Which flowers & vegetables to plant in May

Written by Andrew Hampson

With the worst of the weather behind us, avid gardeners up and down the country can look forward to adding some variation to their plot for the summer by introducing a number of new plants.

Whether you aim to introduce a little colour to your cosy corner of the world through the use of flowers, or fancy complementing your already varied grounds with some added vegetation, here’s a collection of plants that you can confidently include in your ensemble.


Perennial flowers love to be planted in early May, when the cooler temperatures allow them to flourish – but you can also add a number of spring flowering bulbs to really enhance your collection.


Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.)

A popular and unapologetically dramatic flower that can germinate within a week, and grow to full maturity by late August. Growing to 4-5ft. tall, sunflowers can get quite thirsty during dry spells, so let’s hope the usual hosepipe ban is taking a break this year.

Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)

A member of the Aster family, marigolds are never happier than when they are placed in direct sunlight. With the ability to grow almost 2/3 metre high, the flower works best as a bedding or border flower, or as a pest deterrent for vegetable plots. So if you’re wondering what to plant in May, this could be a winner.

Zinnias (Zinnia violacea)

Preferring not to be transplanted, zinnias are best sowed in-situ. Producing bright petals by early July, the flower is known for attracting butterflies and staying in bloom until early autumn. With expansive roots for their size, it’s best practice to plant them with a little space in between to ensure they get the nutrients they need to grow strong.

Salvias (Salvia officinalis L.)

A member of the mint family, salvias come in a variety of colours and work wonders as a bedding plant. Growing up to 30cm in height, salvias are best left to germinate in the shade before being transplanted to their respective destinations. This makes them a great option for what to plant in May.


Spring greens are a popular choice for those who wish to add a little practicality to their garden. While root vegetables are little hardier with regards to the weather – now that summer is on its way, a few more options become available.

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitate)

An easy vegetable to grow, the cabbage family is a great addition to both the garden and kitchen. While they are reliable once planted, they can be susceptible to the caterpillars that hatch from the eggs of the cabbage white butterfly, so be sure to place a net around them early to keep them safe.


Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)

Growing to almost a metre high, the broccoli plant is another easy-planter that has been cultivated since the 16th century. An early spring sowing can easily lead to a fantastic autumn crop. The vegetable is ideal for the British climate as it tends to fare less well in temperatures above 23° C due to pest infestations.

Rocket (Eruca sativa)

Thanks to diversified menus around the country, rocket, or arugula is an excellent edible plant that has been used in the Mediterranean since Roman times. Thanks to its willingness to grow in dryer conditions, rocket can often be left to its own devises and will reliably provide several crops before winter sets in.

Sweetcorn (Zea mays L.)

Thanks to early-crop strains, many varieties of sweetcorn are an ideal choice for what to plant in May. Providing between 10-18 cobs per plants, many strains are solid performers during the British summer but do require free draining soil to remain healthy.

Just remember, different plants have different needs and require consistent levels of monitoring throughout the season to ensure they reach maturity healthy and unaffected by pests. But as an inexpensive way to bring your garden to life, you can reap the aesthetic rewards as well as providing yourself with some greens for a nice home-cooked meal.

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