Ask a Master Gardener: Spring Flowering Favorites

Phyllis — Mar 08, 2022

I hate to write this if you’re in a place that’s still cold or maybe covered in snow, but in my area, March has brought unusually warm weather and everything is beginning to wake up. Over the years, my goal has been to have blooming plants through all the seasons. This task does take some effort on the gardener’s part, so for spring, I’ve put together a list of plants that are guaranteed to make you smile and enhance your early spring garden!

If you’re wanting to plant early-blooming trees, the Jane Magnolia would certainly be on that list. Flaunting tulip-shaped, purple-pink flowers and a more compact size, this vibrant pick is perfect for smaller landscape spaces. Between its gorgeous color, cold hardiness, drought tolerance and adaptability, you can’t go wrong with this flowering gem!

Jane Magnolia

Another Magnolia is the Royal Star Magnolia. This is a small tree with white flowers that open in very early spring before its leaves emerge. The large, pure white, star-like flowers put on quite a show, but the sweet fragrance competes for attention. Whether you plant one on its own or several in a row, this low-maintenance beauty is sure to stand out.

Royal Star Magnolia

Cherry blossoms are one of spring’s most celebrated flowers, and for good reason! Native to Japan, they burst with tiny, pinkish flowers typically beginning in March. These trees are often large and need space to grow, creating eye-catching landscape impact. The Pink Weeping Cherry Tree and the Kwanzan Cherry Tree are two springtime favorites, but there are so many stunning Flowering Cherry Trees to choose from!

Kwanzan Cherry Tree

Dogwoods are another classic for springtime color and visual appeal. The Pink Dogwood, in particular, signals the start of spring with a wave of bright, iconic pink blooms. Known to tolerate both drought and cold temperatures, as well as thrive in many soil types, this low-maintenance tree provides vibrancy through all four seasons between its bark, blooms and fruit.

Pink Dogwood

Early-blooming shrubs also contribute to the excitement of spring in the garden. Camellias are a great example of this. Blooming in fall and typically lasting until early spring, these shrubs put on a color show for months at a time. The Debutante Camellia explodes with large, pink, peony-like blooms. Great for creating a hedge or planting as a focal point, this Camellia effortlessly brightens up the landscape when many other plants are still dull and drab.

Debutante Camellia

Flowering Quince is a lovely shrub in the rose family that marks the end of winter with a picturesque color display each March. Filled with red, orange or pink blooms, this plant is a favorite for hedging and growing against walls, as well as cutting for flower arrangements. Vivid, charming blooms and easy-care accompany small fruit that can be harvested and used in jams and jellies!

Flowering Quince

Forsythia is another spring favorite and is a genus of deciduous flowering shrubs that belongs to the olive family. The Lynwood Gold Forsythia is a low-maintenance, fast-growing variety, featuring an upright, arching form and known for its long branches of brilliant yellow blooms starting in early spring. Its flowers precede its leaves, which means you get a good look at the blooms without foliage blocking your view.

Lynwood Gold Forsythia Shrub

Witch Hazel is another flowering shrub prized for its bright blooms that arrive in March. Its flowers start off light green with reddish-bronze tints in spring, maturing to medium dark green in summer, and finally turning yellow in fall. This plant grows to about 6-10 feet tall and is one of the toughest, spreading shrubs available, ideal for rocky slopes along streams, wooded hillsides and more. Although it can tolerate some shade, planting it in full sun will maximize its blooms.

Witch Hazel

Flowering trees and shrubs are the perfect way to color your garden. And these picks are just a few that will kickstart your landscape with early-blooming flowers and color interest. Now is the time to think spring and plant beautiful flowering plants that will delight year after year!

For more inspiration, check out our full Flowering Trees and Flowering Shrubs collections!

Phyllis Ferguson

Phyllis is a Master Gardener growing in Zone 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She loves working in her landscape with flowering shrubs and perennials, planting around ponds and water features, and taking care of her dogs and her backyard chickens.

A longtime Master Gardener educator in North Carolina, Phyllis is sharing her best tips for plant selection, gardening, landscape care and more with FastGrowingTrees.com.

Questions? Contact Phyllis at information@fastgrowingtrees.com.

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