Gardening Tasks to Complete for UK Gardeners in May 

By  Enda

This is our May guide, that suggests which gardening tasks, you should consider doing in the month of May if you live in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

May is of course usually a sunny month for weather, and one thing is certain everything is starting to warm up. This is a time of great growth for all types of plants, shrubs and anything that lives in the garden.

The days are also much longer than any preceding months, and that of course means more sunlight which your garden will enjoy. There is still a small risk of frost, though for most gardeners this is a small risk.

The average daily temperature in the UK is around 15.5 degrees Celsius, so warm enough to establish and maintain growth.

If you live on lower ground, or have a garden with high trees or taller shrubs, then just be aware that with that type of garden, it is more prone to colder air and frost.

This is a great month for planting and transplanting.

growing in lillies in may

Again just be aware that there will still be light to heavy rainfall so plan your planting in those days where there is sunshine, and allow the rainy days to do the watering for you.

Again in the UK there will still be quite a few strong drying winds. 

What Gardening Tasks Should You Have in Your Plan?

There are some good general guidelines that I would like to offer for all gardeners in the month of May. I have listed these below, and I do hope that you find them very useful.


May is going to be the ideal month for moving seeds that have germinated indoors to the outside garden. Any plants that have been seeded inside the house or a greenhouse, should now be ready to go outside in late May.

Just keep a close eye on the weather forecast and make sure there are no frost forecasts.

Second Sowing

Most gardeners will have starting sowing in late March and during April. If you want to extend your season then now is a great month to make a second sowing. It is a great time to grow more salad crops especially.

The UK Flower Garden

growing flower bulbs in may

March and May is of course the best time to start planting. May is however a good month to make additional sowings of hardy annuals.

May is also a great month, and probably the best one, to spread out seedlings. Just make sure they are big enough and strong enough to move. If you have any seedlings in the greenhouse, then this is probably the best month to bring them out.

Just be sure that any risk of frost has gone. Ideally it is better when transplanting them to put them in a cold frame, as that is a more gentle introduction to the great outdoors. Not everyone will have those and they are more commonly used in the northern parts of the UK.

If you use a cold frame, then make sure to increase the ventilation over 2-3 weeks, and then they can be fully moved outdoors.

Other Tasks

This is a good month to snip off faded or damaged flower heads. You can also use any type of liquid fertiliser.

You can also replant indoor bulbs.

May is a month to lift and split early spring flowering plants such as primroses, cowslips and then replant those making sure to water them in.

This is the month when we recommend setting up your hanging baskets, containers and window boxes. You can of course clean and paint these before the planting. Having a small herb container can prove to be a very useful addition to any gardener.

The Vegetable Garden

growing vegetables in may

There are very few vegetables that you can grown in May. All of the beans such as French and runner beans are ideal to plant as are all of the pea family.

Beetroot can be grown as can turnip.

If your family enjoy salads, then this is a great time to grow radish, lettuce, onions etc.

All vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

In March and April most people may have sown carrots and onions, and if you have done that, then May is the month to separate and replant those.

The Fruit Garden

May is the month when all types of fruit trees and bushes are germinating, and the bees are very busy pollinating those. Avoid using any type of insecticide during this period.

Gather late apples at the pink bud stage. Now you may need to deal with some pests but these will be fungal sprays and you can apply those in May.

If you have gooseberries keep an eye out for fungus and spray if required. If you have any type of currant bushes then watch out for caterpillars.

Strawberries are prone to mildew so watch out for that.

May Garden Summary

As you can see there is plenty to be getting on with. This is the time, weather permitting, that I also like to do a general check for any plants being attacked by pests. 

If the weather gets bad, I do head into the shed or garage and do some basic maintenance on the lawnmower and my other gardening tools. I am not talking about spending hours here, but maybe an hour on a Sunday afternoon, you can certainly get a lot done.


I am someone who enjoys a little gardening. Now I am not someone who spend hours in the garden, but I do like both my front and back gardens to look really nice. Well kept lawns, neatly trimmed hedges, and borders filled with plants, make a huge difference, to how your property looks.

Enda McLarnon

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}