Early spring flowers add beauty and fragrance with easy care tips for planting, growing, and maintaining early-blooming flowers in your garden. From colorful crocuses and daffodils to fragrant grape hyacinths and cheerful primroses, there are so many easy, low-maintenance blooms you can plant now to enjoy their cheerful beauty over the next few months.
We’ll provide tips on the best growing conditions, planting advice, and care instructions for each flower so you can quickly get your early spring garden bursting with color.
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- Early Spring Flower Choices You Need Now For Your Gardens
Early Spring Flower Choices You Need Now For Your Gardens
Crocus adds cheerfulness to the garden as one of the first blooms to arrive in early spring. Their simple beauty comes from bright colors like purple, yellow, and white displayed on stalks rising just above the soil. They offer little fuss, spreading quickly to naturalize in lawns and along borders. Plant corms in the fall for a quick return on spring color and enjoyment of early spring blooming perennials in your garden bed.
Crocus prefer full sun and well-draining soil that is not overly rich. They appreciate a winter chill period to set their bloom timing, so planting them in the ground by late fall ensures they receive adequate cold needed for spring flowering. Give crocus good drainage by working some sand or grit into the soil before planting and space the corms four to six inches apart. In spring, let the leaves die down naturally after blooming before cutting them back to avoid disturbing the developing corms that will flower the following year.
Regular division every three to four years keeps your crocus healthy and prolific, blooming for many springs. The bright colors and diminutive stature of crocus help transform the dreary landscape of late winter into a cheerful place filled with the promise of new life and early spring flowers in the coming months.
Snowdrops bloom during the coldest winter months, bringing hope for spring when few other early spring flowers bloom. Their simple bell-shaped white flowers that nod gracefully on slender stems above mounds of strappy foliage brighten up gardens during the dreary days of winter. Snowdrops prefer partial shade and rich, moist, but well-drained soil. They grow well under trees and shrubs or amongst other bulbs.
Plant bulbs in fall and provide a dormant period over winter for the bulbs to store energy before blooming next year. Snowdrops naturalize well and spread slowly to form large clumps over time, making them a delightful plant for a shaded woodland garden.
Daffodils are among the easiest and most popular early spring flowers to plant in the garden. Their hardiness and low maintenance requirements make them versatile bulbs for borders, garden beds, and lawn areas. Daffodils come in a rainbow of colors, including yellow, white, orange, and bi-color, but all feature the classic trumpet-shaped bloom. Plant daffodil bulbs in the fall for bloom next spring from late winter through early spring.
Daffodils thrive in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. They require a cold winter dormant period to initiate blooming in spring. Once flowers fade, allow foliage to die naturally before cutting it down to avoid disturbing the bulbs. Daffodils multiply and spread slowly on their own, so neat, tidy clumps of these cheerful early spring flowers can quickly fill large garden sections with bright colors when spring arrives.
4. Grape Hyacinth
Grape hyacinths get their name from their loosely hanging clusters of violet-blue bell-shaped flowers that resemble grapes. They bloom reliably in early spring and provide stunning color and texture in shaded beds and borders. Grape hyacinths grow from bulbs that are planted in fall for bloom the following spring. They prefer moist but well-drained, slightly acidic soil and partial shade from the intense midday summer sun.
Once established, grape hyacinth will naturalize and spread to form large colonies of color every spring. Allow foliage to die down naturally after bloom before cutting back. Plant grape hyacinths amongst other spring bulbs like crocus, snowdrops, or hepatica for an ideal woodland garden effect complete with early blooming perennials to welcome warmer weather.
Also called glory-of-the-snow or sky flower, chionodoxa produce dancing star-shaped flowers in shades of blue, pink, or white nestled against thin strappy evergreen foliage. These charming little bulbs naturalize quickly to form large drifts of spring color and bloom reliably for many years. Plant chionodoxa bulbs in fall for spring bloom time the following year from late winter through early spring. They grow best in the presence of full sun compared to partial shade and prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
Give chionodoxa a winter chill period by planting in the ground to set their bloom time in spring. Allow foliage to remain after flowering and simply cut it back once it yellows. Chionodoxa spread by bulbs clusters and go dormant in summer, making them a carefree addition to the early spring garden that requires minimal attention for many years once established.
Primroses are a welcome sight in spring gardens, offering sweet-faced blossoms in shades of reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows. They thrive in partially shaded areas where they bloom reliably for months of color. Primrorose grows from roots that are ideally planted in early spring for bloom time starting late winter to early spring. Primroses prefer rich, evenly moist but well-drained soil and partial shade.
