Gardening in May: gardening tips

In May, the gardener is not likely to be bored because the gardening work to be accomplished is very numerous. Daytime temperatures are rising, the days are getting longer, and there is no mistaking that many plants are in full bloom. Some morning frosts are still possible at least until the end of the Ice Saints, it is said, even if in recent years it has been observed that it stops freezing earlier and earlier due to climate change. Here is the program to follow in the garden in May.

Various garden work to be done in May

May is an active month in the garden because in addition to sowing, transplanting and planting in the ground, there are a multitude of other tasks to honor.

  • Harvest the asparagus when the heads emerge from the mound,
  • Install aquatic plants if you have a pond.
  • Mow the lawn regularly, but remember to reserve a small area where the grass can grow freely as well as the wild flowers, essential to attract foragers and garden friendly fauna.
  • Resume significantly the watering of the persimmon tree (persimmon) in regions with a mild climate.
  • In the orchard, place a bed of straw at the foot of the fruit trees.
  • Use clippings rather than taking them to the recycling center since they can be added to the compost or be used as mulch. In the latter case, it is just necessary to let the cut grass dry in the sun for 3 or 4 days.
  • Treat the roses.
  • Multiply the wallflowers.
  • Air the greenhouse during the day.
  • Prune:
    • Eggplants in the southernmost regions,
    • Tamarisk once flowering is over (end of May) and more generally all spring-flowering shrubs as soon as they have no more flowers.
    • Oleander (in the South) but very lightly since it is simply a question of thinning the old branches, which will renew the flowering.
    • The hedge.
    • Thin out pear tree, apple tree.
  • Water the shrubs that have been pruned.
  • Sow the new lawn, the soil having been prepared beforehand.
  • Clean the walls and the patio with a pressure washer if it has not been done in the last month.
  • Prepare future beds, borders and flower beds by careful digging. We take the opportunity to remove pebbles, roots and unwanted grasses and to amend the soil.

This is the time to stock up on bags of soil, horn, horse manure so as not to run out for future plantings.

May in the garden: beware of still possible frosts

Even if you want to sow and plant everything, caution is required in many departments. You might as well not rush, especially north of the Loire, because in some years, the frosts in May are sometimes rather biting, which can be detrimental to young plants.

In the pleasure garden

You can start to sow annuals in the ground, such as:

  • Beautiful at night,
  • Zinnia,
  • Nasturtium
  • Queen Daisy,
  • Cosmos,
  • Worry,
  • Lavatère.

These are all plants that are popular with beneficial insects. They can therefore be installed in the immediate vicinity of the vegetable garden, and even at the start of the row or between the beds.

We also plant:

  • Agapanthus,
  • Snapdragon,
  • Sunflower,
  • Helleborine,
  • Clematis (some varieties are less cautious than others as is the case of viticella),
  • Lobelia,
  • Buttercup,
  • Verbena,
  • Bignone from Chile,
  • Sweet Pea,
  • Gladiolus,
  • Marigold,
  • Lilac…

These are just a few ideas, as there may be very many plant species to be installed during the day. They are chosen according to their needs when we can offer them the optimal conditions in terms of exposure. Do not hesitate to take a walk in the garden centers to choose from the hundreds of plants marketed in May and glean some very useful information based on your purchases.

This is also the time to start sunbathing ornamental plants in pots and to citrus stored under cover since last fall. But be careful, they are only taken out for a few hours a day, in the afternoon if the sun is shining and there is no cold wind. More ballast is possible in areas bordering the Mediterranean.

May is the perfect month for plant summer bulbs and divide the stumps like dahlias, arums, cannas. To advance their flowering, they can be placed in boxes of sand mixed with damp peat and kept for some time under cover.

Finally, we think of greening the terrace, window sills and / or balcony by preparing its planters, pots and suspensions. We plant there:

  • Geranium,
  • Pelargonium,
  • Impatiens,
  • Browallia,
  • Begonia bought in a cup,
  • Eyelet,
  • Petunia,
  • Brachycoma,
  • Plants with colored foliage (coleus, heuchera, etc.).

In the event of a cold snap, well-stocked planters and balconies can wait in the shelter.

In the vegetable garden

There are many vegetables to sow or plant in May.

Sow in place

  • Parsley,
  • Radish,
  • Turnip,
  • Carrot,
  • Beet,
  • Sprouts (Brussels, Milan, broccoli),
  • Chard,
  • Fennel,
  • Endive,
  • Bean,
  • Winter leek,
  • Bean (end of May, not before).

Sow in pots under shelter

  • Tomato,
  • Courgette,
  • Cucumber,
  • Squash,
  • Chive,
  • Mint,
  • Rosemary,
  • Basil.

These should be transplanted to the vegetable garden at the end of May, or even in June depending on the region since the weather is decisive for these chilly plants. In the meantime, we do not hesitate to adapt according to our geographical area of ​​residence by opting for seedlings in boxes or mini greenhouse rather than in place if severe frosts are still to be feared (Grand Est, high altitude area, etc.).

Plant or transplant after May 15th


In May, the new plants must be protected from the last frost but also from insect pests. To succeed in this tour de force chemical free, many gardeners ask insect nets on their crops in the vegetable garden and they are right. Thanks to their fine mesh, these nets are impenetrable. This prevents attacks (leek worm, onion fly, carrot fly, aphid, etc.). But since two precautions are better than one, do not hesitate to preventively treat thanks to a vaporization of nettle manure on vegetable plants.

As for novice gardeners who are anxiously waiting for the right time to create their vegetable garden and / or accreditation, they can finally get started by opting, the first year, for vegetables and flowering plants that are easy to grow. Spring in full swing, in May everything is allowed (or almost). In the vegetable garden, it is the full period for sowing the good vegetables that you want to harvest during the summer. Not all of them necessarily require a great knowledge of culture. But the ideal is to anticipate and therefore to have prepared the ground in April.