Month to Month
What to do in May in the garden
May is a good time to finish up your spring projects in the garden and get ready for the summer heat. Pruning, deadheading, pinching back and planting are all on the to-do list.|
Prune back azaleas that have finished blooming with hedge shears to encourage blooms next year. Prune camellias if needed. Plants such as osteospermum (African daisy), chamelaucium (waxflower), jasminum polyanthum (pink jasmine), leptospemum (New Zealand tea tree) and wisteria should all be pruned back now to encourage a second wave of blooms.
Continue to deadhead perennials that are in bloom to prolong their cycle. Pinch back summer blooming perennials now to encourage compact growth and more blooms. Among plants to be pinched back include heliotrope, verbena, lantana, Achillea and phlox. Do not pinch back flowers that have only one flower per stalk, as a rule.
If you have been waiting to plant tropical plants, May is the month to start for optimum results. They will need water the first year, but many of them soon will become drought tolerant once established, such as bougainvillea and lantana. Of course there is still time to plant other perennials too.
Fertilize azaleas and camellias this month, as well as most other blooming plants. Top off with a deep layer of mulch to keep the soil cool and moist throughout the summer as well as discouraging weeds. Hand-pull weeds as they come up, keeping them from getting out of control.
Hose off aphids and whiteflies that are busy this time of year and consider introducing some good bugs and birds to the garden to give you a hand. Water in the mornings to discourage mildew.