The Most Beautiful Spring-Flowering Shrubs

Add color and interest to your spring landscape with these gorgeous flowering shrubs.


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Autumn Chiffon Encore azalea
1/19
Azalea

    Azaleas are beautiful, beloved fixtures of Southern gardens. Happily, plant breeders have made these colorful, versatile shrubs available for gardens in nearly every region.

    Name: Rhododendron selections

    Growing Conditions: Sun or shade, depending on type, and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 feet or more tall and wide, depending on type

    Zones: 4-10, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Grow plants from the Lights series if you need a cold-hardy azalea; grow the Encore series if you want an extra-long bloom season.

2/19
Beautybush

    Not familiar with beautybush? You're not alone. But the popularity of this old-time favorite is growing again. It offers arching branches decorated with pink, bell-shaped flowers in late spring and early summer.

    Name: Kolkwitzia amabilis

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

    Size: To 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide

    Zones: 5-9

    Here's a hint: Beautybush holds up well to drought and is deer resistant.

3/19
Bridalwreath Spiraea

    This is another shrub you probably saw in grandma's garden. Bridalwreath spiraea still exudes charm and is a perfect pick for cottage gardens. Bridalwreath bears clusters of pure white flowers in mid- to late spring and develops great fall leaf color.

    Name: Spiraea prunifolia

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-8

    Here's a hint: Bridalwreath spiraea is drought tolerant and a good choice for low-water plantings.

4/19
Heath

    Heath, also called heather, brings bright doses of color to the late winter or early spring landscape. Heath is a tiny, compact shrub that's ideal for rock gardens and other spots with well-drained acidic soil. It bears a profusion of pink, white, or red flowers.

    Name: Erica carnea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 10 inches tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 5-7

    Here's a hint: Plant heath in a sheltered spot to prevent drying winter winds from turning the foliage brown.

5/19
Camellia

    Perhaps the most eye-catching evergreen shrub, camellia bears stunning rose-like flowers in shades of pink, red, and white in fall, late winter, or spring, depending on type.

    Name: Camellia selections

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained acidic soil

    Size: To 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide

    Zones: 6-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Look for the Ice Angels series of camellias if you live in Zone 6; these are the hardiest varieties.

6/19
Deutzia

    Deutzia is an under-used shrub that deserves more attention. It is a hydrangea relative that produces showy clusters of pink or white flowers in spring or summer, depending on type. Some selections are fragrant, so they're great picks for planting near a window or walkway.

    Name: Deutzia selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or light shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 10 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 5-8, depending on type

    Here's a hint: 'Chardonnay Pearls' is an especially beautiful, easy-to-grow selection with fragrant white flowers and golden-green foliage.

7/19
Forsythia

    Few plants announce spring as dramatically as forsythia, which seems to burst into bloom overnight. This bold shrub covers itself with bright, golden-yellow flowers you can see a block away.

    Name: Forsythia selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 10 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 4-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Add interest after forsythia blooms fade with selections such as 'Citrus Swizzle', 'Fiesta', or 'Kumson', which feature variegated foliage.

8/19
Fothergilla

    It's fothergilla to the rescue if you want a beautiful blooming shrub that thrives in the shade. This compact plant really delivers: It bears clusters of white, fragrant flowers in spring, then in autumn the leaves turn an amazing array of reds, yellows, and oranges.

    Name: Fothergilla selections

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 5-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: 'Blue Shadow' is an especially attractive variety with silvery-blue foliage that holds its striking color to fall.

9/19
Witch Hazel

    Among the first shrubs to bloom in cold-winter climates, witch hazels start flowering in mid- to late winter. They produce spidery flowers in cheery shades of red, gold, and orange. Some varieties are fragrant. Witch hazel offers great fall color, to boot.

    Name: Hamamelis vernalis selections

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

    Size: To 15 feet tall wide

    Zones: 5-8

    Here's a hint: Fragrant flowers make witch hazel a particularly good choice for forcing branches indoors for winter color.

