil so you can plant your seeds or plants in it directly. 
  • Conduct a pH soil test—you should test your soil to see what pH level it is, then you can make amendments to it if necessary, depending on the plants you want to grow. For example, if your soil is too acidic, you can amend it with the use of limestone. For potted plants, ensure that you use healthy potting soil.
  • Clean garden tools—remove dirt from your garden tools with water, then soak the tools in a bucket of warm soapy water. Rinse them well and dry them before storing them so they’re ready for when you need them. If your garden tools are rusty, use a bit of steel wool to scrub away the rust. 
  • Start your seeds indoors—by getting a headstart on your seed-starting, such as in trays, you can ensure that by the time spring arrives, they’ll be ready to be planted in the garden. Seeds require temperatures of about 65 °F (17.7 °C) to grow. 

6 Popular Plants to Add to Your Garden in Spring

After preparing your garden for spring planting, you’ll be ready to plant spring flowers and vegetables. Here’s a rundown of six of the best plants to plant in your spring garden. 

1. Weigela 


This flowering plant blooms in gorgeous white and pink flowers. It needs to be planted in a sunny area so that its flowers bloom again in summer and fall, so make sure it gets at least eight hours of sunshine every day. 

You should plant these flowers at the start of the season so that they grow and attract a variety of pollinators to them.


  • Bright green leaves
  • Bright flowers 
  • Thrives in a variety of soil types 
  • Doesn’t need a lot of water, provided your region gets regular rainfall 


  • Doesn’t grow well in windy conditions 
  • Larger weigela bushes require pruning 

Difficulty rating: 2/5 

U.S. hardiness zone: 4–8 

2. Hydrangeas 


Hydrangeas are the ideal plant to add to your garden if you’re looking for fat blooms that come in gorgeous colors, such as pink and blue. For planting success, you should plant them early in the spring. Avoid planting them in the summer as they will need more TLC.

Plant them in an area of the garden where the soil is healthy and well-draining. They want morning sun but protection from the harsh afternoon sun. 

Water them once a week with one inch (2.54 cm) of water. Read our guide on plant watering to ensure that you give your plants enough water. 


  • You can change some hydrangea flower colors by amending the soil pH 
  • Grow well in pots  
  • Resistant to many diseases and garden pests 


  • Can die quickly after being watered too much 
  • Require mulch to maintain soil moisture 
  • Require lots of space in the garden—this also prevents you from having to prune them

Difficulty rating: 3/5 

U.S. hardiness zones: 4–9 

3. Kale 


This type of cabbage grows within three months, so it’s a great addition to your spring veggie garden. You should plant kale in the springtime but make sure you do so about three weeks before the first frost occurs in your region. This will ensure that its growth can get a headstart.

What’s great about kale is that, although it needs a lot of sun every day, it can be grown in the ground, in pots, or in containers. You can even grow it indoors as long as your home gets enough sunlight every day. 


  • Many varieties are available—some are cold-hardy 
  • Only takes two months to reach maturity once its seeds are planted 
  • A biennial plant—it grows leaves in its first year of growth and flower stalks in its second


  • Needs slightly acidic soil amended with organic matter 
  • Needs watering enough to keep its soil evenly moist 
  • Will die if it’s exposed to heavy snow or frost 
  • Requires fertilizer to be mixed into the soil when its planted 

Difficulty rating: 1/5

U.S. hardiness zones: In zones 9 and 10, kale can be grown throughout the year. It can be grown in zones 7–9 if the winters are mild. 

4. Carrots 


Since the growth of carrots can be stunted during hot months, you should plant carrots during the spring. You should plant carrots when the soil temperature is a minimum of 45 °F (7.2 °C).

Carrots grow best in full-sun conditions but they can grow in half-shade conditions. Just make sure that they are planted in soft, loose soil. 


  • Reach maturity within approximately 70 days 
  • Need water once a week—aim to give them one inch (2.54 cm) 
  • Come in a variety of colors, such as yellow, orange, and purple 


  • Won’t grow well if they’re planted in rocky or compacted soil 
  • Its soil must contain a lot of organic matter otherwise you’ll need to feed it vegetable fertilizer 

Difficulty rating: 3/5 

U.S. hardiness zones: 3–10. 

5. Lettuce 


You should plant lettuce seeds in the spring because this produce won’t grow well when the temperature is too hot. The planting site should ideally receive about eight hours of sun every day, although lettuce will tolerate half-shade conditions as long as it gets about three hours of light daily.


  • Can grow in a variety of ways, such as in containers, pots, and the ground 
  • Reaches maturity within 30 days
  • You can harvest the amount you need without any going to waste  


  • The soil must be fertile, so add compost to it 
  • Have shallow roots and need to be watered regularly—water them if the top inch (2.54 cm) of soil feels dry 
  • Sensitive to acidic soils 

Difficulty rating: 1/5 

U.S. hardiness zones: 2a–11b 

6. Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena

Plant this deliciously-fragranced lemon verbena in the springtime as this will encourage its fast growth. Since this plant thrives in warm climates, you should plant it in the springtime after the last frost has passed. 

You need to plant lemon verbena in an area of the garden where it will receive full-sun conditions. It needs to get water frequently so that its soil doesn’t dry out. However, only water it when the top two inches (5.08 cm ) of soil feels dry. 

Lemon verbena grows as a shrub that displays pretty white flower clusters. It releases a lemon scent that will give your garden extra charm.


  • Not susceptible to disease 
  • Leaves are edible
  • If you grow it in pots, it will not grow taller than approximately two feet (0.6 m)


  • Needs a lot of fertilizer—feed it during the springtime with compost tea 
  • Toxic to horses, cats, and dogs 

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Hardiness zones: 8–11 


When spring arrives, your garden can come alive with a variety of delicious produce and sweet-smelling flowering plants. There are many things you can grow in the spring, including

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots 
  • Hydrangeas 
  • Lemon verbena 

About The Author

Gina Harper grew up dreaming about farms and growing her own food. She began an urban garden to feed herself and turned it into an incredible hobby. Gina is here to teach you everything from raised beds to container gardening, how to keep plants alive and well in a smoggy city, and the works. It’s time that we carve our own piece of green earth and reap what we sow—she’s here to help you with that.