The countdown to spring has finally begun!
While the vernal equinox may mark the official first day of spring, we believe the true harbinger of spring is when we finally catch a glimpse of those early-blooming perennials that begin to brighten landscapes almost as soon as the ground thaws.
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Here are some of our favorite early-blooming perennials that will fill your garden with color as soon as the clock strikes spring:
These flowers are like cheery little charms dangling down the length of each branch. Bleeding hearts begin to fade when the days lengthen and the temperature warms, but don’t let that stop you from growing them. Simply plant them near later-emerging plants that will fill in the void as they wane.
Bloodroot is more of a ground cover, but its small, white flowers can really brighten a shady or woodland garden. After the flowers disappear, the blue-green leaves provide a nice foil for summer flowers and even make a nice carpet on their own. It can take several years for bloodroot plants to become established and start to spread, but they are fairly long-lived.
The heart-shaped leaves of false forget-me-nots often get more attention than its brilliant blue flowers. Whether you grow it for its flowers or its foliage, this is an easy plant to care for. Because this plant emerges so early, the leaves can get a bit tattered by summer. Simply cut them back and new leaves will fill in. It is a slow-growing plant, but it will eventually form a nicely sized clump.
These hardy flowers bloom as early in spring as they possibly can. If you are not particular about the color, you can find seed packets of mixed blends. You will have to wait a few years for seed-grown hellebores to bloom, but once they are established, they will be around for decades, and they will slowly spread. They are good shade garden plants and look fantastic paired with ferns.
Lungwort flowers hold their own intrigue. It gets a lot of attention for its flashy foliage, with its leaves that are dotted, speckled, and splashed with white and silver. The white flowers remain clear white while in bloom. In addition, there are flowers that start off pink and turn blue after they are pollinated so you have two different color flowers on one plant.
One of the most beautiful species of spring ephemerals are Virginia bluebells. There’s no denying their charm with their dangling clusters of tubular blue flowers. And much like lungwort, Virginia bluebell flowers do not actually start out blue. They begin as pink buds and turn blue later.
Creeping phlox is a colorful carpet of flowers that often spills across lawns or pours over rock walls. It is usually planted in large masses, making a big splash that literally turns heads. Creeping phlox comes in a few different pastel colors as well as bold pinks and pure white. The flowers do not last terribly long, but they put on quite a show when they arrive.
Solomon’s seal is eye-catching in a shade garden, with its arching stems and dangling flowers. And after the bloom is over, the glossy black seed pods add visual appeal. Because it is a short plant that flowers downward, Solomon’s seal looks best in large swaths that can spread out naturally in your garden bed.
What flowers are you looking forward to seeing bloom in your garden this spring? Head to our Facebook page and drop us a line—we’d love to hear from you!