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Spring Blooming Plants – My Favorite 22 Picks for an Early Bloom – Updated

There a many Spring Blooming Plants that arrive very early in the year. Some even peek through the last of the winter snow.

Some early spring bloomers can even take the last of winter snow and cold temps and still start to grow.

From bulbs, to annuals and perennials, the array of early spring bloomers is long.

With spring right around the corner and daylight savings soon to come, this list of spring blooming plants will give you some idea of what to be on the lookout for this year for your spring garden.These are 20 of my favorite spring blooming plants. These plants, shrubs and trees are the earliest flowers to appear in the garden after a long cold winter and welcome spring in a dramatic way.

What flowers bloom in spring?

The answer is a simple one.  Plants that give off a show of early spring color are those that don’t mind the cold.

Spring weather is so variable. One day it feels like winter and the next it seems like a summer day. These plants can deal with this fluctuation of weather.

After a long and cold winter, most gardeners are really looking forward to the first flowers of spring in their garden. Growing perennial plants and bulbs is a great way to get that color without extra work in the spring.

Thankfully, Mother Nature does not disappoint us with a wide array of flowers that bloom in spring since they don’t the cold. Are you ready for spring?  Check out my early spring gardening check list here.

Some plants are annuals (a few…most annuals love the heat of summer), and many are perennials, bulbs and even flowering trees and shrubs. I’ve put together a collection of my 20 top picks. I bet some of them are on your list of favorites, too.

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and get ready to welcome spring with these flowers that bloom in spring.

Shopping list for early spring blooming plants

Print out this shopping list and take it with you when you shop for spring plants. All of these can take some cold and will give a show of bloom in early spring.

Shopping list for early spring blooming plants

Spring blooming Flowers Gallery.

If you are looking for flowers to plant in spring, this collections of plants will be sure to brighten up your yard this spring.  Why not plant a few of them this year?Early Spring Blooming Plants that can take the cold

Spring blooming plants – Annuals

Even though these plants have to be planted each year, they are quite long lived and will flower for a long period of time.


This cool loving plant is right at home in the earliest spring days. The plant is an annual and looks great as a border or window box plant.  It comes in a few colors for variety and can also be planted for fall color after other flowers have stopped blooming.

The brightly colored throats look almost like a person!

See my tips for growing pansies and some ideas for landscaping with them.

Pansies love the cold of early spring.


Many nurseries sell dianthus as an annual, but I have no problem at all getting it to come back each year as a perennial. The brightly colored blossoms with contrasting centers makes a great clumping plant.

It will slower all spring and looks great in any garden bed, either as a mounding or border plant. See tips for growing dianthus here.Dianthus makes a great mounting plant in early spring.

Fan Flower

Although classified as a tender perennial, scaevola aemula is often grown as an annual.

The plant has half flower blooms and can really take the heat. Find out how to grow fan flower here.

Fan flower with pink blooms.


Get a jump-start on color in your garden by planting snapdragons in your garden beds. These showy cold tolerant annuals also do well in pots, planters and hanging baskets.

White snapdragons


Even though we see these annuals in gardens all through the summer months, petunias actually prefer temperatures on the cooler side to give off the best show of color.

They come in all sorts of colors, including some stunning bi-color varieties.petunials can take the color well

Spring blooming Plants – Bulb Flowers

The early spring bulbs need to be planted in the fall in order for them to get the period of cold that is needed for establishing the plants. (summer flowering bulbs can be planted in spring.)


From as young as I can remember, my mother had irises growing in the early spring. These lovely bulbs bring a dramatic look to an early garden, and are one of the showiest of early spring blooming plants.  

They are very easy to care for and some have even been hybridized to be re-bloomers later in the summer.  

All that is needed in spring is a bit of a clean up around last year’s foliage and you are ready to start over again for another year. Irises come in a wide variety of colors. Some are bearded and ruffled for a glorious show in early spring.Irises are one of the early spring bloomers


What early spring garden would be complete without the earliest of spring blooming plants?  Daffodils poke their heads up in my yard in early February and will flower all through the month as long as we don’t get a hard freeze.