Keep the soil continually damp. Cutting off flower stalks after bloom encourages reblooming throughout spring and summer. Deadhead spent blooms regularly to prevent self-seeding and reduce powdery mildew issues. Provide airy, well-drained conditions to discourage common pests like aphids.
Primroses naturalize readily, spreading slowly by root division over time to become long-lived perennials in borders, containers, and woodland gardens, where they offer weeks of cheerful color for early spring blooming flowers.
7. Winter Aconite
Winter aconite is a beloved harbinger of spring that produces cheerful yellow buttercup blooms nestled low to the ground in winter and early spring. Their ability to flower during the coldest months makes them a welcome sight in gardens just when color is needed most. Winter aconite emerges from tubers best planted in early fall for bloom time the following winter and spring. Plant in partial shade where they thrive in humus-rich, moist, but well-draining soil.
The deeply divided basal leaves unfurl after the cheerful yellow flowers fade, allowing the plant to photosynthesize and store up energy for the next blooming cycle. Allow foliage to die down naturally before cutting back to avoid disturbing newly developing tubers. Once established, winter aconite will slowly spread and naturalize in beds, borders and among other perennials. Their early spring blooms signal new life is on the way and usher in longer, warmer days to come.
Bearded iris is a traditional favorite for adding early color to spring gardens. They typically bloom from late winter through early spring, producing fan-like flowers in a palette of blue, purple, yellow, and white shades. Iris thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. They grow best when winter rains and spring irrigation provide adequate moisture.
Plant rhizomes in fall for bloom time next spring. Be sure to space rhizomes at least eight to 10 inches apart for optimum growth and air circulation to reduce diseases. Deadhead blooms to promote possible rebloom and growth of secondary flowers later in spring. Cut foliage back once it yellows and dies down naturally.
Divide and replant iris rhizomes every three to five years to maintain vigorous growth and prevent crowding. Major pests of Iris include iris borer, which can damage rhizomes, foliage, and emerging fans. Preventive measures like removing infected foliage and wiping down foliage with insecticidal soap will help reduce damage. Bearded Iris blooms reliably for many springs, adding colorful focal interest to borders and beds early in the season.
9. Siberian Squill
Siberian squill produces colorful clumps of blue flowers resembling hyacinths atop thin grass-like leaves in late winter and early spring. These easy-care bulbs add vibrant color to the early-season garden with little effort. Siberian squill thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Plant bulbs in the fall for bloom time the following spring.
Space bulbs are about four to six inches apart. Once established, squill will continue to self-propagate via offsets producing more bulbs which results in larger drifts of color. Cut faded flowers back to the basal leaves to avoid seed set. Allow foliage to die back naturally before cutting down.
Siberian squill goes dormant in summer, which makes them low maintenance. However, the bulbs need a cold winter chill period to bloom properly in spring. These cheerful clumps of blue blooms herald the end of winter and signal the garden’s first blooms of early spring. Deadheading the flower spikes can extend bloom time into mid-spring.
Tulips are among the most beloved early spring bulbs, offering an explosion of color in hues of red, pink, purple, yellow, and white. Plant tulip bulbs in the fall for bloom time the next spring from late winter through early May. Tulips grow best in full sun and cool but not wet spring conditions. They require well-draining soil to prevent bulb rot and mold issues.
Space bulbs are at least six to eight inches apart to allow for good air circulation. Once flowers fade, deadhead to promote possible rebloom and cut foliage back once it yellows and dies down. Tulip bulbs live for three to seven years, so plan to lift and divide bulbs to refresh established plantings. Check for tulip worm larvae and control with biologicals like Bt to reduce damage.
Fungal diseases like botrytis are also common in wet conditions, so spacing plants adequately and providing good air circulation will help reduce issues. A drift of cheerful tulips adds a welcome focal point and bounty of color to early spring gardens when few other flowers have yet to bloom.
Anemones bloom beautifully in early spring, producing colorful daisy-like flowers in pink, purple, blue and white shade. Anemones grow from rhizomes best planted in early fall for spring bloom time the following year. Anemones do well in partial shade and in moist, well-drained soil which is rich in organic matter.
Plant rhizomes three to four inches deep and six to eight inches apart. Divide clumps every three to four years in spring or fall to keep plants vigorous and prevent crowding. Allow foliage to die back naturally after blooming before cutting it back. Deadhead spent flowers to possibly promote rebloom.
Common pests include aphids, powdery mildew, and slugs and snails that damage foliage. Handpick slugs and control aphids with insecticidal soap sprays. Airy growing conditions with good soil drainage also help reduce mildew issues. Anemones naturalize easily, spreading slowly by rhizomes. Their early spring blooms fill the woodland garden with cheerful colors to welcome the end of winter and the renewal of springtime.
