Article by Arricca Elin SanSone, Taylor Mead for House Beautiful
© RomanKhomlyak – Getty Images
After a long, dark winter with plenty of grays and browns, you’re ready for some spring color! Whether you live in the snowy North or the sunny South or anywhere in between, spring means a renewal of your garden. Flowering plants are just what your winter-weary soul needs this time of year. If you’re planting a perennial, which returns for many years, or shrub, make sure it’s suited to your USDA Hardiness Zone (find yours here) so it can survive winters in your area. Spring-blooming bulbs must be planted in fall before the ground freezes (that’s as late as early December in some parts of the country). Some annuals can take a frost, but for those that aren’t as tough, you’ll want to plant them after the last expected frost date in your area; your local university coop extension service can advise you about that estimated date in your part of the country.
Here are our favorite spring-blooming flowers to brighten up your garden and celebrate the first day of spring.
These hardy bulbs often will pop up when snow is still on the ground in wintry climates. Crocuses must be planted in the fall for a spring show—and don’t be surprised if you find them where you didn’t plant them—like under a shrub! They’re tasty to rodents so they often dig them up and bury them elsewhere.
These classic springtime bulbs, which must be planted in the fall for spring blooms, are one of the first signs that spring finally has arrived! Their cheery yellow flowers are super-reliable. Rodents and deer will leave them alone.
These beautiful, fragrant flowers should be planted in the fall for spring blooms. Rodents won’t bother them (there’s a toxic substance in the bulbs, foliage, and flowers). Another plus? Their flowers last for weeks!
Primroses appear in very early spring in a rainbow of colors including white, canary yellow, deep purple, and pink. They’re easy, low-care perennials, which often bloom when snow is on the ground. There are many varieties, so make sure you buy one that’s a perennial that will survive winters in your region.
The bright yellow blooms of forsythia are a sign that spring is here. Older types can become quite leggy, so if you need to trim this shrub, do it right after flowering or you’ll cut off next year’s buds. Also, look for newer varieties that are more compact for smaller gardens.
Tulip bulbs must be planted in the fall for spring color. They’re technically a perennial, but they often fade after the first year, so they’re treated as annuals and planted every year. They’re also delectable to critters, so plant them in pots where rodents can’t dig or layered underneath less tasty bulbs such as daffodils.
7) Pansies and Violas
These adorable annuals come in bright, cheerful shades and last until summer’s heat fades them. They’ll tolerate frost—and even a mild freeze, so don’t be shy about planting them early in the spring.
8) Grape Hyacinth
These tiny bulbs, which you plant in fall for spring blooms, naturalize themselves quite easily, so you start with a few and end up with a whole swath of grape hyacinths in a few years! Rodents don’t bother them, and their cheery purple, pink or blue blooms last for weeks.
9) Sweet Alyssum
This dainty annual looks delicate, but it’s tough as nails. It doesn’t mind frost at all. As long as you keep it watered, it will bloom and bloom from spring until the first hard freeze in the fall. Now that’s a great investment!
If you’re looking for something a little more exotic in appearance, fritillaria are for you! These fall-planted bulbs bloom have unusual bell-shaped blooms that appear around the same time as tulips and daffodils. Rodents usually leave them alone. They’re typically treated as annuals because they don’t reliably return.
Rhododendrons have glossy leaves and bloom in late spring in shades of white, salmon, peach, pink, and purple. There are both evergreen and deciduous (which drop their leaves) varieties, so read the plant tag or description to be sure about what you’re buying.
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