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Best Flowers & Veggies to Plant in May (2023)

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plants to plant in mayAs night sunflowers follow the sun, start May with succession plantings of powerhouse veggies and flowers. Scatter lettuce and radish seeds in the garden on a 3-week rotation to enjoy a continuous supply of crunchy salad mix ins.

Those in Zones 3-10 can plant beans and squash now for a bountiful July harvest. Transplant hardened off eggplant and tomato seedlings into your sunny veggie plot and watch them thrive.

Follow their lead with quick-growing zinnias and sunflowers to attract pollinators. Care for your May plantings with well-researched expertise. Stay ahead of the weeds and keep your soil moist, not soggy.

Soon your May garden will overflow with veggies, herbs and flowers to share. Let me know if you have any other planting questions this month! I’m happy to help you grow a thriving May garden.

Key Takeaways

  • Sow bean, squash, and cucumber seeds directly in the garden after the last frost when soil temperatures reach 65°F or higher.
  • Transplant heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants outdoors after hardening off when the soil has warmed to 55-65°F.
  • Succession plant lettuce and radish seeds every 2-3 weeks for steady harvests.
  • Sow zinnia and sunflower seeds where they are to grow after the last spring frost.

Warm Weather Crops

Warm Weather Crops
You’ll want to get beans, squash, and cucumbers in the ground once the soil has warmed up. Sow bush or pole bean varieties every 7-10 days for a continuous harvest all summer long. Plant summer squash and cucumbers from seed or transplants after the last frost, spacing them at least 18-24 inches apart in rows or raised beds.

Water deeply and use mulch to conserve moisture. With a little planning, you’ll harvest an abundance of tasty veggies within a couple of months.


You’ll adore runner and Kentucky Wonder beans for their delicious taste and ability to grow steadily with proper care. These climbing beans thrive in warm weather and need a trellis or pole to wrap around.

Plant seeds 1-2 inches deep and 5-6 inches apart when soil reaches 65°F, ideally in sunny locations. Keep soil moist until germination in 5-14 days. Once sprouted, water at soil level to avoid foliar disease.

Pick beans regularly once pods form to encourage production. Both bush and pole beans grow well together with cucumbers, melons, squash, and pumpkins.

With proper sun, water, and care, beans will reward you with a hearty harvest.


Early Prolific Straightneck squash will quickly take over your garden with vigorous vines when planted in warm soil. As a member of the squash family, this heat-loving plant thrives when sown after frost danger has passed.

Though technically a fruit, squash is cultivated like other warm-season crops that require full sun and nutrient-rich earth to reach maturity. For optimal growth, sow seeds 1 inch deep, 6 inches apart once temperatures exceed 65F.

Don’t let young plants dry out since consistent moisture boosts fruit production. Harvest squash when skins feel firm yet tender. With attentive care, your Early Prolific Straightneck vines will yield abundant sunny squash all season long.



Spacemaster 80 cucumbers are perfect for your small garden. These compact cucumber vines produce high yields without overwhelming limited space. Sow seeds 1 inch deep and thin to 1 plant per 12 inches once seedlings emerge. To support vigorous growth, side dress with compost and keep the soil consistently moist.

For best fruit set, hand pollinate flowers daily. Harvest the cucumbers when the skins feel firm and the seeds are small. With minimal space requirements, Spacemaster 80 cucumbers let you enjoy homegrown cucumbers even in urban gardens.

Transplant Seedlings

Transplant Seedlings
Start eggplants indoors 8-10 weeks before your last expected frost date, then transplant them out when soil temperatures reach at least 55°F. For a fall harvest of brussels sprouts, sow seeds indoors 4-5 weeks before your last spring frost date, then transplant the seedlings to the garden in midsummer.

When transplanting seedlings, be sure to harden them off first, bury their stems deeper than they grew in the flats, and water in wells around the new transplants to reduce transplant shock.


You’d better transplant eggplants after the last frost when the soil’s warmed to 55°F, or those finicky fruits will sulk in place like wallflowers at a barn dance.

Start with dark black beauty, dwarf fairy tale or long and lavender orient express varieties.

Harden off plants for 10-14 days before transplanting into warm soil.

Space 18-24 inches apart in full sun. Eggplants are heat-loving veggies.

Apply mulch to retain moisture and heat. Consistent irrigation prevents bitter fruits.

