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Southeast Regional Reports

Southeast: May Garden To-Do List | Regional Report

'Benary's Giant Purple' zinnia (Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Purple', annual). Plant your annuals now! Photo: Michelle Gervais

Plant summer annuals. Early in the month, pull out your pansies and plant summer annuals, whether in the ground or containers. Winter annuals may still look pretty good, but it won’t be long before the heat hits and they stretch. Moreover, your summer annuals need this time to grow roots before water demands become fierce.

Hold off on some veggies. Unless you are in a race for the first tomato on your block and plan to use heat-absorbers, wait two weeks past your last frost date to plant warm-weather vegetable plants.

Keep up with weeding. Photo: Michelle Gervais

Wait for warm soil. The same goes for planting annual or summer-blooming vines from seed—wait until May when the soil is warmer. You don’t gain anything by planting in cool soil, as the seeds will either delay germinating or will sprout and then pause growth until the temperatures rise.

Start the summer chores. The summer trio of watering, weeding, and scouting pests begins this month. At this point, watering should focus especially on anything planted in the last six months, making sure it has consistent and optimal moisture.

Regularly water new plantings. Photo: Paula Gross

Paula Gross is the former Assistant Director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens.

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