Daffodils make great cut flowers and are one of the earliest of bloomers in my spring garden.

Plant daffodils in the fall to get a lovely surprise in very early spring. They make great cut flowers, too!  Daffodils bulbs should be planted in the fall to maximize the spring blooms.


These beautifully colored perennial bulbs announce the arrival of spring in a majestic way. Their flowers have lovely trumpet shaped clusters on sturdy stalks. They make wonderful cut flowers.Grape Hyacinths trumpet in the arrival of spring.

My hyacinths arrive in the weeks between daffodils and tulips. Plant hyacinth bulbs in autumn and enjoy them in early spring. They can also be forced indoors.


“Goodbye winter and hello spring” say these early blooming spring bulbs. Crocuses come in pink, yellow, white and purple and are planted in corms.  

The range in size from delicate miniatures to larger, more showy blooms. When you see crocuses poking through the snow, you know that spring is not long.

Crocus flowers in the snow.


Each spring, right after the hyacinths start to fade in my front border, I look forward to the tulips giving me a dramatic show.

The main problem with growing tulips in a garden is dealing with squirrels. See how to keep squirrels from digging up bulbs here.

The colors are the most vibrant of those in my early spring garden. They don’t last long but give me so much pleasure when they are blooming.tulips flower right after hyacinths in my garden

Find out more about planting and caring for tulips here.

Lily of the Valley

When I was a little girl, I used to play with the neighborhood kids on a near by street that had a little stream. (Yes, you used to be able to let your kids do that in those days!)

There were rows and rows of lovely white lily of the valley plants that grew there every year in early spring.

I keep planting them every year in different areas of my garden just hoping, against hope, that they will grow. Alas, they like a cooler climate. But if you have one, try growing these delicate flowers.Lily of the valley likes a cool climate.

Spring blooming flowers – Perennials

Plant these early blooming perennials once and enjoy them year after year.  Older plants will benefit from dividing if the center of the crown starts to die back.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox gives your garden bed and pretty and colorful spring carpet with pretty pastel shades of many colors.  This long lasting, aromatic, and showy flowers have become a staple in today’s spring landscapes.

Some varieties flower later, as well. There is also a summer blooming variety which is more upright than the creeping variety of phlox.

creeping phlox


Glossy puckered leaves and brightly colored flowers with vibrant throats are the characteristics of this early spring bloomer.  

I have one primrose plant in my front shady garden bed that has been flowering all during February here in NC. It brings promise of the warmer weather to come.
Primrose flowers in very early spring, about the time of the daffodils.

Some early spring blooming perennials will even grow in the snow!


Hellebores are also known as Lenten Roses. They produce spring flowers in very delicate hues that are very resilient to the cold weather. It is not at all unusual to see them blooming with snow still on the ground.  

Read more about hellebores here.  They come in single and double bloom varieties and can tolerate light frosts.

Some varieties have low blooming clusters of flowers and others have the cluster that sits well above the leaves.  The self seed readily, too.

Helleborus perennial

Hellebores are evergreen, but the leaves can get pretty ratty over the year. See my tips for pruning hellebores here.


My birth flower is a an English daisy, so I am fond on any flower that looks like this pretty flower.  Gazanias are brightly colored daisy like flowers with vibrant stripes that make a really great show in an early spring garden.  

They are very easy to grow and come back year after year if you live in the warmer zones 8b-11a. My plants flower in mid spring and continue to give a show of color all summer and fall.

Find out more about growing gazania here.

Gazanias flower all spring and summer

Bleeding Heart

If you love the look of romantic flowers, a bleeding heart is perfect for you. These exquisitely shaped heart shaped flowers have drops that hang below them to give them their common name.

Bleeding hearts love the shady spot in your garden and don’t like the heat too much. They flower best is early spring. Bleeding hearts love the shade garden


There is nothing quite like the look of lupine flowers with their heads held high above their leaves. Lupines are known for their love of cool weather and they thrive in early spring.

