Gardener  planting a seedling
Jobs to do this month


  • 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, once faded 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 to encourage bushier growth

  • Add interest to shady borders by planting a selection of hostas and ferns

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 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


  • 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

  • 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

  • Repot any houseplants that have become top heavy or pot bound into larger containers

  • 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

With thanks to BBC Gardeners' World.