21 Early Spring Perennial Flowers (Vibrant Bloomers)

The monotonous gray landscape of late winter always has us yearning for color. Luckily, there are many early spring blooming perennial flowers that brighten up the landscape year after year!

Like a paintbrush brightening up a dull canvas, spring perennials paint hope each spring.

From perennial flowers to shrubs that bloom every year, enjoy this list of beautiful early spring flowering plants. (All of these plants will bloom again the next spring!).

Best Early Spring Flowers

These early spring flowers bloom in early spring and are all perennials:

Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)

Lenten rose are hardy perennials with small cup shaped flowers and dark green foliage. Hellebore are one of the first plants you will see blooming in early spring. These beautiful evergreen plants are also known as Christmas Rose or Winter Rose.

They produce dainty, rose shaped blooms that come in dusky mauve, pink and creamish yellow. Lenten rose enjoy partial shade and from our experience are very easy to grow.

Hellebore are one of our favorite early bloomers because they are hardy and reliable. After about three years of growth they are mature and produce a stunning show of flowers.

The delicate blooms survive cool weather, and will peak their pretty heads through frost and snow.

hellebore growing in early spring

Bloom Time: Dec-April

Bloom Time: Dec-April

Light: Morning sun, partial shade

Cutting Flower: Yes

Grape Hyacinths

Grape hyacinths are petite purple bloomers that flower prolifically. They are one of the first flowers to share their bright beauty with the world in early spring.

Grape hyacinth enjoy well drained soil and will bloom most prolifically in full sun, though they do tolerate part shade.

These beautiful miniature hyacinths spread prolifically, so be careful where you plant them. Available in blue, purple, white and yellow, they pair well with the bright yellow hues of daffodils.

blue grape hyacinth

Bloom Time: April-May

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Light: Sun Or Partial Shade

Cutting Flower: Yes

Read our list of full sun plants that bloom all summer right here!

Bleeding Heart

Old fashioned and romantic, bleeding heart is an early spring perennial that loves shade. The quintessential heart shaped flower is a classic for cottage flower gardens.

Puffy, petite flowers are offset by vibrant pink and white colors, all of which cascade from an arched stem. If spring romance was represented in a flower, bleeding heart would be it!

Bleeding heart flowers are delicate and cannot survive strong winds, so plant them in a shady area that is protected by a wall of your house or taller established plants. Use well draining, rich soil and plant in shade to part shade.

pink and white bleeding heart on a great stem

Bloom Time: Mid Spring

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Light: Shade Or Partial Shade

Cutting Flower: No

Japanese Camellia

Japanese camellia share their stunning blooms with the world in late winter and early spring.

These late winter perennials offer beautiful pink, white and red flowers and love cool spring weather. As large shrubs they features vibrant green leaves and offer an impressive show of flowers.

Camellias offer a wonderful splash of color when planted as border. They love to be planted slightly above the ground and need well draining soil. Learn how to plant camellia here.

pink Japanese camellia

Bloom: Late December to March

Hardiness Zones: Zones 7-10

Light: Partial shade

Cutting Flower: No

Crocus

Crocus poke their petite heads from the soil in early spring and add colorful purple, pink and yellow flowers to help beat the winter blues.

These little flowers are a welcome winter sight and can be grown as a ground cover for a massive display of cheerful color. (Plant bulbs in fall).

This early spring bloomer features whimsical star shaped flowers with long grass-like leaf stalks. Plant them alongside grape hyacinths, daffodils and tulips for a woodland garden effect. They thrive in sun and part shade with well draining soil.

purple crocus flowre

Bloom Time: Late Winter

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Cut Flower: No

Daffodils

No early spring flower list would be complete without the iconic yellow daffodil. Daffodils are bold and bright and can be planted en masse for an impressive floral display of color.

These beautiful perennials come in many different shades of color and make an excellent vase flower.

Planted from bulbs, daffodils require at least 6 hours of bright light in order to bloom. These spring-flowering bulbs are typically planted in fall.

Though most well known for their bright yellow flowers, daffodils also come in unique shades of cream, orange, pink and salmon tones. Find out what to do when daffodils stop flowering here.

yellow daffodils

Bloom: Late Winter-Early Spring

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cutting Flower: Yes!

Tulips

Tulips come in many flamboyant colors and thrilling shapes. They are standard spring bloomers and pair beautifully with daffodils, crocus, and other blooming flowers.

While tulips are considered a perennial, many varieties will not be as big and bold the second blooming season. (Read this article to help you select the right tulips for perennial growth).

