May Gardening Checklist

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 07/07/24 •  7 min read

Gardeners, it’s time to test your mettle. If temperatures are cooperating, the merry, merry month of May may be your busiest until September, with planning, planting and patio projects to lead the way into summer.

Don’t be fooled by a late frost: Find out the mean freeze date in your area, and be sure soil is warm and workable — not too wet, not too dry — before putting tender plants in the ground.


Get those showy summer sprays of color started by planting bulbs of dahlia, lily, tuberous begonia and gladiolus.

Plant a few “gladdie” corms every week from now until early July for continuous summer cuttings.


Early in the month, get a jump on flower planting with hardy annuals such as dianthus, petunias, snapdragons and pansies.


As the shoots of your old friends start peeking up through the soil, give them a light dose of fertilizer. Then head for the nursery to start selecting this season’s new perennials, many of which can be planted now if you’re sure Jack Frost has left town.

Lawn Care

If you haven’t done so already, assess the needs of your lawn now.


As you’re planting your vegetable garden, consider planting times as well as plant compatibility.


Shop for new plants as well as replacements of plants that didn’t make it through the winter, then transplant them when the soil warms up to 60 degrees.


Pruning needs vary by climate zones.


In many areas, weeds have already begun flowering and seeding all that rich soil you’ve prepared so carefully.


Fertilizer is your garden’s friend. Don’t neglect to feed your little green ones.

Pest Control

The slugs crawl in, the slugs crawl out … and so do all those other persistent garden pests.

Preparing your Patio

If you’re expecting a warm Memorial Day weekend, early May is a great time to get your patio picture-perfect for entertaining.

There’s still plenty of time before summer for bigger projects: Add a flagstone path, create a water element, build a wraparound bench, or add a stone or rail enclosure around your deck or patio.

Almost June? Just Want to Keep Going?

Don’t worry, we’ve got a fresh checklist for you of the many June gardening tasks too, jump over to our June Gardening Checklist now!


At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.