9 Plants for Early Spring Color

9 Plants for Early Spring Color

pink trees   After a long, dreary winter, everyone is ready to start seeing flowers begin blooming in the spring. Enjoy these nine plants that will bring you fantastic spring color early in the season.


Eastern RedbudEastern Redbud  

Redbud - Cercis canadensis
One of the most famous spring bloomers, redbuds are one of the earliest spring blooming tree species. Renowned for their delicate flowers that bloom before the leaves emerge, redbuds are one of the first plants to indicate the start of spring. Often found as multi-stemmed understory trees, redbuds can be managed into a single-stem or a large shrub.

Notable characteristics:
* 20-30' tall, 15-20' spread
* Flowers in March and April
* USDA zones 4-9
* Best in full or partial sun  

Varieties to consider:
Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud - 10' in all directions, weeping form, purplish-pink flowers
Pink Heartbreaker Redbud - 10' in all directions, dense canopy, pink flowers
Royal White Redbud - 20-30' in all directions, white flowers


Snowbelle Mock OrangeSnowbelle Mock Orange

Mock Orange - Philadelphus spp.  
Considered to be one of the most winter hardy plants, mock orange blooms with beautiful, fragrant white flowers in early spring. Enjoy the sweet scent and watch as pollinators flock to your yard. An incredibly low-maintenance plant, enjoy mock orange as it blooms year after year every spring.  

Notable characteristics:
* Large, fragrant white flowers in April
* Green foliage
* Yellow fall color
* USDA zones 4-9
* Best in full sun  

Varieties to consider:
Miniature Snowflake - more petite (1-3' spread, 2-5' tall)
Snowbelle - Double flowers, 3-4' in all directions
Bouquet Blanc - high quantity of double flowers, 5-7' tall, 3-4' spread


May Day Tree May Day Tree

May Day Tree - Prunus padus 'European Bird Cherry'
Large white flower panicles emerge in late April-early May, near May Day. The fruits are small black fruits, adored by many birds. Enjoy the multi-stem quality of this tree, and the beautiful white spring flowers.  

Notable characteristics:
* 15 - 20' in all directions
* White flowers become small black fruits
* Yellow to red fall color
* USDA zone 3-7


Jane Magnolia Jane Magnolia

Magnolia - Magnolia spp.
Renowned for its large floral display, magnolia trees are the stars of the spring blooming period. Following the floral display, shiny green leaves emerge and become yellow in the fall. The large buds of the flowers persist all winter, providing some interesting texture during the winter.  

Notable characteristics:
* Large flowers in early spring
* USDA Zone depends on the variety
* Shiny green foliage in the summer
* Size varies based on variety  

Varieties to consider:
Butterflies - Yellow flowers, zone 4-9
Little Gem - White flowers, zone 7-9
* Jane - Pink flowers, zone 3-9 

Kousa Dogwood Kousa Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood Tree - Cornus florida
This plant's spring beauty is found in the delicate four-petaled flowers that unfurl in early April. It provides some interest every other season too, from brilliant green foliage in the summer, to red fall color, to unique gray twigs in the winter. But the show-stopping flowers are the real stars of this spring bloomer!  

Notable characteristics:
* Large flowers in the early spring
* USDA zones 4-9
* Size varies based on variety  

Varieties to consider:
Satomi Dogwood - pink flowers, bird-friendly berries, dark red fall color
Milky Way Dogwood - white flowers, bird-friendly berries, bright red fall color
Kousa Dogwood - white flowers, edible berries, unique branching structure


Hot Shot Girard Azalea Hot Shot Girard Azalea

Azalea - Azalea spp.
One of the most brilliant spring bloomers, azaleas are covered in flowers in the early spring, followed by green leaves in the summer into the fall. Beloved by many pollinators, having an azalea in the yard will help dispel those winter blues early in the season.  

Notable Characteristics:
* Variety of colors to choose from
* USDA zones vary based on variety
* Adaptable
*Can be evergreen in some zones  

Varieties to consider:
Autumn Coral Encore® Azalea Tree - Tree form, pink flowers, rebloomer
Ashley Marie Girard Azalea - rose pink flowers, abundant blooms
Hot Shot Girard Azalea - scarlet-orange flowers, more compact form 

Fothergilla Mount Airy Fothergilla Mount Airy

Mount Airy Fothergilla - Fothergilla major 'Mount Airy'
If fragrant white flowers are what you're looking for, Mount Airy Fothergilla is the plant you need. In the early spring, this shrub is covered in flowers smelling like honey and vanilla. After the profuse blooms fade, gray-green foliage is revealed, turning red, yellow and purple in the fall.  

Notable characteristics:
* Fragrant white spring flowers
* USDA zone 5-10
* Brilliant fall colors

Brunnera Jack Frost Brunnera Jack Frost

Brunnera - Brunnera macrophylla
Favored for its beautiful leaves, brunnera also has beautiful blooms in the spring. Delicate blue flowers erupt above the green and silver leaves and persist for a few weeks before receding. Enjoy the small flowers and the beautiful foliage of this plant from the spring into the summer.  

Notable Characteristics:
* Small blue flowers in the spring
* USDA zones 3-9 (species dependent)
* Green and white variegated foliage
* Deer resistant  

Varieties to consider:
Jack Frost Brunnera - Green margins, white centers on leaves
Emerald Mist Brunnera - Silver edging on the leaves
Brunnera ‘Variegata’ - White band with green centers on the leaves 

Dianthus Coconut Punch Dianthus Coconut Punch

Dianthus - Dianthus spp.
For a perennial of a smaller stature, consider using dianthus in your garden. Spicy, fragrant flowers erupt in the spring and persist all summer long. Dead-heading this plant results in a longer bloom period, and the foliage is considered to semi-evergreen, depending on what USDA zone you are in.  

Notable characteristics:
* Wide variety of flower colors
* Spicy fragrant flowers
* Semi-evergreen
* USDA zones 3-9, depending on species  

Varieties to consider:
Coconut Punch Dianthus - Burgundy flowers with white markings
Fire Star Dianthus - Brilliant red flowers
Fire and Ice Dianthus - Bright pink with lighter petal margins  


Each of these plants will help you chase away those winter blues with their bright flowers in the early spring. Consider using them in spaces to surprise your neighborhood and yourself when they come into bloom and watch them usher in the glorious springtime season! 

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