If you missed your opportunity to plant your springtime bulbs, don’t fret– there are still plenty of flowers to plant in May! While some of these flowers are only annuals, this springtime month is perfect for bringing some color to your backyard. And this color typically lasts all summer long, making these options worth considering!
Some of the best flowers to plant in May can be grown directly from seed, including poppies, lantana, and sunflowers. Other choices do best when purchased as established plants, such as marigolds or hibiscus plants. However, some flowers planted during this month come back year after year, such as lavender and catmint. It all depends on what you are looking for. Just make sure to pay attention to your Hardiness Zone and local temperatures!
Now’s the time to get going in the garden, whether you plan on growing any vegetables or not. Flowers are a great place to start in the garden, especially if you’re new to planting and growing things. If you simply want to update your landscaping and curb appeal, check out some of these fantastic flower options that grow best when planted in May!
The 13 Best Flowers to Plant in May
Knowing your Hardiness Zone and the position of the sun for where you want to plant your flowers is key to gardening success. Most flowers need full sunshine to produce big blooms, but too much heat can cause your petals to wilt. However, many of the options on this list thrive easily and grow well with little care, making your life easier! It all depends on your yard, the type of flower you are hoping for, and the weather. Timing is everything when it comes to gardening, but practice makes perfect!
While there are plenty more flowers to plant in May than this list can cover, here are 13 options to try now.
Growing from rhizomes, calla lilies do best in full sunlight or partial shade, depending on how hot your summers get. Before planting, ensure that your soil temperatures are over 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you choose to grow your calla lilies in a container, this is a good option given the fact that you can bring them indoors during wintertime. For the most part, calla lilies are very easy to care for and simply require regular watering and fertilizing, but can otherwise be left alone.
Another plant that is best left alone has to be catmint. This catnip relative does best in full sunshine and is safe to plant in most Zones during the month of May. Producing attractive dark foliage and delicate pink or purple flowers that look like lavender, catmint grows quickly and thrives in both drought conditions and chilly temperatures. It is one of the easiest plants to grow on this list (though there are a few great options!). Remember that this catnip relative will indeed attract cats, so keep this in mind if you don’t want a friendly feline visiting your yard!
If you are a beginner gardener, zinnias are a great place to start. Make sure that all frost dates have passed in your local area before you plant zinnia seeds. Otherwise, this is your primary concern when it comes to caring for zinnia flowers. You can find zinnias in countless cultivars, colors, and sizes. They do best in full sunlight and breezy locations, as circulated air helps them avoid most diseases. Sow these seeds directly where you want them to grow, thinning the seedlings as they sprout. Planting them near your veggie garden may help bring pollinators to your crops!
If you don’t already have a lavender bush on your property, now is the time to plant one! Most lavender varieties grow in a similar way, with French and English lavender among the most popular choices. Like almost all flowers, plant your lavender shrub in full sunshine, but make sure that the soil is well draining. Overwatering and root rot are the primary killers of lavender plants, but this flower is otherwise easy to care for. Prune it back in fall or spring, whenever its fragrant flowers have died. This will also help you avoid a woody, dried-out appearance.
Depending on where you live, peonies can be planted during the month of May so long as temperatures remain cool. However, there are so many different varieties of peonies that you are likely to find one that works well in your Zone. Most peonies are hardy in Zones 3 through 8. Keep in mind that your springtime-planted peonies may need a year to get established before they produce beautiful blooms. However, peonies are one of the longest-living flowers found around the world, producing fantastic blooms for decades and decades!
Whether you purchase marigolds as established seedlings or from seed, this flower grows easily and prolifically. Preferring full sunshine, marigolds thrive throughout the summertime, producing more flowers if you cut them back mid-season. Growing them from seed is just as easy as transplanting established plants. Just make sure your soil has some nutritional value to it and water your marigolds from the base of the plant rather than overhead to avoid mildew.
There are a number of different types of aster flowers to consider planting, but make sure to plant according to your region. Daisy-like and found in colors ranging from white to purple, asters do best when planted long after all frost nights have passed. These flowers bloom in mid to late summer and offer you a later growing season than most other flowers on this list. Plus, they are a perennial that readily reseeds, giving you asters for years to come! Just make sure to plant them in full sun and prune them as the flowers die for best results.
You can grow begonias in partial shade, especially if you live in a particularly warm region. With countless varieties and plenty of colors, begonias are one of the most versatile flowers to consider planting in the month of May. You can grow them in containers, hanging planters, garden beds, and more. Make sure that your soil is well draining and nutritious, as begonias suffer most of all from root rot. Otherwise, this flower is beautiful and readily comes back year after year with proper care.
A fantastic flower for attracting pollinators, particularly butterflies, lantana is easily grown from seed or established plants in your garden. This flowering shrub is a perennial when grown in Zones 8 through 11, preferring full sunshine and soil that dries out in between waterings. You can find lantana plants in a number of colors, with some bushes offering multiple shades in a single plant. This is another great flower for beginners, as it is extremely forgiving so long as you don’t overwater it!
Knowing your region and the type of hibiscus plant you want are key to the success of this particular flower. Largely considered a tropical plant, hibiscus trees are available in hardier varieties, with some options capable of withstanding colder temperatures. However, hibiscus flowers prefer full sunlight and moist soil, though too much sunlight may cause these delicate flowers to wilt. This is definitely not a plant to give to a beginner, but these beautiful flowers are unlike any others when properly cared for!
Did you know that some sunflower varieties reach nearly 10 ft tall? No matter the type of sunflower you choose, their care is in their name: plant them in full sunshine! These beauties thrive in full sunshine and soil temperatures above 50° Fahrenheit. They also do best when grown directly from seed rather than from established plants. Attractive to pollinators, birds, and other critters, sunflowers turn their heads to follow the sun. You can harvest these easy-to-grow flowers at the end of their season for their heads full of seeds!
While these flowers need full sunshine, it’s important to plant your morning glories carefully. This vining annual can easily take over any garden it is planted in, which is why it is wise to train it on a trellis or archway. Available in a few select colors, morning glories attract plenty of pollinators and grow quickly. They are frost sensitive, so make sure to sow these seeds directly into your soil once all cold snaps have passed! Given their vining nature, some morning glories are considered invasive, so check your local area before planting.
If you are looking for one more flower that is easily sown from seed, poppies are a great choice for the month of May. From gorgeous red poppies to petite California poppies, this wildflower readily reseeds and comes back year after year if left unattended. They thrive in full sunlight like many other flowers, but poppies are generally capable of growing in most soil conditions. These seeds do best when sown directly on the surface of the soil. However, keep in mind that the wind may carry your poppy seeds throughout your entire garden if you aren’t careful!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © larisa Stefanjuk/Shutterstock.com
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