Eggplant transplants grow best when nighttime temperatures stay above 55 degrees. A soil thermometer helps monitor if the earth is warm enough for these tropical natives. Eggplants need at least 3 months of hot summer weather to reach harvest. Be patient, provide plentiful sunshine and rich soil, and you’ll be rewarded with abundant, glossy eggplants.

Brussels Sprouts

You’ll wanna start Brussels sprouts indoors now for transplantin’ later this summer so you’ll get a fall harvest of those cute little cabbage-like buttons.

These cold-hardy veggies need a long growin’ season, so start seeds indoors 10-12 weeks before your last spring frost date. Use seed trays and plantin’ mix, keepin’ soil moist and sprouts in full sun. Harden off seedlings before transplantin’ in midsummer, once daytime highs are reliably 80°F plus.

Give sprouts rich soil and space 2 feet apart. Side dress with compost or fertilizer every 3-4 weeks. Keep soil moist, especially durin’ head formation. Harvest from ground level when lower sprouts are 1-2 inches wide.

A light frost brings out the sweetness! With the right timin’ and care, you’ll be rewarded with a hearty fall crop of sweet little Brussels sprouts.

Successive Plantings

Successive Plantings
Whether you’re looking for a steady supply of salad greens or a season of crisp radishes, successive sowing is the secret to keeping your harvest coming. To enjoy fresh lettuce for months, sow new seeds every 2 weeks until 8 weeks before your area’s average last spring frost date.

Choose heat-resistant lettuces like oakleaf, romaine, and red sail to plant through early summer.

For a nonstop radish supply, sow small sections every 3 weeks so you’re always harvesting the spicy roots. With proper timing and consistent sowing, you’ll never be without these cool weather staples.

Start seeds 1⁄4 inch deep and thin young plants to 2-3 inches apart. With the right know-how, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown lettuce and radishes all season long.


You’re wise to sow lettuce every 2 weeks until 8 weeks before summer’s heat arrives, ensuring a steady supply of crisp greens.

  • Sow lettuce seeds 1/4 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart in rows or wide rows, thinning gradually to 8 to 12 inches between plants.
  • Choose looseleaf and oakleaf varieties that tolerate heat better than heading types.
  • Lettuce prefers soil pH between 6.0 and 6n8. Mix in compost or aged manure before planting.
  • Provide consistent moisture. Drought causes bitter, tough leaves.

Lettuce and other tender annuals relish cool weather. Succession sowing ensures a constant harvest of sweet greens before summer’s heat triggers bolting. Staggering lettuce plantings prevents gaps in your salad bowl. With attentive yet relaxed care, you’ll enjoy the steady crunch of homegrown lettuce from spring through early summer.


Sow radishes every 3 weeks for a steady crunch of spicy roots through spring’s finale. These speedy cool-season annuals flourish in the moderately cool temperatures of springtime. For best germination, sow seeds 1⁄2 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows or wide bands.

Thin gradually to 2-4 inches between plants. Radishes relish moist, fertile soil with a pH around 6.

Consistent moisture ensures fast growth and mild flavor. Drought brings hot, pithy roots. Sow short-maturing varieties like ‘Cherry Belle’ and ‘Champion’ alongside slower ‘Watermelon’ and ‘Black Spanish’ types for ongoing harvests.

Interplant quick-growing radishes among slower veggies like carrots, beets, and parsnips.

Radishes and other frost-hardy plants like lettuce, spinach and green onions welcome spring’s lingering chills after frost sensitive basil seedlings, beans, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini bide their time.

With attentive yet relaxed care, a small garden patch produces abundant spicy roots to grace your table.

Flowering Plants

Flowering Plants
When May arrives, it’s time to get those flowering annuals in the ground for a gorgeous summer display. Two sun-loving favorites to plant after the last frost are zinnias and sunflowers. With their bright colors and easy care, these cheerful bloomers will quickly fill your garden with life.

Zinnias come in almost every shade imaginable, from bold reds to pastel yellows, and make excellent cut flowers.

Sunflowers range from stately giants with massive seed heads to cute little varieties perfect for containers.

For vibrant color through fall’s first frost, you can’t go wrong adding these classic annuals to beds, borders, and planters.

Now let’s explore the best varieties to grow this season.


Zinnias burst in cheerful summer color, grow easily from seed, and attract butterflies to the garden. These summer-blooming beauties are some of the most rewarding flowers for hot weather.

Here are 5 tips for success with zinnias:

  1. Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost.
  2. Transplant seedlings when the soil reaches 65°F. Space 9-12 apart.
  3. Grow in full sun. At least 6 hours of direct sunlight keeps them blooming.
  4. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid wet feet.
  5. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage more flowers.