Tulips are a favorite for window boxes and containers. Plant them in late fall for best results. Learn how to plant tulips here!

If you live in the Northwest be sure to visit the famous Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in the spring.

white tulips growing in early spring

Bloom: March-April

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes!!

Anemones

Anemones have beautiful ruffled petals and come in a rainbow of bright colors. These prolific bloomers boast a lovely ferny foliage that adds a lot of vibrancy and color to the spring garden.

Anemone are planted in the fall and though their blooms slow down in the summer, they start blooming again when temperatures cool.

Anemone are darling flowers that look charming in cottage styled gardening and rock gardens.

Well draining soil is essential for these beautiful bulbs as they rot easily if the soil is not well-drained. They tolerate both full sun and partial shade.

white anemone blooming in early spring

Bloom: Early Spring

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Light: Full Sun To Part Shade

Cut Flower: Yes

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell are a herbaceous perennial that bloom in early to mid spring and are known for their small, fragrant purple buds.

Bluebells make a beautiful little flower to grow en masse, covering a wide area and creating a gorgeous affect of sprawling color.

These spring-blooming perennials can be invasive, but are easily dug up and removed if they grow out of the desired area.

Bloom: March-April

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Partial To Full Shade

Cut Flower: No

Lilac

Fragrant and all round lovely, lilac are a favorite springtime flowering shrub.

Beautiful aromatic flowers cascade in a cone shape and bloom in shades of purple, pink and white.

When in full bloom lilacs make an impressive show, and though their blooming season is short lived, we think these plants showcase the beauty and exuberance of spring perfectly.

Lilac shrubs bloom from mid April to early June. By selecting different varieties you can grow an impressive display of fragrant floral lilac blooms for several months. (Keep in mind that you need full sun for these shrubs to bloom generously.)

Visit the Hulda Klager Lilac Garden in SW Washington for a spring infusion of flowers and inspiration for your own garden!

purple lilac shrub

Bloom: March-April

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Short Lived

Snowdrops

Snowdrops are small white flowers that dangle daintily from bright green stems. They bloom with one single flower from January to March.

When planted en masse these dainty flowers make an impressive angelic show in the perennial garden. Snowdrops boast beautiful pure white flowers and are one of the earliest bulbs to bloom. They will often peak their heads from the ground when snow still abounds.

Snowdrops are shade-loving plants and need protection from heat during the warmer parts of the year.

white snowdrop flowers

Bloom: January-March

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Light: Sun-Part Shade

Cut Flower: No

Dogwood Tree

Dogwood trees are beautiful spring bloomers that flower in an impressive display of vibrant color. Though pink dogwoods are very popular, they also come in white and more rarely, yellow.

The star-shaped flowers last for weeks. If you are looking for a small tree that blooms beautifully and adds gorgeous foliage to your garden, consider the dogwood tree.

Dogwood thrive in morning sun or dappled afternoon light. In their natural habitat, they typically grow beneath taller foliage.

pink dogwood tree

Bloom: Late March

Hardiness: Zones 5-7

Light: Sun-Part Shade

Cut Flower: No

Peonies

Beautiful and oversized peony blossoms brighten up garden beds in mid spring. Peonies come in an overwhelming variety of color and shapes. Though their blooms only last for 7-10 days, these gorgeous flowers are coveted worldwide.

Peonies make an excellent cutting flower. Learn how to harvest them at the right time for beautiful bouquets.

For best results, plant peonies in full sun and make sure they have well draining soil. Once established, peonies will offer beautiful blooms year after year with very little work on the gardener’s part.

Select early blooming varieties for flower blooms in May.

pink peony flowers in a field with green stems

Bloom: May

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes

Azaleas

Azaleas are a popular flowering shrub that come in a variety of bold flower colors. While there are many varieties of azaleas, some begin blooming in early to mid March.

You can find azaleas in compact shrub varieties, making them a perfect border plant for the spring season. Azaleas thrive in full sun and bloom most prolifically where there is lots of light.

This popular flowering shrub can tolerate part shade, but will not bloom as abundantly without 6 or more hours of light.

bright pink azaleas

Bloom: Late March-May

Hardiness: Zones 6-9

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: No

Bearded Iris

Elegant and dramatic, early blooming bearded iris add pops of color to the spring landscape. These lovely iris flowers come in an array of color, shape and form.

With ruffled petals and rich colors, bearded iris make quite a statement in the flower garden. They are also deer resistant, making them a wonderful addition for a rural home.

