The Best Flowers to Plant in Early Spring
While most early spring flowers need to overwinter in the ground to produce their trademark blooms when the weather warms, you can still plant a few seasonal beauties as the ground begins to thaw. The best part? Introducing a few of these varieties to your garden will extend your springtime show; after fall-planted blooms are through, a new wave of flowers will burst into color. Ahead, a few plants that will give you plenty to look forward to all season long.
Spring is a wonderful time to be in the garden, says Kip McConnell, the VP of Business Development at Southern Living Plant Collection. "Early spring is a terrific time to begin a landscaping project since the weather is turning warmer—but it's not too warm yet," he explains. "Now's the time to plan your garden beds, make note of light, water, and soil conditions, and begin preparing the yard for new plants." After the last frost of the season passes, you'll be ready to put a few new flowers in the ground. Some of his favorites are agapanthus, gardenia, and azalea.
If you're looking for instant gratification, McConnell recommends agapanthus, a fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant with stalks that produce an explosive flower head that resembles a summer sparkler. "Their bold blooms are packed with color and make for terrific cut flowers," he says, and recommends the Ever Sapphire or Little Blue Fountain varieties. The former, in particular, blooms early and re-buds with multiple spikes of deep periwinkle flowers, notes McConnell; the latter "brings a stunning blue-purple hue in a dwarf size, which is ideal for patio containers or cut flower gardens."
For an aromatic punch, consider planting "sweet-smelling flowers" like a spring-blooming variety of gardenia in your garden, McConnell says. These florals produce stunning white single blossoms with cheerful yellow centers. Varieties like ScentAmazing will begin opening in spring and should re-bloom through the fall; they boast dark evergreen foliage year round.
The bold beauty of the azalea is what makes it one of the most loved spring-blooming shrubs in the country, says McConnell; they add a dazzling display of color to the landscape. "Most varieties offer three to four weeks of blooms, but re-blooming ones, such as Encore azaleas, begin in early spring and showcase four to six months of flowers throughout the year." If you're hoping to see the fruits of your labor in early spring, McConnell suggest planting iterations like Autumn Belle or Autumn Starburst, since these fast-growing beauties offer bi-color blossoms early in the season. "Autumn Belle's rosy blooms are pink with red specks, while Autumn Starburst provides spectacular contrast with a coral star across crisp white flowers," he shares.