Flowers

  • Prune spring shrubs, such as forsythia and chaenomeles, after flowering to keep them compact
  • Plant out dahlia tubers and cannas after all risk of frost has passed
  • Tie in the new shoots of climbing plants, including clematis, wisteria and honeysuckle, to their supports
  • Continue sowing annuals, such as California poppies, into gaps in borders for colour from August into autumn
  • Plant up hanging baskets, but keep in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to establish, before putting outside
  • Apply liquid feed to tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs to encourage a good display next year
  • Plant out summer bedding and tender annuals, including sunflowers, cosmos and nasturtiums, after the last frost
  • Remove faded spring bedding, such as wallflowers and forget-me-nots, and add to your compost bin
  • Check lilies and fritillaries for scarlet lily beetles and their larvae, as they can rapidly strip plants of all foliage
  • Harden off tender plants raised indoors, but bring them back in at night to protect from late frosts
  • Pinch out the shoot tips of bedding plants and young annuals, such as fuchsias, to encourage bushier growth
  • Add interest to shady borders by planting a selection of hostas and ferns
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Fruit and veg

  • Earth up potatoes, covering the shoots with soil as they appear
  • Sow sweetcorn in deep pots, so the young plants are ready to transplant into the garden in June
  • Reduce snail populations by going on regular evening hunts, especially during damp weather
  • Start sowing dwarf and climbing French beans, as well as runner beans, directly outdoors in warm weather
  • Pick rhubarb stems as they develop, and water plants with liquid feed
  • Start hardening off tender young plants, such as tomatoes and courgettes, ready for planting out in mild areas
  • Sow batches of salad leaves and stir-fry crops every few weeks to provide continuous pickings
  • Hang pheromone traps in apple and plum trees from May to July, to control pests
  • Thin out seedlings, like carrots, from earlier sowings to ensure you get healthy, strong-growing plants
  • Open fruit cage doors or lift some of the netting to ensure pollinating insects can get access to the flowers
  • Remove all strawberry runners, so plants put their full energy into fruiting
  • Keep plenty of fleece handy to protect young seedlings or fruit blossom, if late frosts are forecast

Greenhouse

  • Water thirsty crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes regularly as the weather starts to warm up
  • Tie the stems of indoor tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines to canes as they grow
  • Plant heat-treated freesia corms in pots for fragrant flowers this summer
  • Check plants regularly for pests, on shoot tips and the underside of leaves, and treat with biological controls if desired
  • Put up shading to lower daytime temperatures and reduce scorching
  • Open doors and vents on warm days, but close them in the evening as nights can still be cold
  • Take cuttings of woody herbs such as hyssop, rosemary and thyme, and root in pots of gritty compost
  • Keep pricking out seedlings as soon as they get their first true leaves, to avoid overcrowding and fungal diseases
  • Start to harden off tender plants and bedding, ready for planting outside after the last frost
  • Take cuttings from fuchsias, dahlias and pelargoniums
  • Transplant tomatoes into growing bags or large pots, and tie their main stem to a cane or vertical wire for support
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House plants

  • Start feeding houseplants once a week with liquid fertiliser, continuing through to autumn
  • Water your house plants more regularly as the temperatures warm, check the soil before watering. Take a look at our guide to watering house plants
  • Repot any houseplants that have become top heavy or pot bound into larger containers
  • Ensure house plants are not getting scorched by bright sunshine. Either move further from the window or choose house plants that will thrive in a sunny spot
  • Some house plants, like snake plants, are particularly prone to collecting dust on their leaves. So be sure to give these a wipe regularly
  • Try and keep house plants away from temperature fluctuations caused by draughts or central heating
  • Check your house plants for pests like aphidsscale insectsthrips and mealybugs

For more house plant advice and inspiration visit our Growing and caring for house plants page

Garden maintenance

  • Scoop out pondweed, blanketweed and algae from ponds and water features
  • Put soft tops on the tips of all canes, in borders, veg plots, pots and greenhouses, to prevent injury to eyes
  • Apply wood treatment to wooden garden furniture to condition it for summer
  • Set up an extra compost bin or a worm bin, so you can recycle more green waste from your kitchen and garden
  • Apply nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed to encourage leafy growth
  • Mow grass pathways through wildflower areas so you can walk in among the flowers
  • Hoe bare soil and hand-weed beds weekly, so weeds don't have time to establish and set seed
  • Put supports in place for clumps of perennials that are prone to flopping, such as top-heavy peonies or phlox
  • Trim topiary regularly to promote bushy growth and keep it looking neat
  • Sow grass seed or lay new turf by the end of this month, to create a new lawn or repair damaged patches
  • Check shrubs for nests before you start any pruning, to avoid disturbing nesting birds
  • Clean out and scrub bird feeders regularly to maintain hygiene
  • Build sturdy wigwams and supports for climbers such as runner beans, sweet peas and morning glory
  • Watch out for aphids on shoot tips and young foliage, and wipe them off or spray with a soap-based solution
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