Look for varieties that bloom in early spring. Plant bearded iris in full sun with well draining soil and enjoy the show!

red and yellow bearded iris flower

Bloom: Early Spring-Late Summer

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Light: Full Sun Or Partial Shade

Cut Flower: Yes

Ranunculus (Buttercup)

Like tiny roses, ranunculus have paper thin layered petals that come in a variety of bright colors.

These spring growing flowers are popular among florists but they have recently made a splash in home gardens as well. Cheerful and quirky, they make for a fun and vibrant spring.

Ranunculus make excellent cutting flowers and have a long vase life. They are winter hardy in zones 8-10, so if you are lucky enough to live in one of these locations you can grow cheerful ranunculus as perennials.

Plant in light well draining soil and enjoy in raised beds, containers and window boxes.

pink ranunculus

Bloom: Late Winter-Early Spring

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 7-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes

Snapdragons

Unique and captivating, snapdragons are an early blooming flower that can be grown as short lived perennials. You will likely get two seasons out of snapdragons if you live in a zone with temperate climates.

These beautiful long stemmed bloomers attract bees and butterflies and make gorgeous cut flowers for a home made spring bouquet. Snapdragons will bloom again in the fall as they love cooler weather!

Snapdragons can also be grown in containers and set in a shed or garage to overwinter.

Bloom: Early Spring

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 7-11

Light: Full Sun To Partial Shade

Cut Flower: Yes!

Primroses

Primroses are a classic flower that have represented spring throughout the ages. They are used as cheerful garden ornaments in early spring. There are over 400 varieties of primroses, most of which bloom in early spring and keep blooming for months thereafter.

Primroses are a great way to brighten up borders, containers and window boxes, and they will bloom again the following year. Keep primroses in a shady, cool spot over summer so that you will be able to enjoy them early next spring.

Bloom: Early Spring

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 4-8

Light: Partial Shade

Cut Flower: No

Pansies

Cheerful and vibrant, pansies brighten up flower beds everywhere in early spring. Pansies are biennials, which means they will grow for two seasons.

These flowers love cold temperatures and are often seen adding color to the world at the same time as primroses. Pansies come in a wide array of color: yellow, purple, blue, pink, orange and even black. They are fragrant with a light, sweet scent.

Plant in a location that gets morning sun and afternoon shade with moist soil and proper drainage.

As my 8 year old daughter says, pansies are amazing because they are small, cheap and easy to grow. They are colorful and fun… plus they smell pretty!

purple pansy flower

Bloom: Early Spring

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 3-8

Light: Morning Sun

Cut Flower: No

Star Of Bethlehem Flower

Star Of Bethlehem are a petite white flower in the shape of a star. They grow on vibrant green stalks and bloom in clusters, like a bright constellation of stars in a sky of green grass.

Growing in clusters, you’ll see this bulb burst into bloom in late April. Because of how prolifically they can spread, some consider Star Of Bethlehem flowers to be a weed. We have found success containing them in a designated garden bed with a border.

white star of Bethlehem flower with green foliage

Bloom: Late April

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 4-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: No

Forsythia

Forsythia is a yellow flowering perennial shrub that bursts on the scene each spring. This vibrant burst of yellow is quite dramatic and can be a real infusion of spring joy for the home gardener!


Forsythia are shrubs that need trimming right after they bloom to keep them under control. They are a popular hedge flower and thrive in full sun.

Bloom: Late March

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes

Tips For Growing Early Spring Perennial Flowers

Create a beautiful spring garden that BLOOMS for you all season long with these tips. Here are our best ideas for creating a flower bed that blooms all spring:

  • Get to know your zone and micro climate. Before designing your spring growing flower garden, research your zone. Next, do a study on your specific micro climate. Is your planting area full shade? Or does it get lots of sun? How much rain do you get? These questions will help you determine what plants will bloom well for you.
  • Make a list of the plants that grow well in your zone and take note of their bloom times. Use a calendar to line out the time of bloom per plant in each month of spring.
  • To add dimension, consider adding flowering trees and shrubs to your perennial garden. The height and width of various shrubs will add interest and variety, as well as shade in the summer for heat sensitive plants. Dogwood trees, lilacs, rhododendron and camellia are all wonderful options.
  • Lastly, go slow and don’t hesitate to add a few flowers or plants year by year. You don’t have to plant it all in one season, so view your landscape as a beautiful canvas that will grow in color over time.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed visiting with us today and learning all about perennial flowers that bloom.

Let us know in the comments what your plans are for planting flowering spring perennials, and as always comment with any questions you have.

Happy planting!

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