19 early spring flowers that bring sunshine

19 early spring flowers that bring sunshine

Early spring flowers are a sure sign that mild weather is on the way. These bulbs and perennials provide a splash of color before many other plants begin to fall off after a long winter. Once you spot these flowers, you’ll know it will soon be time to get back to work in your garden!

Pansy

Peter Cromhardt

Cool weather is what pansies prefer, as they thrive in cool spring or fall weather. This short-lived perennial is usually treated as an annual to provide color in flower beds, containers and window boxes in early spring. Petals can be almost any color, from white to almost black and everything in between.

Growing conditions: Full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil

measuring: It grows up to 10 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Regions: 4-8

Yellow trillium

Robert Cardillo

The yellow trillium is a true flower of early spring: once its flowers die off at the end of the season in June, the foliage recedes as well. However, its marbled leaves and delicate yellow-and-white flowers 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

measuring: It grows up to 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Regions: 5-8

Sea hellebore

Richard Hernesen

Also known as the Lenten rose or Christmas rose, hellebores produce early spring flowers of delicate beauty and surprising resilience. It can even tolerate a light frost in warm climates, making it one of the best flowers to plant in the spring. For unusual flowers, ask your nursery about double-flowered varieties.

Growing conditions: Shade in moist, well-drained soil

measuring: It grows up to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide

Regions: 4-8

Blood root

Bob Stefko

This herbaceous perennial primrose emerges in March, releasing small white flowers that persist until late spring. Bloodroot is well suited to a shady garden or woodland.

Growing conditions: Shade in moist, well-drained soil

measuring: It grows up to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Regions: 3-9

Greek wind flower

Jacob Fox

The Greek windflower grows from a firm, clumping tuber and is best planted in the fall. It is a type of anemone. This early spring flower produces daisy-like flowers for weeks and so profusely that they completely hide the fern leaves. You can find windflowers in shades of blue, pink, white, and even bicolor.

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

measuring: to 6 inches

Regions: 4-10

Poppy celandine

Randall Slider

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

Growing conditions: Shade or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil

measuring: Up to 2 feet tall

Regions: 4-8

Dutch breeches

Randall Slider

A type of bleeding heart, the flowers on Dutchman’s pants look more like an inside-out pair of pants than a heart (hence the name). The flowers of this early primrose 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

measuring: Up to 1 foot tall

Regions: 3-9

Grape hyacinth

Peter Cromhardt

Like any other spring bulbs, grape hyacinths herald the arrival of spring. The beautifully clustered flowers hang from sturdy stems resembling bunches of grapes. It is one of the best and most beautiful flowers that can be planted in the spring.

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

measuring: It grows up to 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

Regions: 4-8

saffron

David Speer

Signaling the end of winter with their beautiful pink, purple, yellow or white petals, crocuses are among the best early spring flowers. Crocuses are grown from corms (swollen stem bases that look a bit like tubers) and also range in size from delicate flowers to showier versions.

Growing conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

measuring: To 6 inches long and wide

Regions: 3-8

daffodil

Lynn Carlin

If it’s spring, it’s time to display daffodils. This bright and cheerful early spring flower has a range of shapes and sizes, including trumpet, small, large, and double flowers. Deer find it less appetizing than other spring plants, but the foliage should be left to die off on its own to rejuvenate the plants for the following year.

Growing conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

measuring: To 1 foot tall and wide

Regions: 3-9

Tulip

The fringed petals make the ‘Cool Crystal’ peony even more stunning.
Carson Downing

With a large variety of shades (including almost every color of the rainbow), tulips fit into a variety of garden settings, including formal border gardens and informal landscape gardens. There is a tulip for every gardener, from tiny 4-inch specimens to extravagant blooms several feet tall.

Growing conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

measuring: It grows up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide

Regions: 3-7

Winter aconite

Jason Donnelly

If the snow melts, you can be sure that the winter aconite is ready to bloom in your garden. Its growth time is limited (the plant dies back once spring transitions to summer), but its beautiful, early-opening spring flowers make it a masterpiece in the woodland garden.

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

measuring: To 3 inches long and wide

Regions: 4-9

Pushkinia

Carson Downing

The flowers of this tiny bulb have a sweet surprise inside: a distinct band of dark color running down the center of each tiny petal. Puschkinia is also known as the striped feather for this reason. Its long leaves make it a good companion for low spring growers like crocus.

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

measuring: It grows up to 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

Regions: 3-9

Virginia bluebells

Bob Stefko

The striking, bell-shaped blue flowers of the native Virginia Blue make it an outstanding early spring flower. Plant these perennials among other spring flowers, such as daffodils and tulips, for a truly magical display. At the beginning of summer, its leaves and blue flowers will die off, so be sure to plant some summer flowers nearby to fill the gap.

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

measuring: Up to 3 feet tall

Regions: 3-8

Marsh marigold

Cameron Sadeghpour

Also known as cow flower, swamp marigold flowers are nothing like traditional marigolds. The small, bright yellow flowers resemble wild ranunculus, a related plant to these native perennials that bloom in early spring.

Growing conditions: Full sun to part shade in constantly moist soil

measuring: Up to 3 feet tall

Regions: 3-7

Night trout

Andy Lyons

Very small compared to other lily species, the native trout lily bears gorgeous flowers in early spring that compensate for its smaller size. The plant will die back to the ground after it blooms, and come back again the following spring.

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

measuring: Up to 6 inches long

Regions: 3-8

Easter flower

Jay Wilde

These perennials begin producing buds each spring, even before their fern-like leaves fully unfold. Pasque roses don’t grow very tall, so if you’re planting them in a flower bed, place them in the front.

Growing conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

measuring: Up to 12 inches long

Regions: 4-7

Snow drop

Sandra Gerdes

Distinctive white flowers with green markings hang like talismans between the narrow leaves that sprout from small bulbs planted in the fall. Although they are small plants, snowdrops look stunning when grown in large groups. You can also enhance the effect by pairing it with purple rock garden iris that bloom at the same time.

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

measuring: 6-8 inches

Regions: 3-8

Claytonia

John Noltner

Claytonia not only produces small, beautiful flowers in early spring, but they are also edible. Also called miner’s lettuce, the leaves and flowers are edible and can be eaten like a salad greens.

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

measuring: Up to 12 inches long

Regions: 6-9

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