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23 Early Spring Perennial Flowers (Vibrant Bloomers)

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

Like a paintbrush brightening up a dull canvas, spring perennials paint hope each spring. From flowers like daffodils to lilac shrubs, these plants bloom every year.

22 Best Early Spring Flowers

These early spring flowers bloom in early spring and they are all perennials, meaning that they will come back each year. These early spring bloomers will bring gorgeous flowers from early to late spring.  As perennial plants, they will bloom again the following spring.

Be sure to check your local USDA hardiness zone to learn which plants will work well for you.

1. Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)

hellebore growing in early spring

Lenten rose are hardy perennials with small cup-shaped flowers and dark green foliage. Also known as hellebore, these perennials are one of the first plants you will see blooming in early spring.

They produce rose-shaped blooms that come in dusky mauve, creamy yellow and even black. 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.

Bloom Time: Dec-April

Bloom Time: Dec-April

Light: Morning sun, partial shade

Cutting Flower: Yes

2. Grape Hyacinths

blue grape hyacinth

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 best 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.

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!

3. Bleeding Heart

pink and white bleeding heart on a great stem

Old fashioned and romantic, bleeding heart is an early spring perennial that loves shade. The heart shaped flower is a classic for cottage flower gardens and they can also grow as native plants in certain areas.

Puffy flowers are offset by vibrant pink and white hues, 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 other plants. Use well draining, rich soil and plant in shade to part shade.

Bloom Time: Mid Spring

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Light: Shade Or Partial Shade

Cutting Flower: No

4. Japanese Camellia

pink Japanese camellia

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

These perennial shrubs offer beautiful pink, white and red flowers and love cool spring weather. As large shrubs they feature 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.

Bloom: Late December to March

Hardiness Zones: Zones 7-10

Light: Partial shade

Cutting Flower: No

Get ideas for growing a winter flower garden here!

5. Crocus

purple crocus flowre

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 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 leaf stalks. Plant them alongside grape hyacinths, daffodils and tulips for a woodland garden effect.

Bloom Time: Late Winter

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Cut Flower: No

6. Daffodils

yellow 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. 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.

Bloom: Late Winter-Early Spring

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cutting Flower: Yes!

7. Columbine

bleeding heart growing as an early spring perennial

Romantic and charming, columbine are an easy to grow short-lived perennial. These hardy plants burst to life in early spring, available in a wide array of colors.

Plant columbine in a cool spot that has either partial or full sun. Once established, bleeding heart are drought tolerant! Get our complete guide to growing columbine here.

8. Tulips

white tulips growing in early spring

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

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.

Bloom: March-April

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes!!

9. Anemones

white anemone blooming in early spring

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.

Great drainage 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.

Bloom: Early Spring

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Light: Full Sun To Part Shade

Cut Flower: Yes

10. 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

11. Lilacs

purple lilac shrub

Fragrant and all round lovely, lilacs 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 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.

Bloom: March-April

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Short Lived

13. Snowdrops

white snowdrop flowers

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.

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Snowdrops are shade-loving plants and need protection from heat during the heat of summer.

Bloom: January-March

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Light: Sun-Part Shade

Cut Flower: No

14. Dogwood Trees

pink 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 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.

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

Bloom: Late March

Hardiness: Zones 5-7

Light: Sun-Part Shade

Cut Flower: No

15. Peonies

pink peony flowers in a field with green stems

Peony blossoms brighten up garden beds in mid-spring. These popular blooms come in an overwhelming variety of color and shapes. Though their flowers 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.

Bloom: May

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes

16. Azaleas

bright pink 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.

Bloom: Late March-May

Hardiness: Zones 6-9

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: No

17. Bearded Iris

red and yellow bearded iris flower

Early blooming bearded iris add an elegant pop of color to the spring landscape. These lovely 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!

Bloom: Early Spring- On

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Light: Full Sun Or Partial Shade

Cut Flower: Yes

18. Ranunculus (Buttercup)

pink ranunculus

Like tiny roses, ranunculus have 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, if you are lucky and live in one of these locations you can grow them as perennials.

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

Bloom: Late Winter-Early Spring

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 7-8

Light: Full Sun

Cut Flower: Yes

19. Snapdragons

pink snapdragons blooming in spring

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!

20. Primroses

Primroses are a classic flower that represent spring throughout the ages. 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

21. Pansies

purple pansy flower

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!

Bloom: Early Spring

Hardiness: Hardy In Zones 3-8

Light: Morning Sun

Cut Flower: No

22. 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

23. Forsythia

Forsythia is a yellow flowering perennial shrub that bursts on the scene each spring. This vibrant yellow shrub 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 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 full sun? What type of soil do you have? 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. Get our beginner’s guide to flower gardening here!

Conclusion

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

Let me 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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