Early Blooming Spring Flowers: Tips and Guides

Everything You Need to Know About Early Blooming Flowers: Types, Tips, and Guides

Who doesn’t love spring? Aside from the fact that you can’t throw away those extra layers of clothes that make it impossible to get around, it’s time for new gardening opportunities that will make your yard look and feel forever young. Like with every other season, spring brings its fair share of beautiful flowers, each more vivid and more beautiful than the former. What are your options to get amazing-looking flowers from the warm season’s get-go, you ask?

Tips for a Beautiful Spring Garden

Everyone who is the least bit passionate about gardening sees spring as the opportunity to showcase their skills and bring forth vibrating colors, and a yard to die for. To make the best out of this opportunity, let us give you some ideas on how to plan your garden for the upcoming spring.

You Can Cheat the Calendar

Closeup of Calendar Page

Early blooming spring flowers are a great way to cheat the calendar and have a garden to envy right from the very start. Early bloomers are like gardening steroids: they will make your garden stand out as soon as winter is over.

The best part about early bloomers is that they are super-affordable, which is nice because you need to plant a lot of them to actually make a statement. Consider snowdrops, for example. They don’t grow very tall, but they do have this interesting bell-shape, and can bloom as early as January.

Fun fact: In some countries, such as Romania, snowdrops are considered the first sign of spring, and are immediately plucked and offered to girls and women on the first of March, as a sign of gratitude for them making everyone’s lives better.

If you feel that snowdrops make your garden too white and not at all in the spring spirit, opt for flowers such as glory-of-the-snow, which adds shades of pink and blue to your garden. Plus, they have this cute star shape.

Containers are Your Friends

Another way to get a great start and have flowers right at the start of spring is to opt for planting flowers in containers, and keep them in your garage until they’re ready to be planted in the ground.

You can opt for planting in hanging baskets, which are super easy to maneuver and bring out when ready. It’s fairly easy to find containers plants that can thrive in early spring temperatures, like petunias.

Also, plants such as violas can withstand early spring frosts, so plan ahead considering how spring manifests itself in the area where you live.

Know How to Pair

Gardeners hands planting flowers in pot with dirt or soil at back yard

When you carefully pair your plants, you have much better chances of ending up with an exhibit-worthy type of garden. Interplanting leads to a multitude of different flowers thriving in early spring conditions.

Carefully dig your way through the harden and plant hardy annuals that don’t mess with the large bulbs you’ve planted last fall. You can pair primroses and tulips, scented stock and daffodils, and even sweet alyssum and Dutch iris.

Types of Early Blooming Spring Flowers

Spring flowers have a way of cheering people up. But in order to truly have a marvelous spring garden, it’s important to know the different categories of flowers that can enhance the beauty of your yard and make every neighbor jealous.

  • Perennials: Perennial plants such as pasque flowers will bloom right around Easter time. You can also opt for lenten rose, which can be seen from a distance, as they grow up to 24 inches in height. Adonis is another great spring flower, complimenting your snowdrops with their beautiful shade of yellow.
  • Shrubs and trees: Witch hazel blooms early and can survive from November all the way to May next year (it can also bloom during winter or very early in spring). Pussy willow is a wild shrub that can make an entrance right in the dead of winter. Magnolia trees can also compliment a spring yard, as they are some of the earliest flowering trees of the year.
  • Bulb plants: There are many different bulb plants that give you a head start in your spring gardening endeavors. Snowdrops are perfect, especially when paired with daffodils. Crocus blooms at just about the same time as snowdrops, while Siberian squill can decorate your garden in April (plus, their shade of blue creates the perfect contrast in a spring garden filled with yellow and white flowers).
  • Ground covers: Sometimes, it’s not just about the flowers, but also about the other gardening elements that brings forth your skills and knowledge as a gardener. For instance, you can choose creeping phlox, which are perfect additions to your garden because they grow small and dense flowers. Winter jasmine gives your yard a vinier look, and makes for a great spring ground cover because it blooms early in March.