The showy blooms are something to behold. Start them from seed, but they can be a touch finicky to get established. Lupines are considered a short lived perennial (two to five years.)Lupines love the cool temperatures of early spring.


The common name for this showy perennial is a blanket flower. And blanket your garden bed it does.  The look of gaillardias is similar to gazanias and daisies.  The bees and butterflies love this pretty perennial.

This perennial is very easy to grow. See my tips for growing galliardia here.
Gaillardia is also known as blanket flower

Spring flowering plants – shrubs that have a gorgeous display of early flowers.


Some of the prettiest spring blooming plants are azaleas.  One of my fondest memories from my early days here in NC was a family trip to Georgia in early spring to see the Azaleas in bloom.

As soon as I saw them, I knew that I would have them in my garden.

I have a bed of them under a pine tree (they like the acid soil there) that gives me a spectacular show right after the spring bulbs have finished.  The come in single and double flowers and all sorts of lovely shades.

Prune them after flowering for best results, since next year’s flowers comes on old wood.Azalea bushes flower right after the spring bulbs are done


I look forward with so much anticipation to my forsythia bushes blooming in very early spring.  I have a forsythia hedge in my yard that covers a chain link fence line and it is just amazing looking.

The bushes flower before they get leaves and they show up right about the time that the daffodils do. For more information on forsythias, check out these articles:

Spring is also the best time to tackle the job of pruning forsythia. If you wait until later in the year, you will cut off all those buds wait to bloom!

Don’t forget spring flowering trees!

Spring blooming plants are not always small and shrubs and perennial plants are not the only source of flowers in early spring. There are some amazing blossoms on trees, too!

Flowering Magnolia

Every year in early spring we have a warm spell and my magnolia tree comes into full bloom.

And it also seems that the warm spell is following by a late freeze that kills all the blossoms. This happened to me again last week.  It is such a disappointment, but I’ve gotten used to enjoying the flowers while I have them!My flowering magnolia gets hit by a later freeze every year!

Flowering Dogwood.

One of the most commonly used flowers in the making of vintage jewelry is the dogwood flower.  It was used over and over again by mid century designers of vintage jewelry.

Since I also have an Etsy store that specializes in this type of jewelry, a flowering dogwood has always been a favorite early flowering tree of mine.


Flowering Apricot

Last, but by no means least on my list of early spring flowers are those that are borne on apricot trees.  It is a delight for me to drive around Raleigh in March to see the roadsides lined with apricot trees in flower. They are a sight to behold!flowering apricot

What is your favorite early spring flower?  I’d love to see some photos of it in the comments below!

Would you like a reminder of this list of spring blooming plants?  Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.These annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees are some of the best spring blooming plants for your garden.

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in March of 2017. I have updated the post to include more photos, a printable shopping list and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: Great selection of plants that flower in early spring

Shopping List for Spring Blooming Plants

Shopping List for Spring Blooming Plants

This list of plants will flower in early spring, giving loads of color after the dead winter period.

Active Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Difficulty moderate


  • Print out this list and take it shopping with you when you plan to purchase plants that will flower early.


  • Printer
  • Stock card paper



  1. Pansies
  2. Dianthus
  3. Snapdragons
  4. Petunias


  1. Irises
  2. Daffodils
  3. Hyacinths
  4. Crocus
  5. Tulips
  6. Lily of the Valley


  1. Creeping Phlox
  2. Primrose
  3. Hellebore
  4. Gazania
  5. Bleeding Heart
  6. Gaillardia
  7. Lupines (short lived perennials)


  1. Azaleas
  2. Forsythia


  1. Dogwood
  2. Magnolia
  3. Apricot

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Jess Reiss

Wednesday 22nd of August 2018

The white flowers with pink centers is tall phlox (phlox paniculata) which blooms in late summer. Gaillardia blooms in summer as well. Gazania is kind of cheating since it's an annual everywhere except zones 8&9.


Saturday 16th of March 2019

Carol is correct - dianthus is the white flower with dark pink center pictured.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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