10/19
Mountain Laurel

    Mountain laurel offers showy clusters of pink, red, or white flowers in late spring and early summer. It's a plant that invites close inspection; the buds have an interesting, intricate shape. Related to rhododendrons and blueberries, mountain laurel does best in soil with an acidic pH.

    Name: Kalmia latifolia selections

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

    Size: To 10 feet tall wide

    Zones: 5-9

    Here's a hint: While beautiful, all parts of mountain laurel are poisonous, so keep young children away from the plant.

11/19
Lilac

    Spring wouldn't be spring without lilacs -- at least in the North. These beauties offer lush sprigs of sweetly scented blooms in shades of pink, purple, lavender, and white. Lilacs are great cut flowers, so enjoy the great fragrance indoors and out.

    Name: Syringa selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 20 feet tall wide

    Zones: 3-8, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Look for reblooming varieties such as 'Josee' and littleleaf lilac to extend the season in summer and fall.

12/19
Loropetalum

    Lilacs make Southern gardeners envious; lovely loropetalum returns the favor for Northern gardeners. The shrub offers wonderful burgundy foliage (that may turn orange in autumn in the coolest part of its range) and lovely clusters of fragrant pink flowers in early spring.

    Name: Loropetalum selections

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

    Size: To 6 feet tall wide

    Zones: 7-9

    Here's a hint: Selections with burgundy foliage look stunning when paired with silver-leafed plants.

13/19
Oregon Grapeholly

    A favorite in the Northwest, Oregon grapeholly is a tough shrub that features rich evergreen foliage, bright yellow spring flowers, and clusters of deep blue fruits in fall. It's largely left alone by disease and is good for a wildlife garden as the berries attract birds.

    Name: Mahonia aquifolium

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

    Size: To 6 feet tall wide

    Zones: 6-9

    Here's a hint: Creeping mahonia (Mahonia repens) is a groundcover version that's hardy to Zone 5.

14/19
Ninebark

    Thanks to beautiful varieties with rich purple or bright gold foliage, gardeners usually don't think of ninebark as a flowering shrub. But it bears puffy clusters of white blooms in late spring and early summer. The blossoms tend to show best on dark-leafed selections such as 'Diabolo' and 'Center Glow'.

    Name: Physocarpus selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 12 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 3-7

    Here's a hint: Ninebark is one of the toughest shrubs around; it tolerates heat and drought like a champ.

15/19
Mock Orange

    Along with hyacinths and lilacs, mock orange provides one of spring's best fragrances. This easy-growing shrub produces pure-white blooms you can smell from feet away.

    Name: Philadelphus selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 3-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Short on space? Look for dwarf selections such as 'Miniature Snowflake', which stays less than 3 feet tall and wide.

16/19
Rhododendron

    This blooming treasure offers big trusses of springtime flowers in a wide range of colors -- from warm yellows and oranges to pinks, purples, and white, as well as rich evergreen foliage.

    Name: Rhododendron selections

    Growing Conditions: Sun or shade and moist, well-drained soil, depending on type

    Size: To 15 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 4-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Enjoy rhododendron flowers for months by growing early, mid-, and late-season varieties in your garden.

17/19
Viburnum

    Viburnum is an all-around winner. Most varieties bloom in shades of pink and white, and many offer a wonderful fragrance or great fall foliage color.

    Name: Viburnum selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 2-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: Attract birds to your yard in summer with selections such as American cranberry viburnum, arrowwood, and doublefile viburnum.

18/19
Weigela

    Though once grown for their springtime displays of pink, red, or white blooms, new weigelas shine with foliage so colorful you hardly notice the flowers.

    Name: Weigela selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall wide, depending on type

    Zones: 4-9, depending on type

    Here's a hint: 'My Monet', 'Wine and Roses', and 'Eyecatcher' are three outstanding newer varieties with gorgeous foliage from spring to fall.

19/19
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