Spring Planting Guide: What to Plant in May

Spring Planting Guide: What to Plant in May
image by shore creative

Happy Monday and month of May! I wanted to re-circulate this blog post from last year as we start to think about gardening again. We got a bit of an early start this year but stuck to pots for the time being since there’s always a small risk of a late season freeze. We plan on building 1-2 small raised beds for the summer to do a few veggies, but we have our CSA all summer so we plant mostly flowers, shrubs and herbs. It’s so nice to see some of our rose bushes and hydrangeas that we planted 2-3 years ago starting to really fill in. Looking forward to a summer of gardening and being outside every single chance we get. Let me know what your garden plans are for this year!

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. Some of this list 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 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). 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) 
  • Celosia
  • Geraniums
  • Begonias
  • Gomphrena
  • Nicotiana
  • Zinnias – Great cut flower
  • Foxglove
  • Flowering Basil
  • Salvia – Annual salvia’s are amazing and attract hummingbirds, fill patio pots with bright salvia to attract pollinators
  • Cosmos
  • Nepeta
  • Heuchera 
  • 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


  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Dill


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

Fruit & Vegetables

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers – they can take up a lot of room in your garden so be careful with where you plant.
  • Summer Squash
  • Peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • 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