Our favourite May plants
Discover plants that are looking glorious this month, chosen by the Gardeners' World team and our friends in the gardening world.
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With bank holiday weekends galore and the British weather finally more spring-like, we'll all be spending plenty more time in our garden this month, immersed in nature. The garden is truly coming into its own now, too. From the last colourful tulips making way for gorgeous summer blooms, like roses and geraniums, it's a time to savour.
Discover some of the best plants for May, below. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners' World team and familiar faces from across the gardening industry.
Find more May inspiration:
Mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream'
Chosen by Arit Anderson, Gardeners' World presenter
I’m always drawn in by the unusual soft lime bracts that sit upon a pinky/purple stem and are total head turners. Try Mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream' as an alternative to hellebores and euphorbias within the border. Watch the bracts become more olive and purple in colour later in the season.
Chosen by Sue Kent, Gardeners' World presenter
I love love love this gentle, native long-stemmed daisy. Some consider the oxeye daisy a weed, as it does have a tendency to be a little invasive. It flowers for such a long time, but starts smiling in May.
Chosen by Flo Headlam, Garden Rescue presenter
The most pleasing thing about this plant right now is the abundance of white flowers and the dizzying amount of bee activity it attracts. Easy to grow with great rewards, including bark that peels appealingly as it matures, on many varieties.
Lupin 'Towering Inferno'
Chosen by Jason Williams, creator of the Cloud Gardener blog
Lupins fair well in my sunny balcony garden. The shape of the leaves also create an extra dimension of interest in the containers and, much like the name suggests, the flowers tower in a blaze of glory.
More like this
Geranium 'Mrs Kendall Clark'
Chosen by Emma Crawforth, horticultural editor
It's a stocky plant, topped by exquisite flowers with intricate, pale veins on the petals. It is hardy, perennial and will self-seed freely.
Chosen by Sinead Fenton, Aweside Farm manager
Insects flock to the big displays of fluffy purple pom poms, like nothing I’ve seen before, creating some of the most wonderful displays of life, where insects are darting around, humming away and tucking into these nectar rich flowers. One of my favourite edible flowers for their wonderful flavour, I use them liberally in all my cooking whilst they’re in season.
Magnolia x soulangeana
Chosen by Catherine Mansley, digital editor
For me, this is the archetypal magnolia. And an aged tree, with its slightly wizened branches furred with lichen and bedecked with voluptuous pink branches, is the picture of elegance. Magnolia x soulangeana is more modestly sized than some magnolias, growing to around 6m x 6m, so it's easier to accommodate in a medium sized garden.
Rose 'Emily Brontë'
Chosen by Hazel Gardiner, floral designer
With limited space, my rose choices must be considered. This is a spectacular variety, with an intoxicatedly beautiful scent that fills the garden with fragrance. It has strikingly beautiful soft pink flowers, each with layer upon layer of ruffled petals – breathtaking!
Chosen by Lily Middleton, content creator
One of the highlights at Kew Gardens in May has to be the laburnum arch – it's hard to resist the dripping-yellow blooms that fill the space. Just don't be tempted to touch, this is a toxic beauty!
Chosen by Jaime Johnson, outdoor educator and blogger
The wondrous tulip! This eclectic spring bulb comes into its peak this month and when there is often a decided lull in the flower garden, tulips really shine. They have always been my favourite flower; having fond memories of growing them with my grandmother. These days I enjoy growing all sorts of shapes and sizes in my garden; look out for the parrot-flowered varieties for a real flamboyant show!