19 Early-Blooming Spring Flowers That Promise Warmer Weather Is Coming

virginia bluebells perennials
Photo: Bob Stefko

Early spring flowers are the surest sign that milder weather is on the way. These bulbs and perennials provide a splash of color before many other plants have started to leaf out after a long winter. Once you spot these blooms, you'll know it's soon time to get back to work in your garden!

01 of 19

Pansy

Pansy
Peter Krumhardt

Cool weather is just what pansies prefer, blooming in cool spring weather or in the fall. This short-lived perennial plant is usually treated as an annual for providing color in early-season flower beds, containers, and window boxes. Petals can be just about any color from white to almost black, and everything in between.

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

Size: To 10 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Zones: 4-8

02 of 19

Yellow Trillium

Yellow wake robin
Robert Cardillo

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. If you're planting a woodland-style garden, pair it with other shade-loving plants.

Growing Conditions: Shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Zones: 5-8

03 of 19

Hellebore

Hellebores
Richard Hirneisen

Also known as a Lenten rose or Christmas rose, hellebores produce spring flowers with delicate beauty and surprising resilience. In warmer climates, it may even tolerate light frosts, making it one of the best flowers to plant in spring. For unusual flowers, ask at your nursery about double-bloom varieties.

Growing Conditions: Shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide

Zones: 4-8

04 of 19

Bloodroot

Bloodroot
Bob Stefko

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

Growing Conditions: Shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

05 of 19

Grecian Windflower

purple grecian windflower
Jacob Fox

Growing from a hard, lumpy tuber best planted in fall, Grecian windflower is a type of anemone. It produces daisy-like blooms for weeks, and so profusely that they all but hide the ferny foliage. You can find windflowers in shades of blue, pink, white, and even bicolors.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall

Zones: 4-10

06 of 19

Celandine Poppy

Celandine poppy
Randall Schieber

One of the first flowers to bloom in spring, celandine poppy produces beautiful yellow and orange flowers. Also called wood poppies, this plant looks like a delicate wildflower when it blooms.

Growing Conditions: Shade or part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

07 of 19

Dutchman's Breeches

‘Dutchman’s Breeches’ Bleeding Heart Dicentra cucullaria
Randall Schieber

A variety of bleeding heart, the flowers on Dutchman's breeches look more like an upside-down pair of pants than a heart (hence the name). The blooms can be pink or white, with clusters of 10 or more on a single stem.

Growing Conditions: Part sun or shade in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

08 of 19

Grape Hyacinth

grape hyacinth
Peter Krumhardt

As much as any other spring bulbs, grape hyacinths trumpet the arrival of spring. Clustered flowers hang lusciously from sturdy stalks, resembling bundles of grapes; they're one of the best, most beautiful flowers to plant in spring.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in well-drained soil

Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

Zones: 4-8

09 of 19

Crocus

purple crocuses in garden
David Speer

Announcing the departure of winter with lovely pink, purple, yellow, or white petals, crocuses are one of the best early spring flowers. Planted from corms (swollen stem bases, a little like tubers), crocuses also range in size from delicate blooms to more showy versions.

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall and wide

Zones: 3-8

10 of 19

Daffodil

daffodil
Lynn Karlin

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

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: To 1 foot tall and wide

Zones: 3-9

11 of 19

Tulip

high angle view of pink flowers blooming in garden
Fringed petals make 'Cool Crystal' peony tulips extra gorgeous. Carson Downing

With a huge variety of shades (including nearly every color of the rainbow), tulips lend themselves to a variety of garden settings, including formal border gardens and naturalistic, casual settings. And there's a tulip for every gardener, from tiny 4-inch-tall specimens to extravagant multi-foot-high blooms.

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: To 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide

Zones: 3-7

12 of 19

Winter Aconite

yellow winter aconite miniature flowering bulbs on blue background
Jason Donnelly

If the snow has melted, you can be sure that winter aconite is ready to burst into bloom in your 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.

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

Size: To 3 inches tall and wide

Zones: 4-9

13 of 19

Puschkinia

striped squill miniature flowering bulbs on blue background
Carson Downing

The blooms of this small bulb have a sweet surprise inside: a distinct stripe of darker color runs down the center of each tiny petal. Puschkinia is also known as striped squill for this reason. Its taller foliage makes it a good companion for lower spring growers such as crocus.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

14 of 19

Virginia Bluebells

virginia bluebells perennials
Bob Stefko

Stunning bell-shape blue blooms make native Virginia bluebells a true standout in the early spring garden. Plant this perennial among other spring bloomers such as daffodils and tulips for truly magical display. At the beginning of summer, their foliage and blue flowers will die back, so make sure you plant a few summer bloomers nearby to fill the gap.

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

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

15 of 19

Marsh Marigold

Marsh marigold
Cameron Sadeghpour

Also known as cowslip, marsh marigolds' flowers don't actually look much like traditional marigolds. The small, bright yellow flowers resemble wild buttercups, a related plant to this early spring blooming native perennial.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in consistently moist soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-7

16 of 19

Trout Lily

Trout lily
Andy Lyons

Tiny compared to other lily varieties, native trout lily bears adorable early blooms that make up for their smaller size. The plant will die back to the ground after it flowers, returning again the next spring.

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

Size: Up to 6 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

17 of 19

Pasque Flower

Pasque flower
Jay Wilde

Every spring, this perennial starts producing buds even before its fern-like foliage has fully unfolded. Pasque flower doesn't grow very tall, so if you're planting it in a flower bed, be sure to place it towards the front.

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Zones: 4-7

18 of 19

Snowdrop

Galanthus snowdrops growing in test garden
Sandra Gerdes

Distinctive white flowers with green markings dangle like charms among narrow leaves that sprout up from small bulbs planted in fall. Though they are tiny plants, snowdrops look stunning when grown in large groups. You can also amp up the effect by pairing them with purple rock garden iris that bloom at the same time.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist but well-drained soil

Size: 6-8 inches

Zones: 3-8

19 of 19

Claytonia

Blooming claytonia flowers
John Noltner

Not only does claytonia produce small, beautiful flowers in spring, but it's edible, too. Also called miner's lettuce, both the leaves and blooms are edible, and can be eaten like salad greens.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 16 inches tall

Zones: 6-9

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