21 Early-Season Flowers for Your Garden

From delicate annuals to hardy trees and shrubs, spring supplies continuous color for your yard.

Kelly Roberson


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Pansy
1/22
Pansy

    Cool weather is just what pansy prefers. It's an annual that gardeners flock to for early-season containers and window boxes, relishing the variety in bloom color as much as the cheery uplifted petals.

    Name: Viola x wittrockiana

    Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 10 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

2/22
Yellow Trillium

    Yellow trillium is a true spring plant: Once its flowers die back at the season's end in June, the foliage recedes, too. Even so, its marbled leaves and delicate yellow-white blooms are a welcome sight in April. In a woodland garden, pair it with other shade-lovers.

    Name: Trillium luteum

    Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 5-8

3/22
Hellebore

    Also known as a Lenten rose or Christmas rose, hellebore is a plant of delicate beauty and surprising resilience. In warmer climates, it may even tolerate light frosts. For unusual flowers, ask at your nursery about double-bloom varieties.

    Name: Helleborus niger

    Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

4/22
Bloodroot

    This herbaceous perennial makes its appearance in March, shooting up white flowers that last until late spring. It's a good fit for either a shaded or woodland garden.

    Name: Sanguinaria canadensis

    Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

5/22
Snowdrop Anemone

    Fragrant and festive, the bright clusters of snowdrop anemone work well even in a spring garden that's slightly shaded. Bonus: Once the cooler temperatures of fall arrive, the plant may put on a second bloom show in the garden.

    Name: Anemone nemorosa

    Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

6/22
Redbud

    Flowers get lots of press, but plenty of trees offer springtime feasts for the eyes. One of them is the eastern redbud, a tree that puts on a riotous display of pink beginning in March.

    Name: Cercis canadensis

    Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 30 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

7/22
Lilac

    There's no sweeter spring fragrance than the blooms of this cottage-garden favorite. Lilac varieties come in all shapes and sizes, from dwarf shrubs to taller trees. One tip: The lilac blooms on old wood, so hold off on pruning until right after the same year's flowering is finished.

    Name: Syringa vulgaris

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 20 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-8

8/22
'Acoma' Iris

    Pick your favorite color, and there's likely an iris to fill your garden need. Most put on their bloom show toward the end of spring, but the plants' tall growth and delectable petal variations make them pretty additions to a variety of garden styles.

    Name: Iris 'Acoma'

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 34 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

9/22
Grape Hyacinth

    As much as any other spring bulbs, hyacinths trumpet the arrival of spring. Clustered flowers hang lusciously from sturdy stalks, resembling bundles of grapes.

    Name: Muscari armeniacum

    Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

10/22
'Harmony' Iris

    As much a late-winter plant as it is an early-spring bloomer, dwarf wild iris pops with deep, wild purple or blue -- a welcome contrast to many of spring's pastel flowers. Cut a clutch of the iris to put in a vase and take the pleasing fragrance inside.

    Name: Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 5-8

11/22
'Grand Maitre' Crocus

    Crocuses herald spring, announcing the departure of winter with lovely pink, purple, yellow, or white petals. Planted from corms, crocuses also range in size from delicate blooms to more showy versions.

    Name: Crocus 'Grand Maitre'

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 3-8

12/22
Daffodil

    If it's spring, it's time for a show of daffodils. The bright, jovial flower has a range of shapes and sizes, from trumpet to small- and large-cupped to double. Deer find them less palatable than other spring plants, but the foliage should be left to die back on its own to rejuvenate the plants for the following year.

    Name: Narcissus selections

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and wide

    Zones: 3-9

13/22
Tulip

    With innate cheerfulness and beauty, a springtime tulip lends itself to a variety of garden settings -- from formal border gardens to naturalistic, casual settings. And there's a tulip for every gardener, from diminutive 4-inch-tall specimens to extravagant multifoot-high blooms.

    Name: Tulipa selections

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Zones: 3-7

14/22
Winter Aconite

    If the snow has melted, you can be sure that winter aconite is ready to burst forth from the garden. Its growth time is limited -- the plant dies back once spring transitions to summer -- but its pretty, open blooms make it a showpiece in a woodland garden.

    Name: Eranthis cilicica

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 4-9

15/22
Puschkinia

    Inside the blooms of snowdrift is an exquisite surprise: striped flowers that offer surprising color variation. Tall foliage stalks make these a good companion to lower spring growers such as crocus.

    Name: Puschkinia scilloides

    Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

16/22
'Miniature Snowflake' Mock Orange

    The delicate blooms of sweet mock orange belie its easy-growing nature. After planting it, you hardly have to do a thing to this compact shrub! In addition to pretty white flowers, the plant supplies an intoxicating fragrance.

    Name: Philadelphus 'Miniature Snowflake'

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 3-7

17/22
Bluestar

    The rewards of Arkansas bluestar bridge the gap between spring and fall: The plant puts on a restrained color show in spring with star-shape, light blue flowers. Then in the fall, the foliage takes a turn for the brilliant, transforming into a golden-yellow display.

    Name: Amsonia hubrictii

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

    Zones: 5-9

18/22
Summer Snowflake

    A drooping bell shape distinguishes the diminutive blooms on summer snowflake. In a flowerbed, group several of the plants to create a focal point.

    Name: Leucojum aestivum

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Zones: 4-9

19/22
Oakleaf Hydrangea

    Big flowers and oversize foliage ensure the oakleaf hydrangea has a unique presence in the garden. For flower lovers, the late-spring-blooming shrub offers reliable, vigorous growth, but the plant also supplies visual interest throughout the growing season.

    Name: Hydrangea quercifolia

    Growing conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide

    Zones: 5-9

20/22
'Pink Discovery' Azalea

    Its bright color burst is short-lived, but 'Pink Discovery' azalea's solid mass of flamboyant flowers provides a just-right transition from spring to summer bloomers. Pair the shrubs with hellebores, as in this sidewalk border, for an early-season showstopper.

    Name: Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanensis 'Pink Discovery'

    Growing conditions: Part shade and moist but well-drained acidic soil

    Size: To 10 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

21/22
Double Rock Rose

    Rock rose makes spring-flower lovers wait until late in the season for blooms, but that extra dose of patience is worth it. Double varieties such as this one supply spring and early summer with a profusion of petals on low-growing shrubs.

    Name: Helianthemum 'Annabel'

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 6-8

22/22
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