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Your May Garden

Dwarf rhododendron ‘Winsome’ 

The last month of spring is already upon us, with our gardens now bursting full of colour and life. May is the month to plant summer-flowering perennials and shrubs, sow runner beans outdoors and really get your watering and weeding routine in place.

Read our guide to May gardening jobs to find out what to do now, what to plant this month and helpful gardening tips from our Hillier experts to keep your garden at its best.

What to Enjoy Now

Lavandula stoechas

Gardening is as much about appreciating the beautiful now as planning and planting for the future. Enjoy these plants in your garden and home this month:

Flowering Now

Great for Foliage and Structure


What to Plant Now

Vibrant alpine: Lithodora ‘Heavenly Blue’

With the weather getting warmer and risk of frost having passed, there is a lot that can be planted in both the flower and vegetable garden in May.

What to Plant for Instant Impact

Gardening is often about the patient process of growing from seed, bulb or small plant and nurturing it over time. If you want to balance this out with immediate colour, foliage and scale in your garden, you can always find larger plants and those in bloom right now for instant impact.

Simply browse the ‘flowering now’ list above. Many of these plants will be available from the Garden Centre for immediate enjoyment and, once planted, should continue to develop year after year.

What to Plant for Future Interest

Hillier Tip: Both 9cm and 1litre herbaceous plants are a cost-effective way to add summer colour to your garden

Grow Your Own

Nutritious spinach

In May, everything from fruit, vegetables and salad crops, to lawns, flowers and unfortunately weeds, will be in vigorous growing mode. It isn’t too late to sow some vegetable seeds if you haven’t yet — there is plenty of time to grow your own food. Read more about growing this month in our May Guide to ‘Grow Your Own’.

Sow Indoors

Hardening Off

Sow Outdoors

Hillier tip: These climbers will need a support to grow up and a wigwam is a simple and attractive solution. Simply place three to four bamboo canes into the ground and tie together at the top. Sow the seeds around each cane at the base – you will only need a single seed at the base of each cane for climbing runner and French beans.

Harvest Now

Hillier tip: See the planting and harvesting times for many of our most loved vegetable and salad plants in our Seed Sowing Calendar.

Other Grow Your Own Activities

Hillier tip: Planting marigolds in your vegetable patch can deter whitefly and also attract ladybirds, which will help to control aphids. They also emit a substance from the roots that deters nematode worms in the soil. Plant nasturtiums alongside your brassicas to attract cabbage white butterflies away from your precious greens. Plant pungent vegetables, such as onions, garlic or chives next to your carrots to deter carrot fly.  

What to Do in the Garden

As the weather and soil warms, there are more and more enjoyable activities to do in the garden in May.

Plants to Prune

Hillier tip: When deadheading spring bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, leave the foliage in place as this will feed the bulbs for the next year

Plants to Feed

Hillier tip: High potash feeds are also ideal for tomatoes and fruit trees as they promote strong fruit production and increased sugar levels, meaning higher yields and sweeter fruit.

Plants to Protect

Lawncare & Gardencare

Hillier tip: An all in one lawn product will feed, weed and kill moss. Alternatively, natural products like MO Bacter kill moss and then digest it, turning it into feed for your lawn – and with no need to rake!

Hillier tip: Always make sure you water at the base of the plant so it reaches the roots. When watering, let the water sink down into the soil then repeat two or three times until the water no longer goes down quickly

Birds and Wildlife

Spring is the key breeding season for birds, which means a change in their care and food needs. Migratory birds will be arriving back and will need feeds that are high in protein and essential oils to refuel their bodies after the long flight.

Monthly Tool Checklist

Some of the essential garden tools and products we recommend to have ready in your shed.

For planting:

For earthing up potatoes:

For sowing outdoors:

For pruning:

For lawncare: