The 10 Best Flowers to Plant in May

Planting Flowers

It’s that time of year again, spring. For many it’s a time to enjoy kite flying, dusting off the old bike and engage in some old-fashioned spring cleaning. However, for most people, spring means cracking open the old garden shed door, and breaking out the gardening tools, gloves and plants. When it comes time to plant, May is the preferred time, as that is usually when the last frost has come and gone. A lot of thought goes into planting, and knowing the best flowers to plant in May can be a tricky thing. After all, there are annuals, perennials, bulbs and so on, so what do you choose, especially if you are a beginner? Here’s where we can give you a hand. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best flowers to plant in May which are hardy, strong and beautiful–perfect for beginners or those with “brown” thumbs.

10. Japanese Wisteria the Shiro Noda (Wisteria floribunda)

The lovely Shiro Noda originated in Japan and is a treat for any garden landscape. Known for its fragrance the Shiro Noda fits under the category of climber and requires full sun to partial shade to survive. The Shiro Noda is capable of climbing a total of 30 to 40 feet and belongs to the USDA hardiness zones 5a to 8b. The soil needs to be moist and well-drained, with a neutral pH of 6.6 to 7.5. Its white blooms are absolutely magnificent and serve to attract birds, bees and even butterflies to your garden.

9. Lavender (Lavendula spp.)

Lavender is one of the most loved flowers both for it’s fragile beauty and fresh scent. This lovely herbaceous perennial flower serves as both an accent plant in a garden of roses or other plants, or a stand alone. However, know that lavender is considered a toxic flower for dogs and cats. The Lavender is native to Europe yet flourishes in the U.S. under the right conditions. These conditions include exposure to full sun, dry and alkaline soil, with a USDA hardiness zone of 5a to 9a. Another tidbit is that deer avoid Lavender plants, so can be used as a deterrent.

8. Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

The Hibiscus is considered a perennial and annual herbaceous plant. There are over 200 varieties of this lovely flower from which to choose. Perfect conditions for the Hibiscus include full sun or partial shade, acidic/neutral moist , loamy soil. Expect to experience their lovely blooms in the summer and fall. However, if you reside in more tropical zones, they can and do bloom all year. As for colors, you can expect anything from orange, pink, yellow, red or white. The USDA hardiness zones are 5 to 11. As a final note if you reside in an area which has snowy winters you can actually bring your plant indoors.

7. Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

If you’re looking for a flower that says “summer”, then the sunflower is your best bet. Plant them in May, and they can bloom until early fall if conditions are right. These are hardy flowers and so are perfect for beginning gardeners. Depending on the variety, sunflowers can grow as tall as 10 feet. As for care, they need full sun, well-drained and moist soil. As for the soil quality, know that the sunflower can grow in almost any type of soil, from poor to nutrient dense, but does prefer nitrogen rich soil USDA hardiness zones are 2 through 11. Native to North America, sunflowers provide tasty seeds for you as well as local wildlife, and will definitely bring birds, squirrels, bunnies and more to your property.

6. Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum)

The rhododendron is a sight to behold. These perennials can reach a height of 25 feet if conditions are right, you heard that right, 25 feet! With respect to conditions, it can surprise many new gardeners that a plant which can grow up to 25 feet doesn’t require nutrient dense soil. Instead, they prefer acidic, low nutrient dense soil. However, it does require plenty of water and sunlight. USDA hardiness zones are 4 through 8. Colors are lively pinks and purples. A word about toxicity, know that these plants are toxic to both animals and people, so take care.

5. Asters (Symphyotrichum)

This North American perennial is commonly seen in many gardens across the U.S. A hardy, late bloomer, the aster keeps gardens looking colorful and fresh well into the fall months. These late bloomers relish full sun exposure and with the proper conditions and care, will provide you with many years of beauty. In order to thrive, asters require moist, well-drained, loamy and neutral to acidic soil. USDA hardiness zones are 3, 6, 7, and 8. Colors for the aster are white, purple, blue and pink.

4. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

This hardy herbaceous perennial is a great choice for beginning gardeners. It’s a tough, drought resistant plant that can reach heights of 2 to 5 feet. This native American plant takes a while to mature, so it’s best to purchase a plant from a nursery in order to experience blooms quickly. Growing conditions for the coneflower include well-drained, neutral to acidic soil, and full to partial sun. Colors include purple and pink. USDA hardiness zones are 3 through 8. Not only are coneflowers lovely to look at, but their nectar will help to attract humming birds, bees and butterflies to your garden.

3. Petunia (Petunia spp.)

This fast blooming annual is an absolute favorite with gardeners due to its versatility. In other words, the petunia is completely at home in a hanging basket, raised flower bed or used for a colorful border. This hardy and colorful flower requires full sun to thrive and moist, well-drained soil with an acidic pH. This South American plant comes in purple, yellow, orange, white, green, pink and is listed for USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11. Petunias are fast bloomers, so remember to remove the heads of the wilted blooms to increase the overall proliferation of blooms for each plant.

2. Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)

If you’re an unsure newbie to the world of gardening or someone who just doesn’t have a green thumb, fear not, for the sturdy marigold will save you, The marigold is known as one of the most hardy of outdoor flowers and is a great choice for beginning gardeners. These annuals come in many varieties, each with their own features. Marigolds grow quickly and require exposure to full sun. Soil conditions should be moist, well-drained and have a pH factor of acid to neutral. USDA hardiness zones include 2 through 11. Colors of this flower include yellow, red, orange, gold or white.

1. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragons can be considered one of the best flowers for beginning gardeners. With their unusual dragon like blooms, stacked one atop another these bumblebee friendly blooms come in many varieties with some reaching a height of four feet! This herbaceous perennial requires a sunny location with well fertilized, moist slightly acidic soil. As for colors, Snapdragons can range from white, pink, yellow, orange, peach, red, purple or violet. Originally found in the Mediterranean, Turkey or Syria they grow well in North America and have a USDA hardiness zone of 7 to 11.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best flowers to plant in May. We were sure to include flowers that were low maintenance hardy and easy to find at stores or local nurseries. By selecting flowers such as marigolds, petunias and sunflowers you can single-handedly build up a splendid garden in your very own yard. As always, read up on the care and maintenance of each plant, making sure it has adequate fertilizer, sunlight and water. If you’ve some time and energy left over, why not consider adding a birdbath, outdoor lighting or rock garden as well?

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