May Gardening Activities - Region 6
Gardening Tips for May
Tropical and Sub-Tropical Gardens
States in the region:
Hawaii, Florida (Southern), Texas (Southern), Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
and other U.S. Territories
Key Issues for May
- Grow your own edibles and teach your children, grandchildren and other young sprouts where their food comes from through Growums®. The delightful Growums characters will help you every step of the way toward delicious success and FUN!
- Inspect any damaged areas in your St. Augustine grass. If you start to notice patches of brownish or withered turf that begin as small spots but enlarge quickly, you may have a case of Southern chinch bugs.
- Attract beneficial insects to the garden. Using nature to its best advantage when battling insect pests is an environmentally friendly way to help control unwanted visitors that can plague your plants and ruin your “perfect garden” dream.
- Pace yourself when working in the garden – temperatures are starting to rise! Avoid heat-related illness by taking care of yourself. If you start to feel lightheaded in the heat, sit down and rest in the shade or indoors where it’s cool, and drink plenty of hydrating fluids.
- Install an automatic irrigation system for your plants and lawn, especially if you live in a low-rainfall area, travel frequently or have limited time to water regularly.
- Be on the lookout for black spot, a devastating fungus on roses, especially when humidity increases. Irrigating plants directly at the soil and keeping the leaves dry when watering can help avoid the problem.
- Put away the saltshaker and spice up your cooking with summer-loving herbs. Cilantro is an essential ingredient in international cuisine. [Rosemary] (/plants/rosmarinus-officinalis/) is great for recipe seasoning, infusing oils and spicing up potpourri. And what would many of our favorite foods be without basil?
- Remember that gardening is for kids, too! Encourage your budding little sprouts to spend time out in the garden with you. Plant sunflowers together, and enjoy a great learning experience!
- Send your tired-looking cool-season annuals that are well-past their prime to a homemade compost pile.
- Replace those cool-season plants with some of these heat-loving beauties:
- Dahlias are wonderful ever-blooming, warm-season bedding plants perfect for cutting. Flowers come in a wide range of colors, forms and sizes.
- Marigolds are easy-to-grow, highly aromatic and attract butterflies. The single, double or semi-double flowers are often bicolored and come in orange, red or yellow.
- Mexican heather is a tropical subshrub that can grow 8-24 inches tall. It has shiny, dark green, fine-textured leaves and light purple, pink or white flowers. *If you’re doing any late spring landscaping before the searing heat of summer, consider fireproofing your property by employing some simple principles: firescape for safety. *Planting any cactus in your desert garden? Here are some pointers for planting your spiky friends.
- Blend color, texture and form when picking your potted annuals to create a stunning container garden – no matter how small your outdoor living space.
- Plan and plant a cutflower garden for summer, filled with beautiful blooms to enjoy throughout the season and into the fall – indoors, as well as out!
- Add mulch to your planted landscape beds and borders to cool the soil, reduce weeds and help conserve needed soil moisture. A few inches are all that’s needed.
- Be water-wise! A self-sufficient garden requires less water, even in times of drought, allowing you to focus on environmentally friendly and money-saving water-conservation practices.
- Give your vines a little TLC. Maintaining vining plants now will help keep them happy and productive during the summer months to come.
- Be on the lookout for plant-damaging caterpillars, especially Oleander caterpillars (identified by their bright orange color with tufts of black hairs along their bodies). These voracious feeders can do considerable damage on oleander and mandevilla plants.