The Best Flowers to Plant in Spring

When robins sing to welcome spring, grab your trowel for planting. You can tuck all kinds of plants into your yard as spring unfolds, and watch the magic unfurl as April showers bring May flowers.

August 27, 2019

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: iBulb.org

Photo By: iBulb.org

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Flowering Stock

A rich fragrance featuring spicy clove tones makes flowering stock a go-to annual for spring planting. Stock is a much beloved old-fashioned flower, but modern varieties offer things like better heat tolerance and a vivid range of jewel-tone blooms, including deep violet, rose-pink, fuchsia and white. Plant flowering stock in containers or planting beds near an entrance so you can savor the scent all spring long.

Sweet Pea

This old-fashioned favorite is a perfect annual flower for spring planting. Sweet peas grow best in cooler air, fading fast once summer heat arrives. Fragrant blossoms on this pretty vine feature many hues, including pink, lavender, white, red and near-black. In the South, plant sweet pea seeds in fall for a spring crop. In northern regions where summer is cooler, sweet peas may survive well into summer.

Pansy

Grab a pack of pansies to brighten spring containers and planting beds. This cheery annual opens flowers in a rainbow of shades, including purple, white, yellow, burgundy, coral and all kinds of color combinations. When tucking pansies into pots, look for trailing types, like this Trailing Pansy Plentifall Lavender Blue, which cascades over pot edges. This pot also features grassy Luzula Lucius (snowy woodrush) and white sweet alyssum.

Gladiolus

Spring is the right time to plant bulbs that flower in summer, including gladiolus. These colorful spikes come in every color imaginable, including red, orange, pale green, deep burgundy and purple. For non-stop flowers all season long, practice staggered planting. Tuck individual gladiolus corms into soil every 5 to 10 days. Be sure to leave space in your planting beds to accommodate subsequent plantings. Hardy in Zones 7-10.

Summer Lilies

The bulbs of gorgeous summer lilies, including Oriental (shown) and Asiatic lilies, can go into the ground in spring and deliver a summer show. Oriental lilies open large, often perfumed blooms, while Asiatic lilies offer smaller flowers in a wide range of hues. Oriental lilies can be top-heavy from the large flowers. Add stakes at planting time to avoid spearing bulbs later. Asiatic lilies typically have sturdy, stocky stems that don’t need staking. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Hydrangea

Garden centers receive huge shipments of hydrangeas in spring, usually in time for Easter and Mother’s Day. If you receive a hydrangea as a holiday gift, it can easily go into the garden after its indoor stint. Because hydrangeas are widely available in spring, that’s a good time to find your favorite and add it to your landscape. Buy hydrangeas when they’re blooming to ensure you’re getting the flower type and color you want.

Daylily

Fill the summer landscape with color, especially when you plant reblooming varieties like ‘Stella de Oro’ (Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’). Spring is an ideal time to plant bareroot or potted daylilies, or to divide existing clumps in your garden. Give daylily a spot in full sun for the most flowers. On reblooming types, remove spent flowers and any seed pods that start to form—this is the key to keep blossoms coming. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Sedum

Plants that flower in late summer are always good choices for planting in spring. Upright summer sedums are no exception. This group of plants includes the classic ‘Autumn Joy,’ ‘Mr. Goodbud’ (shown), and toothy-leaved T-Rex. Flower clusters on upright sedums transition through several hues from bud, to full bloom, to faded flower. It’s a long show that adds color for months in the garden. In winter, dried flowers continue to bring interest.

New England Aster

New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) is a beloved native plant that’s an all-time fall favorite. Plant it in spring for blooms in autumn. This variety is ‘Purple Dome,’ which unfurls 1.5-inch blooms in shades of deep purple. Look for other asters with blossoms in neon or pastel pink, white, lavender and violet. Flowers beckon late-season pollinators, including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

Monkshood

Another fall bloomer you can tuck into the garden in spring is monkshood. Azure monkshood (Aconitum fischeri, shown) delivers deep blue-purple hues in late fall, often flowering right up to hard frost. Other types bloom in blue, pink, white or yellow. Flowers appear on spikes, with each blossom resembling a helmet or hood. Monkshood is a gift to northern gardens, adding color after many other perennials are finished. Plant in rich soil in part shade, or in full sun if soil is consistently moist. All plant parts are toxic and poisonous. Wear gloves when working with this plant. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

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