Gardening: Spring Favorites to Plant Now

Cary, NC — The grass is growing and the lawnmowers are humming like a swarm of angry bees in Cary. That’s the sign that it’s time to plant a few Spring favorites in pots or the garden.

Early Spring Planting

Spring officially began on Sunday, March 20, 2016. But the frost date in our neck of the Piedmont is April 15. But the weather looks likely to stay warmish, so you can probably plant a few early Spring favorites right now.

Spring Favorites

It’s a little too early to go crazy with your plantings in the garden. Many plants, like tomatoes, need warmer soil and do poorly in early Spring (unless you have a greenhouse).

But lots of things thrive in cooler soil and benefit from an early start. Here are a few of my favorites.


I love Marigolds. They can take the heat, bloom into the autumn, need little care and have really interesting flowers.

Marigolds need a sunny spot. They can be planted in pots or massed in the landscape.

A lot of hybridization goes on with Marigolds, so you get new varieties every year. Here are a few I spotted at Garden Supply Company.




Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera Daisies, also called Transvaal or South African Daisies, are large, showy flowers in bright colors. They love the sun and produce beautiful blooms through the end of summer. Perfect in pots.


Bloody Dock, aka Red Veined Sorrel

Bloody Dock, also known as Red Veined Sorrel, is a perennial accent plant. It’s grown in full sun and is attractive in pots and beds.



Want to eat something out of your garden? Grow lettuce!

Super easy to grow with a satisfying harvest that will keep you in salad greens for weeks.

Early Spring is the time to plant lettuce (now!) as it goes to seed in warm weather.

Get the small six-packs or pots available at the garden store. Comes in many varieties including Romaine, Boston, Oak Leaf and Mesclun mix.



One of my garden favorites is Sedum – a versatile and low-maintenance, perennial addition to the garden.

Sedum comes in a score of varieties, from diminutive dark green plants to tall bronze types with marvelous flowers.

A native of Europe, Sedum is a member of the Crassula family and has succulent leaves. The smaller varieties are good as ground-cover while the larger varieties work well in a mixed bed.

Very drought tolerant. Likes full sun but will find a niche just about anywhere except deep shade.



If you have a large bed with lots of sun, Cabbage is another fine choice for the edible garden.

Plant them with plenty of space in rich soil. Feed them generously when the head is forming. Early varieties are ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.



Hydrangeas are a perennial shrub. They offer years of pleasure in a shady spot.

The plant is native to Asia, with many varieties derived from China, Japan and Korea. Most types grown in the Southeastern U.S. are deciduous, that is, they lose their leaves in the winter.

Hydrangeas are valued in gardens everywhere for their massive flowers that bloom all summer, as well as for their tolerance of shade.

Easy to grow, likes water, no direct sunlight. Perfect as a foundation plant on the shady side of the house.



I have never grown Dahlias, but their flowers fascinate me.

A native of Mexico, Dahlias were originally grown for the food value of their tuberous roots. The like full sun and are perennial in Zone 8 and warmer climates. Here in the NC Piedmont, we are in Zone 7, so many gardeners treat Dahlias as an annual.



Story and pictures by Hal Goodtree.

The Gardening Column is sponsored by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.