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17 Spring Flowers for a Cheerful Garden

Spring flowers are a great way to ring in the new growing season. Here are some cheerful options for adding color to your spring garden. 

Contributors: Susan Martin

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sweet alyssum

1. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia)

In containers or landscapes, sweet alyssum blooms continuously from the time you plant it until frost without quitting or going to seed in the heat of summer. Use this sweetly fragrant annual as an edging along a pathway or as a spiller in upright containers and window boxes. See all of our sweet alyssum varieties.

Pictured: Moonlight Knight®

African daisy

2. African Daisy (Osteospermum)

Bright Lights African daisies are cool-weather-tolerant annuals that are often used in spring containers. Since the varieties in this series are more heat tolerant, you’ll also be able to enjoy their brightly colored blossoms into the summer months and again in the fall. If you garden in a very warm climate, grow this plant from fall through spring. See more colors of Bright Lights.

Pictured: Bright Lights Red

petunia

3. Supertunia (Petunia)

Supertunia petunias are vigorous annual flowers perfect for adding instant spring color to containers or landscape beds. They'll keep blooming from planting to frost without deadheading. 

Pictured: Supertunia® Bordeaux

false indigo

4. False Indigo (Baptisia)

Pollinating bees and butterflies enjoy these flowers, but deer do not. This is a large, shrub-like perennial that is very durable and long-lived in the landscape. A deep tap root helps it to be self-sufficient in times of drought. Once the flowers are spent, leave them be as decorative seed pods will develop in their place and persist into fall. See more colors of Decadence® false indigo.

Pictured: Decadence® Deluxe 'Blue Bubbly'

heartleaf bergenia

5. Pigsqueak (Bergenia)

Have you grown this unique perennial? Pigsqueak earned its common name from the sound it makes when you rub its thick, rubbery leaves between your fingers. It’s a fun one to include in gardens that children visit. Deer and rabbits typically do not bother Bergenia.

Pictured: ‘Miss Piggy’ Pigsqueak

spring phlox flowers

6. Spring Phlox (Phlox)

Spring phlox plants bloom along with tulips and other spring bulbs. They make a beautiful groundcover with incredible flowering performance. Consider the Mountainside and Spring Bling series if you’re looking for an early bloomer.

Pictured: Spring Bling 'Ruby Riot'

Jacob's ladder

7. Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium)

These perennials are indispensable in the shade garden. Clusters of lightly fragrant, blue flowers dance above fern-like foliage on narrow stems in late spring. This is a very cold hardy, deer-resistant perennial that can handle full sun with ample moisture in the most northern climates, but it will need some protection from the afternoon sun in warmer zones.

Pictured: 'Heaven Scent'

8. Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Lungwort is one of the first perennials to welcome bumblebees back into the garden after a long winter. It blooms along with the late tulips in late spring. Once its spring show is complete, the foliage becomes fuller and forms a low mound with pretty speckles dusting the narrow, deep green leaves all season. This easy-to-grow, deer- and rabbit-resistant perennial would complement any shade plants in your garden including ferns, hostas, begonias, impatiens and more. See more colors of lungwort.

Pictured: 'Spot On'

clematis flower

9. Clematis

You might be wondering why we are including clematis on our spring blooming plants list. Indeed, most varieties bloom in the summertime. That’s just one thing that makes the new Sparky® series unique. Another is its firework-shaped blossoms that appear prolifically on tall, vining plants that quickly scramble up a trellis, obelisk or chain-link fence. This clematis is disease resistant, easy to grow in as little as four hours of sun per day, and typically needs no pruning. You’ll also love its lacier textured foliage that adds interest even when the plants are not in bloom.

Pictured: Sparky® Blue

mockorange

10. Mockorange (Philadelphus)

Mockorange shrubs have been grown for decades for their sweet, orange-blossom-scented spring blooms. Expect white blossoms in late spring to early summer. Plant several in a row to form a fragrant, deer-resistant hedge or mix them here and there among your perennials in mixed borders. You might even plant one under a window you tend to open often to let its beautiful fragrance float in on a warm spring breeze.

Pictured: Illuminati Arch®

azalea

11. Azalea (Rhododendron)

Reblooming azaleas are staples in landscapes across the South, offering exuberant color multiple times throughout the season, not just for a few weeks in spring. Use them as an underplanting for tall trees or as a colorful accent in a mixed border.

Pictured: Perfecto Mundo® Double Purple

lilac

12. Lilac (Syringa)

This is a classic flowering shrub with rich color and fragrance with minimal care. Plant these deer-resistant, cold-tolerant beauties in full sun and well-drained soil. Pick a dwarf selection to pack a whole lot of fragrant flower power into just a few square feet. See our growing guide for lilacs.   

Pictured: Baby Kim®

forsyhtia

13. Forsythia

Offering bright yellow flowers, forsythia is a very showy shrub for the early spring garden. Plus it is very easy to grow and good for cut displays. 

Pictured: Show Off®

loropetalum

14. Chinese Fringe-Flower (Loropetalum)

This member of the witch hazel family has clusters of delicate flowers that burst forth in mid-winter to early spring. Flowers come in colors of pink, red, cream or white, and when they've faded you can still enjoy the outstanding foliage. Loropetalum thrives in moist, well-drained, acidic soil.

Pictured: Jazz Hands® White

hellebore flower

15. Lenten Rose (Helleborus)

Some hellebores bloom as early as late winter, others in early to mid-spring. These reliable evergreen perennials for shade are easy to grow in any soil and mildly drought tolerant when established. Flower colors include soft pink, slate gray, pure white, soft yellow and more. Many also have unique veining or speckling on their blooms. 

Pictured: Wedding Party® Wedding Crasher

lupine

16. Lupine (Lupinus)

  1. Lupines make great cut flowers and are deer resistant. Their long-lasting bloomspikes appear in spring, but will persist into summer. This is a great choice if you're looking for bold colors in your garden. 

Pictured: WESTCOUNTRY 'Masterpiece'

bleeding heart

17. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

This hardy woodland perennial is an old-fashioned classic with arching stems of flowers in spring. Bleeding heart is an excellent choice for attracting hummingbirds to your garden. 

Pictured: Valentine®

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