Southwest Garden Calendar for April 2021

Here is what you can do this April, 2021.  No two gardening years are exactly the same in the Southwest, so I like to offer a new calendar each month of the year.

Before mid-April

Prune frost damage off your tropical plants. This includes bougainvillea, lantana, yellow bells, and other tender perennials.

Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. You can plant them later but the sooner you get them in the ground before summer arrives – the better. EXCEPT! Don’t plant tropicals like palms too early.


After mid-April

Plant new citrus and palms. Why wait? These tropical plants prefer warmer soils. Other fruiting tropicals to add to your garden – Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa), pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana, formerly Feijoa sellowiana ), Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus edulis).

After mid-April you can transplant cacti and other succulents – including aloes, agaves and lady slippers if you need to. If they are in pots, time to pot them up as well. So remember to mark direction! Many succulents – not just cacti are sensitive to direction. They actively protect their sunny side by growing thicker skin and fewer pores on the sunny side.

Nurseries are full of lovely aloe selections – like this ‘Grassy Lassie’ aloe. Photo courtesy of Green Meadow Growers.

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Anytime during April

Vegetable Garden

Start a vegetable garden with all the vegetables that are technically fruits! This includes tomatoes, peppers, squash, and melons. You can grow greens too, like amaranth. Basil will grow well from seed now that the soil is warmer.

Young squash seedling.

Save seed of any winter vegetables you wish to grow next year. The best thing to grow in your garden is something that did well in your garden. My arugula is in it’s 24th year (generation) of living every winter in my garden – which includes alkaline soil and “Darwinistic” care. There is also a radish that I grow for the edible seed pods that are delicious. This might be about year 18 or so.


Avoid pruning spring-flowering shrubs until bloom period is through. If your cassias are done, prune now and avoid having to clean up seed pods later.

Remove spent flowers (deadhead) from plants to discourage setting seeds and encourage new flowers. This has helped my pansies bloom for months!

You can preserve your pansies in a tasty homemade cordial.

Deep water deciduous fruit trees (apricot, apple, almond, etc.) every two weeks, to ensure good fruit set.

Fertilizer & Soil Care

Apply soil acidifier to any chlorotic plants.

Adda a layer of fresh compost or mulch around all fruit trees.


Fertilize established Bermuda grass lawns. Wait at least 2 weeks since last application. Winter rye lawns may be dying back now.

Fertilize roses every two weeks through their bloom period.


Get outside and enjoy your space!

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soule-april-southwestMore about monthly care in this book: Month by Month Gardening for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press).  This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies – at no extra cost to you.

© Article copyright Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt – but you must give proper credit to Gardening With Soule. You must include a link to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.



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