May Garden Tips

Cleveland Sage

Purple Cleveland Sage flowerTo keep a dense and more attractive plant, cut back in the winter by about a third or more when young - once mature with woody stems, only tip prune. The foliage of Blue Sage has a very nice fragrance that has been described as "clean, like a sweet desert morning" and the flowers to emit a pleasant aroma - this plant attracts butterflies and humming birds

White flowering Peach

White flowering peach trees prunusPrune after bloom for good show of flowers the following year

Angels Trumpet Trees

Angel's Trumpet TreeAngels trumpet prune in early spring after last frost cut back branchlets to one or two buds

Buddleia - Butterfly Bush

Buddleia Butterfly Bush with purple flowersSince they bloom on new wood, even if there is no die-back, cut them back to the ground every spring. Even where winters are mild enough for the stems to survive, prune severely to stimulate abundant growth on which flowers are borne.
Pinch flowers to encourage new flowers and be pruned to keep size in check but it reduces flowers

Pittosporum tobira (Mock Orange)

Pittosporum shrub mock orangeDon't Prune Now:
Try not to prune this plant now, though the flowers are apparent but relatively inconspicuous they enrich the garden with a beautiful aroma. There are several types of Pittosporum tobira. Some are variegated. This is a very dependable low maintenance plant.

Pineapple Guava

Pineapple GuavaNow is the best time to trim Feijoa

Star Jasmine - Trachelospermum

Trachelospermum star jasmine (left) Don't Prune Now:
This very versatile, popular plant is just starting to flower. Garden View crews prune this plant only when absolutely necessary at this time of year so that you can enjoy the beautiful flowers and wonderful scent. Star Jasmine can be used and trained as a ground cover, shrub or vine.

Dietes iridioides

Dietes bicolorTo prevent self sowing and prolong bloom break off blossoms individually. Do not cut flower stems because they last more than a year. When they have clearly stopped producing blooms cut stem back to lower leaf joint. (This plant can survive on very minimal water)


Purple Lantana flowersIf you have not cut back your Lantana yet this may be a good time to do it. Take the opportunity to prune your lantana down by as much as to within 6-12 inches of ground level. Leaves will re-emerge in spring. Lantana isn't harmed at all by such a drastic pruning, and the result will be more compact lantana shrubs. You will loose some bloom but this plant flowers through most of the summer and with so many other plants blooming now this is your opportunity to keep this sometimes vigorous plant in check and ready for summer bloom. (Lantana is a low water need plant and vigorous bloomer)


EuryopsThis low water use plant blooms almost all year round. Because it is blooming most of the year gardeners are reluctant of pruning it and it can become lanky and unattractive. Garden View gardeners prune the plant several times a year, the flowers are usually not all cut off and the blooms return with increased vigor.

Rhaphiolepis (Indian Hawthorn)

Rhaphiolepis Indian Hawthorn ShrubAfter this beautiful, low maintenance, low water use plant has finished blooming it is a good time to do minimal pruning. Once this plant reaches its mature size it is slow growing and probably only needs to be cut once a year with a little inside out pruning to let light inside the plant and to keep its natural form.

Magnolia stellata and other early spring flowering trees

Magnolia StellataThe best time to prune most flowering trees is soon after they finish blooming. Don’t sheer or top the trees. Selectively prune the crisscrossing branches and prune to shape.

Palo verde

Cercidium Palo VerdeCercidium and mesquite:
Limit pruning of desert legume trees such as Palo Verde and mesquite. Just remove dead or very small limbs as necessary. Heavy pruning, to stimulate new growth which will be stressed by oncoming heat should wait until later in the summer.


Coleus plantThis shade loving perennial is usually treated as an annual. The blue flowered spikes are attractive but they spoil the plants shape and are best pruned out in bud. The pinching also encourages more vigorous leafy compact growth.

Banana Trees

Banana trees grow best in a rich, well-drained soil. Salt is not tolerated. Banana trees prefer acidic soil.

Banana trees need lots of water. However, you have to make sure they are not over-watered so you don't get root rot. The soil should be moist but not soggy at all times if possible.

Banana trees should also be fertilized very well. Use a balanced fertilizer once a month. Per the California Rare Fruit Growers organization: "Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant in a circle extending 4 - 8 feet from the trunk. Do not allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the trunk. Feed container plants on the same monthly schedule using about half the rate for outside plants."

Before the banana tree fruits, prune so there is only one main stem. After it has been growing for 6-8 months, leave one sucker. This will replace the main stem in the next growing season. After the fruit is removed, cut the main stem down to 2.5'. Remove the rest of the stem in a few weeks, leaving the replacement sucker intact.

Feed all Trees and Shrubs

There are many products to choose from. It is best to look for a product that is easiest for you to use. Most plants will respond to just about any kind of fertilizer as long as it is applied correctly.

Control Plant Damagers

Check plants for evidence of plant nibblers, handpick slugs or snails, or spread bait. Spray cabbage, worms, cabbage loopers, corn earworms, and geranium budworms (they also love petunia buds) with a product containing the biological control Bacullus Thuringiensis.

Feed and Mow Lawns

Fertilize warm-season grasses. (Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia) and Dichondra lawns with a food high in nitrogen, Mow Bermuda grass lawns: begin by setting the mower about ¾ inch his month; set it progressively higher as summer proceeds so you cut only leaf blades, not stems.

Feed Flowers and Vegetables

Use a low-nitrogen plant food formulated to promote flowers or fruit. Fertilize lettuce and other leafy crops with high-nitrogen food to encourage vegetative growth.

Feed Subtropicals

New growth on plants such as banana, bougainvillea, citrus, gardenia, hibiscus, lantana, Natal plum indicates the time is right to give them a shot of complete fertilizer.

Plant Subtropicals

Heat-loving plants such as avocado, banana, bougainvillea, citrus, hibiscus, macadamia, and palms can go into the ground this month. To prevent sunburn on thin-barked avocado and citrus, protect exposed trunks with whitewash, white latex paint, or tree wrap.

Plant Summer Flowers

Set out nursery-started seeding of ageratum, asters, carnation, celosia, cleome, chrysanthemums, coleus, dwarf dahlias, dianthus, dusty miller, fibrous begonias, gloriosa daisy, impatiens, lobelia, marigolds, petunia, portulaca, salvia, Shasta daisy, sweet alyssum, verbena, Vinca rosea, and zinnias.

Sow seeds of centaurea, coreopsis, cosmos, gaillardia, nasturtium, nicotiana, nierembergia, and sunflowers in the ground; or start them in containers for later transplanting.

Plant Vegetables

Set out seedlings or start seeds of these summer vegetables; beans, carrots, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, radishes, squash and tomatoes. Root and vine crops produce best when sown directly in garden soil.

Plant Warm-Season Grasses

Plant heat-loving Bermuda, Dichondra, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. If you’re planting Zoysia, see the item above for how to get it established the quickest. Water as often as necessary to prevent tender sprouts from burning.