As the danger of frost passes, many flowering plant varieties produce their first blossoms. These harbingers of the coming summer are greeted with enthusiasm by most gardeners. Numerous flowering annuals and perennials blossom in May. Normally, the late spring month provides ample rainfall and slightly warm days with nighttime temperatures that hold above freezing, which makes the ideal growing conditions for colorful blossom production.
Coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea) begin to put on their flowering display in May and it will often continue into July. Numerous varieties offer mounds of foliage in varying colors such as purple, variegated green, bronze and yellow. Mature height ranges from 12 to 18 inches. Tiny bell-like flowers appear in shades of pink, red or white. The plant thrives in shady conditions. It prefers well-draining soil with ample organic matter. Moist soil is required around the plant's root system. Once the flowers have ceased to bloom, remove them and the foliage will persist through summer and into fall. The plant grows as a perennial.
The perennial spiderwort (Tradescantia sp) begins to produce blossom in May and might persist into June. The plant produces abundant flowers but each only only lives for a day. Flower shades are either pink, purple or bluish-purple. The stems, flowers and leaves are commonly consumed in salads. The plant grows up to 3 feet in height. The plant enjoys full sunlight but will tolerate partial shade. It is not picky about soil and only requires a well-draining location. It is drought tolerant once established.
Most garden peony (Paeonia) varieties begin to blossom in May. They produce large, fragrant blossoms in single or double form. Peonies produce pink, red, yellow, white, red and salmon blossoms. Flowering occurs over a 1-week time period The plant attains a height between 2 to 4 feet. The peony thrives in soil with ample organic matter and a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5. The plants prefer a sunlight location. Many varieties will withstand cold winters where the temperature plummets to -20 degrees F with adequate mulching applied to help protect the plant's root system.
The scabiosa butterfly blue (Scabiosa columbaria) begins to bloom in April and continues into May. In mild areas the blossoms will persist all year. This perennial forms a clump of green foliage which is followed by 2-inch frilly flowers in shades of lavender. It attains a height of 1 to 1 1/2 feet. The plant makes an excellent cut flower for a wildflower-appearing bouquet. The plant grows well along the edge of the flower bed due to its dwarf habits. Numerous cultivars are available to fit into any garden.