Best Early Blooming Spring Flowers

group of crocus flowers in the early spring garden, copy space in the brown background

Time to examine some of the most popular early bloomers that are favorites because of their high success rate, plus the fact that they are easy to tend to before they actually bloom.

But before we get started, let’s explain the concept of the USDA plant hardiness zone map. In 2012, the USDA released a color-coded map that will provide the information gardeners need in order to determine which plants can grow in which specific locations across the USA.

The map was created with the knowledge related to average winter temperatures and divides the territory of America into 13 different zones (labeled from 0 to 12). This map stands as a useful guide for gardeners who aren’t sure if a plant they’ve never worked with will thrive in their particular region.

This is important for you to know, because plant-related information will often give you pointers about which USDA zone is recommended (for instance, Hellebore is an early blooming spring perennial that thrives in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9).

Bloodroot

  • Bloodroot falls in the ground cover category.
  • It blossoms into small white flowers, covering a bed of blue-green leaves.
  • It is available in single and double-flowered varieties.
  • Bloodroot requires plenty of organic matter to thrive, preferably leaf mold. This keeps the root of the plant moisturized, while leaving the soil with drainage ability. The idea is to mimic forest soil, as that its normal habitat.
  • It prefers shade but can also stand partial sun.
  • In spring, flowers grow about 6 inches tall, and about one foot high by the end of summer.

Adonis

Adonis vernalis - beauty yellow spring flowers in Slovak Karst

  • It is a hardy perennial and hardy annual plant that can grow anywhere in between four and 18 inches in height.
  • The seeds are best sown outdoors, with about 15 to 30 inches of spacing in between them.
  • Seeds should be sown in autumn for perennials and in spring for annuals.
  • Adonis loves shade but can also thrive in sunlight if the soil is constantly moist.
  • If you plant the perennials in autumn, it takes them about one to four months to germinate, so your can enjoy their early spring bloom.

Witch Hazel

  • Witch hazel is an early blooming spring flower with a very specific fragrance.
  • The best choices for early spring bloomers are the Hamamelis vernalis varieties.
  • The flowers are best planted in an open space of your garden, as they prefer plenty of sunlight.
  • They thrive in free-draining soil, with a lot of organic matter.
  • They should never be planted in waterlogged or frozen soil. The best time for planting in between October and April.
  • It usually takes about two to three years for witch hazel to reach maturity. During this time, the flowers have to be watered regularly, especially in dry periods.

Hellebore

Group of multi-colored hellebores grown in winter

  • Hellebore has very bold foliage, in a dark green shade that can sometimes overwhelm the flowers.
  • You can plant these flowers anytime from autumn to spring. Whatever you do, don’t plant them during dry summer months.
  • They are commonly used to decorate borders and edges in early spring.
  • They thrive best in areas with full sun or light shade, but the soil should never be too dry (there are exceptions, such as Helleborus foetidus, which thrives in deep shade).
  • The soil should be evenly moist, with plenty of garden compost or manure soil conditioner.
  • During their first growth season of spring and summer, hellebore needs regular watering.

Magnolia trees

  • Magnolias are one of spring’s emblems, with their beautiful vivid colors.
  • Magnolia is a tree that makes flowers with a very strong fragrance.
  • These trees require plenty of sun, but they can thrive in areas with light shade if need be.
  • They are best planted in an area of your garden that has at least a few hours of sun every day.
  • They also require plenty of room to grow, so don’t plant them in very crowded areas.
  • Magnolia trees require slightly acidic soil with plenty of moisture. If you live in a rainy climate, that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Before planting, the seeds should be peeled of their outer shells. Some gardeners suggest scrubbing the seeds using sandpaper, to remove the coat and make the seed more suitable for germination.
  • You can plant the seeds directly into the ground, or in a pot that allows later seedling transplant into your garden.
  • The tree has to be watered about two or three times per week during its first two trimesters of seedling life (unless you live in a rainy climate, in which case you should be covered).
  • Note that it takes quite some time for magnolia trees to grow. On average, the tree grows about one or two feet every year.