12. Winter Heath
Winter heath erica carnea produces colorful cushion-like mounds of tiny pink, white, or purple bell-shaped flowers in late winter and early spring. Winter heath thrives in partial sun and acidic, well-drained soil. Plant health in the fall for bloom time the following winter and spring. Winter heath needs a winter chill period with temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to initiate blooming.
Provide adequate spacing to allow for air circulation to reduce issues with powdery mildew, a common problem. After flowers fade, shear the heath back slightly to shape and encourage dense new growth. Divide overgrown plants in spring every four to five years. Winter heaths require little maintenance throughout the growing season, making them an excellent addition to early spring gardens and their evergreen needle-like foliage contributes year-round structure and interest while the colored blooms bring much-needed cheer and beauty to the garden in late winter and early spring.
13. Lenten Rose
Lenten rose or Helleborus orientalis bear saucer-shaped colorful flowers in purple, white, pink and bicolor from early spring into late spring. They emerge from the depths of winter, adding cheer and beauty to border gardens and woodland settings. Lenten roses have leathery evergreen foliage that continues to provide year-round interest. Plant rhizomes in fall for bloom time the following spring.
They grow best in partial color and moist, acidic soil high in organic matter. Space clumps two to three feet apart for optimum growth. Deadhead spent flower heads to prevent possible reseeding. Divide clumps every four to five years in spring to rejuvenate plants and control crowded growth.
Common pests include aphids which can be washed off with water, and Japanese beetles that feed on flowers and foliage. Handpick beetles when numbers are low. Overall, Lenten roses are compact, long-lived evergreen plants that provide late winter color, summer interest, and fall reliability in ornamental gardens and beds. Their cheerful blooms mark the end of dreary cold weather and signal the first signs of spring to come.
Hepatica or liverleaf produce charming clusters of blue, pink, or white cup-shaped flowers held above attractively-lobed basal leaves in early spring. They emerge from hairy brown corms that are ideally planted in early fall for bloom time the following spring. Hepatica grows best in partial to full color and in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Space forms four to six inches apart. Provide adequate winter chill to set bloom timing for next spring.
If flowers have dropped by early spring, hepatica likely failed to achieve adequate cooling. Divide corms every four to five years in spring to control crowded growth. Deadhead faded flowers but avoid disturbing the basal leaves, which produce energy for next year’s bloom. Allow leaves to yellow and die down naturally in summer before cutting back.
Once established, Hepatica will slowly spread to form attractive clumps in the woodland garden and their fascinating flowers and ornamental leaves provide beauty and layers of interest for spring gardens while requiring little care or attentiveness.
15. Crown Imperial
Crown imperials are statuesque spring blooming bulbs producing tall spikes topped with aromatic yellow flowers resembling fritillaria. Their dramatic architectural form makes crown imperials a show-stopping addition to early spring gardens. Plant bulbs in early fall for bloom time next spring from late winter into April. Crown imperials grow best in full sun and well-draining fertile soils.
Provide a cool winter dormant period for bulbs to store up energy for spring bloom. Space bulbs eight to 12 inches apart for optimum growth. Once the blooming process is finished, cut flower stalks down to the basal leaves. Allow leaves to remain throughout summer to feed the bulb before cutting back in fall.
Crown imperials spread slowly through offsets and can become overcrowded, so divide bulbs every few years to maintain vigorous growth and these elegant early bloomers add a dramatic architectural element with their spires of yellow blooms as the first signs of spring begin to unfold in the garden.
16. Pasque Flower
Pasque flowers or Pulsatilla vulgaris produce cheerful violet, purple, or white fuzzy flowers held above a basal rosette of delicate finely hairy leaves. These prairie wildflowers bloom reliably in early spring, often while snow still covers the ground. Plant pasque flowers in early fall for bloom time the following spring. They grow best in full sun and moist but well-draining soil.
Space plants 12 to 15 inches apart. Provide adequate winter chill for bulbs to break dormancy and bloom properly in spring. Pasque flowers grow naturally in cold climates and tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Deadhead spent flowers to prevent self-seeding and for possible rebloom later in spring.
Avoid cutting back foliage until fall, when it has died down naturally. Once established, pasque flowers will increase slowly through rhizomes and offsets to form colonies of spring color. These charming harbingers of spring signal the end of winter’s cold darkness with their cheerful blooms and fuzzy hair-like foliage.
17. Virginia Bluebells
Virginia bluebells or Mertensia virginica produce clusters of beautiful tubular blue bell-shaped flowers held on thin stems above attractive grassy foliage in late winter and early spring. They emerge from rhizomes ideally planted in early fall for bloom time the following spring. Virginia bluebells thrive when given partial shade and humus-rich, acidic soil that retains moisture well but also provides good drainage. Space clumps 12 to 15 inches apart.
