Spring Planting Guide: What to Plant in May

image by shore creative

From the looks of the parking lots at any of the local nurseries on the island, EVERYONE is working on their gardens during quarantine. More time at home means more time working on whatever outdoor space we have, and so I figured it was the perfect time to share a spring planting guide. Some of this is a bit location/climate specific (Northeast) but if you check out the plant hardiness zone map and your corresponding zone you can get a better idea of what works where you live.

I asked my resident plant gurus Kim and Chris of Greenlion for their advice and expertise on what to plant this time of year. They gave a very comprehensive list along with some ideas for companion planting (shown in the image above). If you’re local they offer garden consults to offer guidance for gardening, small space garden design and container garden installation. They are SO talented so if you are looking for someone to help you with your garden, definitely get in touch with Kim and Chris.
I added some of my favorites to the list from Kim & Chris including what we plant in our own garden. Make sure to pay attention to the timing of the last frost where you live. Sometimes here in New England we get a freeze in mid May so we always wait a little later to put plants in the ground (usually right around Memorial Day weekend to play it safe). The only thing on our agenda this holiday weekend is being outside in the garden! Check out my favorite gardening tools and accessories here and my guide to composting at home.

A few tips from Kim and Chris:

  • In May, tropicals and annuals need to wait until after danger of frost and evening temps are not dipping too low, its rare we get a frost in May but usually by mid-May we are safe as temps start to even out.
  • Make sure you find out if plants have been “hardened off” that you are purchasing.
  • Some additional companion planting ideas:
    • Roses – good companions or flower friends that help to hide their bare legs as they grow up include Nepeta, Alchemilla (lady’s mantle) and Lavender
    • Bee Balm looks great with Columbine
    • Tulips and Daffodils work great with Hostas and Iris
    • Coneflower and Yarrow are a magic pair

What to Plant in May


Flowering Viburnum (heavenly smell) 
Zinnias (great cut flower)
Flowering Basil
Salvia – (annual salvia’s are amazing and attract hummingbirds, fill patio pots with bright salvia to attract pollinators)
Clematis (be sure to shade the roots ) – We have the Montana variety growing up our pergola.
Peonies – One of my favorites for an early summer bloom




Mock Orange ( amazing fragrance) 
Blueberries – don’t want to net them? Let the birds enjoy them and encourage a living landscape that supports wildlife. 

Fruit & Vegetables

cucumbers – they can take up a lot of room in your garden so be careful with where you plant.
Summer Squash
Strawberries – our patch gets bigger every year and fresh strawberries are so good.

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  1. Rach wrote:

    Just like everyone else, I’ve been gardening! And omg this post is so helpful. I’m about to go out and buy more plants and flowers this weekend!


    5.22.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Ohhh sounds fun! Enjoy it. xx

      5.23.20 | Reply