The Coachella Valley is running about five degrees warmer than normal—so you can go ahead and start removing your spent winter flowers, and moving toward summer plants.

Here are some other March tasks for the “Honey Do” list, for the Honey in your household:

  • Check the location of all pots and furnishings to make sure they’re out of wind tunnels.
  • If you have not fertilized your citrus, get it done this week!
  • Check your irrigation system. Be prepared to increase the watering frequency as temperatures continue to warm up.
  • Clean up all ground debris—especially from leaf loss and cactus demise.
  • Apply a pre-emergent if you have not already done so. Presuming the weather remains dry, follow the directions for watering this in. This will help prevent weeds from popping up. Do not use where you are planting seeds or growing vegetables and herbs!
  • If you somehow avoided the rainstorm a couple of weeks ago, water your potted cactus. For a softer, contemporary look, plant a few slipper plants (see below) in a series of pots or in a raised planter bed to create an easy-care border.

It’s also time to start your potted rose fertilization schedule. Be sure to water well the night before each step. Important: If you have newly planted roses, DO NOT fertilize until after their first bloom!

  • For the first week, use an organic fertilizer; scratch it into the earth and then water.
  • Two weeks later, use a water-soluble fertilizer.
  • Use a fish emulsion once per month to help get microorganisms growing.
  • Spray your roses with water! Spring brings aphids, thrips and mildew to your plants. Use the jet-spray setting on the hose in the morning, twice per week, to prevent unwanted critters and mold.

Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions atpotteddesert@gmail.com;follow the Potted Desert on Facebook.