12 Delightful and Delicious Things to Plant in May

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Your hard work at the beginning of spring is paying off, with all sorts of gorgeous, colorful blooms thriving throughout your garden. Now it's time to up the ante by filling your outdoor space with a vibrant vegetable garden. Tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers are just a few of the delightful veggies we dream of as soon as September rolls around, and May is the perfect time to start planting (or transplanting) your favorites for a season full of hyper-local dining alfresco. And there are always perennial herbs to add throughout the season for an aromatic outdoor space—and kitchen. We've also added a few bold florals to add even more life to your garden this season so you'll never want to leave its resplendent beauty.


Beets are at their best from late spring to early summer, so May is actually a great time to plant these quick-growing root veggies if you live in Zones 3-10.

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fresh beetroots in wooden tray beet with leaves
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Plant melons in your garden now to enjoy the cool, crisp fruit during the dog days of summer. Don't forget to give watermelon, cantaloupe, and other melons enough room to spread out! Most need 3 to 4 feet of space per plant.

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While those in the deep south could start planting spring's most popular plant in March, May is the perfect time for anyone living in Hardiness Zones 3-10 to start growing their favorite tomato variety once free of lingering early- and mid-spring frosts. If you started growing tomatoes in March, now is a great time to transplant them and ensure they are growing in full sun for the ripest, juiciest tomatoes in the neighborhood.

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While asters may look delicate, they are actually very summer hardy and can handle some seriously hot temperatures. This is a great perennial flower to start planting in May for those living in Zones 3-9 if you haven't already. And who doesn't love a lavender bloom reminiscent of a favorite spot in Provence?

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If you've already planted or are preparing to plant tomatoes this year, you might as well plant some aromatic herbs, like basil, to go with all your Caprese salads and gazpachos this summer. May is an ideal month for those across the U.S. to plant any and all of your favorite annual and perennial herbs.

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green basil growing in raised beds in garden
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These vibrant beauties bring some sunshine to your garden and are perfect for growing in May, as they also thrive in full sun exposure. These annuals are an excellent low-maintenance plant for anyone living in Zones 2-11.

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close up of fresh orange flowers blooming in field
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Zucchini (And Other Types of Summer Squash)

Dreaming of a summer filled with ratatouille and tian? Now's the perfect time for those in Zones 3-10 to start planting zucchini and other summer squash varieties for an abundant bounty come July. (It's also a good time to transplant your eggplants somewhere sunny).

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It's high time to start making the most of the ever-warming weather and plant a few of your favorite tropical blooms. Hibiscus is a favorite option with a wide variety of beautiful colors and brings an exotic look to yards in Zones 6-11. These flowers just need plenty of space and water to truly thrive in a non-tropical climate. Chinese Hibiscus are especially useful for attracting bees and other pollinators.

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close up of red hibiscus blooming in park
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As a gardener, you're always thinking a season (or two) ahead, and now is a great time for those in Zones 3-10 to start growing pumpkins. Those in Zones 3-4 may want to wait until the middle or end of the month to make sure the last frost has come and gone.

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pumpkins in the field
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Lantana flowers are a popular choice for May planting, as they are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and will keep blooming all season long. These are best for those living in Zones 2-11 looking to enjoy a fun, multi-color pop in the garden.

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While cabbage is winter hardy, you may have brought your plants inside for the harshest weather of February and early March. May is an excellent time for those in Zones 3-10 to transplant your cabbage or start growing now for a later harvest. These beauties do best when planted near herbs like dill and rosemary.

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ready for harvest
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Purple Echinacea (Coneflower)

Purple echinacea, a type of coneflower, is a lovely addition to the summer garden, as it attracts pollinators such as birds and butterflies. Plus, it brings a beautiful and wild look to your outdoor space. Purple coneflowers are great option for those living in Zones 3-9 and just need ample space to spread out and grow!

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purple echinacea
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