Snowdrops

Snowdrop blooming in spring

  • Snowdrops are best planted in early fall, so that you can enjoy their blossoms in early spring. The bulbs are only available for sale for a short period of time, so plan ahead to make sure you are ready to enjoy them by the next spring season.
  • They are some of the world’s most preferred early blooming spring flowers because they don’t require any pruning or training and are pest-free flowers. In fact, probably the most dangerous “predator” that snowdrops ever have to deal with is squirrels digging up the dry bulbs.
  • Despite the fact that they are dormant during the summer, snowdrops enjoy summer shade.
  • Plant them in areas with well-drained soil, preferably under trees and shrubs.
  • Since they blossom early in the year, plant them in areas where you can spot them quickly.
  • For the best-looking displays, plant the bulbs along pathways, next to the walls of your house, and always plant them in groups of 10 or more, so that you can enjoy white beautiful patches of flowers.

Tulips

  • Tulips are another famous type of early blooming spring flower, associated with Holland landscapes filled with tulip fields and windmills in the background.
  • These flowers thrive in regions with cold winters and dry summers.
  • Tulips can blossom anytime during the spring, depending on the variety chosen.
  • They are best planted in areas with full sun, in well-drained soil.
  • There are certain varieties of taller tulips that should be planted in areas sheltered from the wind, as the flowers will break otherwise.
  • It’s best if you opt for a generous planting site, as you’ll have to space the bulbs with about four to six inches in between.
  • The best time to plant tulips is about seven weeks before the first hard frost.
  • It’s important to plant the bulbs as soon as you acquire them, because they die very fast when kept above the ground.
  • Tulips require watering once per week, so if you live in a rainy climate, that shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you live in areas with plenty of summer rain, there are changes that tulips will die. That’s because the bulbs are very sensitive to rot and disease.

Crocus

Purple Crocus flowers blooming in spring

  • With its beautiful shade of purple, crocus is yet another spring messenger.
  • Crocuses are best planted in the fall, before the ground freezes.
  • They can thrive in just about any spot, except for dense shade.
  • Much like tulips, crocus bulbs will rot in excessively moist soil, so it’s best to plant it in well-drained ground.
  • Because crocus flowers are dense and look astonishing, they are best planted in spread areas, such as meadows or lawns, where they can form carpets of flowers. They are also suitable for planting around the edges.
  • Crocus requires fertilizing after being planted in the fall if you have short springs in your area.
  • It’s important to water crocus flowers during the autumn, but only in the soil gets dry.
  • The beds should be covered in mulch before winter, but mulch should be removed at the end of February, to give crocuses a chance to come through.

Glory-of-the-snow

  • Glory-of-the-snow is a very easy-to-recognize type of flowers, because it’s shaped like a start, and typically has six petals colored in pink, white, or blue.
  • Since it is a plant native to rocky mountain sides, it is tolerant to drought, and over-watered soil can drown the bulb.
  • The flowers blossom in early spring, but their foliage dies quite fast. Once flowering is finished, the foliage goes dormant.
  • It’s best to plant the bulbs in areas with partial shade or in direct sunlight.
  • Compost is best for the bulb, just make sure planting is done with three inches apart of spacing.
  • The plant is very easy to care for, as it only requires watering if it doesn’t rain in spring, and fertilizing should be done during the same season, to make sure the flowers grow beautifully.
  • If you plant the flowers from seeds, it takes longer to grow.

Conclusion

There are plenty of early blooming spring flowers to choose from: some of them quite easy to care for, while other being more recommended to advanced gardeners. Early bloomers are the perfect way to bring one’s garden to life without having to wait for full-blown heat to make an entrance.

You can also consider early bloomers that grow in containers and can then be transplanted into the soil later on, to ensure they don’t freeze during the harsh winter.

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