Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2010
Regional Report

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Cistus (rockrose) requires little water besides rainfall, once established.

Now, Heat-Loving Plants Galore!

May is the ideal month to plant the heat-lovers--the vegetables and flowers that seem to thrive and bloom more lustily when the weather's hot and sunny. Earlier in spring and later in fall, we coddle them to stretch the seasons, but now is when they grow really fast. Other plants may tolerate our summers, flourishing in spring and fall, but these plants relish the heat and bright light. Just keep them well-watered and mulched at least 4-6 inches deep and they'll produce exuberantly.

Sow seeds of lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, chicory, chives, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, leeks, warm-season lettuces, melons, okras, green onions, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins, soybeans, warm-season spinaches, squashes, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.

Interplant cucumbers and beans to repel cucumbers beetles and prevent the wilt diseases they carry. Also plant Cucurbita lagenaria gourds as trap plants for cucumber beetles. Plant potatoes to repel squash bugs.

Plant corn in blocks of at least four rows in each direction to assure good pollination. Make successive plantings through the end of June only, as later plantings generally suffer from severe smut problems when they mature in September.

Sow or transplant ageratums, alyssums, globe amaranths, asters, baby's breath, bachelor's buttons, balsam, fibrous begonias, bougainvilleas, calendula, campanula (bellflower, Canterbury bells), candytufts, carnations, celosias (cockscomb), chrysanthemum, clarkia (Godetia), cleome, coleus, columbines, coral bells, coreopsis, cosmos, English daisy, gloriosa daisy, marguerite and Shasta daisies, dahlias, delphiniums, dianthus (pinks, sweet william), forget-me-nots, four-o'clocks, foxgloves, gaillardias, gazanias, gerberas (Transvaal daisy), geums, geraniums, hollyhocks, hosta (plantain lily), impatiens, lantanas, larkspurs, linaria, lobelias, lunaria (honesty, money, and silver dollar plant), marigolds, morning glories, nasturtiums, nicotianas, pansies, penstemons, periwinkle (vinca), petunias, phlox, California and Oriental and Shirley poppies, portulacas (moss or sun rose), potentilla (cinquefoil), primroses (Primula), pyrethrums (painted daisy, painted lady), rosemary, salpiglossis, salvias, scabiosas (pincushion flower), snapdragons, statice (sea lavender and other colors), stock, strawflowers, sunflowers, sweet peas, tithonias (Mexican sunflower), verbenas, vinca, violas and zinnias.

Blooming shrubs that need little water when they're mature include abelia, bottlebrush, broom, ceanothus, cotoneaster, crape myrtle, grevillea, oleander, pittosporum, pyracantha, raphiolepis, rockrose (Cistus) and strawberry bush.

For fragrance plant citrus, gardenia, jasmine, mock orange and roses.

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