Ideas & Inspiration

Gardening Calendar for May

May Garden Checklist
May Garden Checklist
  • Choose Fresh Flowers for Mom

Give mom a summer full of blooms when you select flowers from the Garden Center. Look for hanging baskets of annuals, and pots of roses and hydrangeas for Mom.


  • Remove Standing Water to Deter Pests

The top mosquito-control advice is: Kill mosquitoes before they are old enough to bite by eliminating sources of standing water. This includes filling in depressions in the ground that fill when it rains and drain slowly.


  • Plant Perennials and Annuals

Whether your gardening space is a condo balcony or a half-acre plot or something in-between, container gardening brings plants up close. Sun-loving annuals like petunias, begonias and marigolds add bold color to your containers and flower beds.


  • Stake or Cage Tomatoes

Determinate tomatoes are the compact plants that fruit all at once, while indeterminate plants produce all summer. Indeterminate plants sprawl and require support. Cage or stake plants early, before they get out of hand.

Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest

Wait until nighttime temperatures warm up to the mid-50s (Fahrenheit) to set out annuals for seasonal color. Plant petunias in sunny areas and impatiens and begonias in light shade.

North California Coastal
North California Coastal

Prepare perennial beds by digging in lots of organic compost to help with drainage. When you’ve planted your flowers, mulch around them with organic mulch, such as shredded pine bark or pine straw, or shredded, composted leaves.

South California Coastal
South California Coastal

In raised beds, use a row cover or shade cloth to protect veggies from the intense Southern California sun.

Southwestern Desert
Southwestern Desert

Allow succulents to produce new stems and leaves as the temperatures warm before removing dead growth. Some tissue that appears damaged may revive as days warm up.

Western Mountains
Western Mountains

Transplant shrubs and trees after the soil thaws out and dries, while the weather is still cool and before new growth begins.

High Plains
High Plains

Water lawns to promote deep roots and to develop drought resistance. The best time to water lawns is early morning. The goal is to apply 1 to 2 inches of water per week if the weather is dry.

Northern Midwest
Northern Midwest

Direct sow seeds for edibles and flowers as soon as the soil has thawed, dried and begun to warm. Some seeds will not germinate until the soil is quite warm; see notes on seed packet.

Central Midwest
Central Midwest

Plant seedlings of cool-weather vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and cabbage. Direct sow sugar snap and snow pea seeds.

Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic

Fertilize roses with an organic, slow-release fertilizer according to package directions. Water them with an alfalfa meal and water mixture for more blooms in summer.

New England
New England

When planting new seedlings, if the weather has been dry, lightly water the soil before you plant. You want it moist, but not soggy. Water the plants in their pots a few hours before planting.

Upper South
Upper South

Divide hostas this month. Dig the plant with a garden fork, not a shovel, so their long roots are not damaged. Be sure to follow package directions.

Middle South
Middle South

As the weather heats up, replace pansies with hot-weather annuals such as zinnias, geraniums, marigolds and celosia.

Lower South
Lower South

Prune spring blooming shrubs like azaleas right after they bloom, if needed. Prune to remove an awkward branch or to control size.

Coastal and Tropical South
Coastal and Tropical South

May’s moderate temps and humidity can lead to mildew. Build up your plants’ defenses with organic fertilizer. Pre-treat powdery mildew before it appears.

South Florida
South Florida

Lawn diseases like brown patch may appear this month on St. Augustine or Centipede grass. Treat with a fungicide per the label directions.