Provide adequate winter chill period through natural ground freeze for proper bloom time next spring. Cut back faded flower stems to the basal leaves or allow foliage to die down naturally. Divide clumps every four to five years in spring to avoid overcrowding. Virginia bluebells naturalize well and slowly spread in shaded woodland gardens where their spring blooms add graceful beauty and color. These cheerful blooms signal the arrival of spring and herald a time of renewal as winter’s grip loosens from the landscape.
18. Bleeding Heart
Bleeding hearts produce pendulous clusters of heart-shaped pink flowers on arching stems in late winter through spring. Their unique flowers and elegant form make bleeding hearts a favorite addition to shaded gardens. Plant roots in early fall for bloom time next spring. Bleeding hearts grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade and in organic, moist, but well-draining soil.
Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart for optimum growth. Cut foliage back to the ground after bloom to encourage fresh new growth. Divide clumps every three to four years in spring to rejuvenate plants. Common pests include slugs and snails that damage foliage, and Japanese beetles that feed on flowers.
Handpicking pests when numbers are low is effective. Bleeding hearts naturalize and spread slowly by rhizomes requiring little care once established. Their cherry blooms signal the end of winter and the arrival of spring, adding elegant beauty and charm to partially shaded borders and woodland gardens. The unique pendant flowers literally seem to “bleed”, bringing life back to the garden after a long cold winter.
Cyclamen produce cheerful flowers in shades of red, pink and, white held above decorative, silver-flecked heart-shaped leaves. They bloom reliably from late winter into early spring. Grow cyclamen from tubers planted in early fall for bloom time the following spring. Cyclamen prefer partial shade and humus-rich but well-draining soil amended with grit or coarse sand.
Space tubers four to six inches apart and cover them with one to two inches of soil or growing medium. Water cyclamen sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Cut flower stalks down to basal foliage after blooms fade. Divide tubers every two to three years in spring to control overcrowding.
Allow foliage to die back naturally or cut just above the soil surface in summer before going dormant. Cyclamen slowly increase via offsets and make excellent additions to shaded borders, containers, and woodland gardens. The prettily marked heart-shaped leaves, along with cheerful blooms, provide visual interest for months and herald the arrival of warmer weather and spring.
Muscari or grape hyacinth produce dense spikes of violet-blue bell-shaped flowers rising above strappy green leaves in late winter and early spring. Their simple beauty comes from their tightly clustered blooms and contrasts with ornamental foliage. Plant bulbs in early fall for bloom time the following spring. Muscari grows best in full sun and well-drained neutral to slightly alkaline soils.
Space bulbs four to six inches apart and covers them with two times their depth in the soil. Once established, muscari will naturalize and spread slowly to form drifts of color in borders, between pavers, and in lawns. Cut back flower spikes once blooms fade to basal leaves. Allow foliage to die down naturally before cutting back.
Muscari goes dormant in summer, making them very low maintenance outside of bloom time. Their cheery display of tightly clustered blooms brings welcome color and optimism to gardens just when little else is in bloom during the bleak days of late winter and early spring.
Snowflakes or Leucojum vernum produce graceful nodding bell-shaped white flowers held above strappy leaves in late winter and early spring. These easy-care bulbs thrive in woodland conditions with partial shade and humus-rich moist but well-drained soil. Plant bulbs in early fall for bloom time the following spring. Space bulbs four to six inches apart and cover them with two times their depth in the soil.
Snowflakes spread slowly through offsets and will naturalize in borders or among other spring bulbs, producing larger drifts of white blooms over time. Allow foliage to die down naturally after blooms fade before cutting it back. Snowflakes go dormant during summer. Provide adequate winter chill for bulbs to break dormancy and initiate bloom in spring.
Spring flowers bring a simple yet serene beauty to early spring gardens just when color is needed most to lift spirits and usher in the promise of longer, warmer days to come.
- Daffodils provide a burst of cheerful color when a few other plants are blooming.
- Cyclamen produce cheerful flowers in shades of red, pink, and white held above decorative, silver-flecked heart-shaped leaves
- Lenten rose or Helleborus orientalis bear saucer-shaped colorful flowers in purple, white, pink, and bicolor from early spring into late spring.
Fill your garden beds with these easy-to-grow harbingers of spring. Their cheerful blooms will reward you with beauty, hope, and joy – signs that brighter days truly are just around the corner. Spring has sprung, and a new season of growth and renewal awaits in your garden!