With their diversity of colors and sizes, zinnias bring joy to your garden from summer through fall. These easy keepers reward gardeners with armloads of cut flowers and a butterfly bonanza.


Towering sunflowers make your garden a sunny spectacle. These tender perennials sprout in early spring once frost danger’s passed. Sow seeds directly in garden soil after last frost. Space 18-24 inches apart in full sun.

Sunflowers thrive in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Water new plants regularly until established. Wait to fertilize until flowers form to avoid leggy growth. Stake tall varieties like Moulin Rouge and Sunzilla.

When blooms fade, enjoy tasty seeds or leave for birds. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom. These late bloomers flower summer through fall. With multiple sizes and colors, sunflowers radiate joy.

Variety Height Color Days to Bloom
Moulin Rouge 8 ft Deep red 90 days
Sunzilla 12 ft Yellow with brown center 85 days
Sundance Kid 6 ft Yellow 75 days
Chocolate Cherry 5 ft Mahogany 60 days

Garden Tools

Garden Tools
You’re gonna dig those new garden tools to loosen up the earth. Nothing quite compares to the feel of a sturdy, high-quality tool in your hands as you cultivate the soil and nurture your plants.

The right implements empower you to efficiently and effectively prepare beds, plant, prune, weed, and harvest. With so many options available, select equipment that matches your needs and gardening style.

Look for ergonomic handles providing comfortable grips that prevent blisters. Lightweight carbon steel or aluminum alloy heads withstand pressure yet minimize arm strain.

Invest in essentials like a rounded trowel for digging holes and a cultivator or hand fork for turning over the top layer of soil. Pruning shears easily trim errant branches and deadhead spent blooms. A soil thermometer takes the guesswork out of when to plant delicate flowers and herbs like thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, and lavender.

Durable canvas knee pads cushion joints against the hard ground. And a perfectly sized watering can ensures you distribute just the right amount of moisture directly to each plant’s roots.

Take time to care for your tools by cleaning after each use and storing properly during winter. With the right high-quality, long-lasting implements, you’ll have everything needed to nurture a thriving, productive garden for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some good companion plants to grow alongside the plants mentioned?

Wonderful marigolds deter pests while pretty nasturtiums lure in beneficial insects. Sturdy tomatoes stabilize climbing beans. Fragrant herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme enhance flavor and repel harmful insects.

The right companion plants nurture growth and keep your garden thriving by deterring pests, attracting beneficial insects, providing physical support, and repelling harmful insects through their aromas.

Pairing compatible plants together creates a healthy ecosystem where each plant helps its neighbors thrive.

How often should I water the plants after transplanting or sowing seeds?

You’ll need to water transplants and seedlings frequently to keep their root zone moist, but not soaked. Gently saturate the soil, then let it partly dry before soaking thoroughly again. This encourages steady root growth into the surrounding earth. Monitor the soil daily and water when the top few inches become dry.

What pests and diseases commonly affect these plants, and how can they be prevented or treated?

Scout regularly and identify issues early. Use row covers as a barrier against insects. Manually pick insects off plants or apply insecticidal soap as needed. Rotate crops annually to break disease cycles.

Water at the base of plants to discourage fungal problems. Use organic fungicides such as neem oil to deter powdery mildew. Maintain proper air flow and promptly harvest diseased plants to prevent spreading.

When and how much should I fertilize the plants for optimal growth?

Feed vegetables monthly with balanced organic fertilizer. Use half-strength doses. Tomatoes may need extra phosphorus. Avoid over-fertilizing, which causes excessive foliage. Follow label directions carefully. Fertilize when plants are dry to prevent burning.

What are the best ways to stake or trellis vining plants like beans and cucumbers?

Use trellises, cages, poles, or tees to provide vertical support for runners, climbers, and creepers. Guide growth upward early on. Secure stems loosely to leave room to grow. Check ties regularly as fruits swell.


Nurturing nature’s new growth requires your observant optimization of opportune growing conditions. As May’s warmer winds whisper awakening, wisely work within each warming week to welcome weather-worthy vegetables, vivacious vines, and vibrant blooms.

Through transplanting thriving sprouts, sowing seeds for successive harvests, and fussing over favored flowers, your thoughtful tending transforms spring’s preserved promise of fertile seeds into this month’s prolific plantings.

With diligent cultivation, your garden gifts greater abundance when graced with the right plants to plant in May.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.