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Perennial Plants for Winter and Spring

The bold colors and leaves on these perennials will take you from the chill of winter to the sunshine of spring.

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Photo: Ball Horticultural Company


Hellebores are tough little plants that can shake off ice and snow to flower from late winter to early spring. Hardy in zones 6-9, they prefer a shady garden spot, and once they're established, they're drought tolerant. Try them with other shade-lovers, such as ferns, hostas and campanulas. Hellebores are sometimes called Lenten roses, because they bloom around the Lent season.

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Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Too bad pulmonaria has an unappealing common name: lungwort. The plants have attractive green foliage with silver or white markings and blooms that appear in early spring. The small flowers last a long time, gradually changing colors from pink to shades of purple, blue, red or even white. 'Raspberry Splash,' pictured here, has excellent disease resistance; try underplanting it with shrubs, hostas or ferns. Lungwort prefers part shade and moist, well-draining soil. Deer and rabbits tend to leave the plants alone.

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Photo: Ball Horticultural Company


Sometimes called Siberian bugloss or false forget-me-nots, brunnera are shade-loving plants with blue flowers (this variety is 'Henry's Eyes'). These perennials open in early spring and make great companions for hostas, pink and white bleeding hearts, early tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs. Grow your plants in fertile, moist soil, and don't let them dry out.

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Photo: Costa Farms


Your rock garden needs this spreading perennial, which blooms its heart out in early spring. Saxifraga, or rock foil, also forms mounds of color in an alpine garden, container, or at the front of borders. 'Touran Mix,' shown here, comes in red, pink, rose and white. Give your plants part shade and rich soil; they're winter hardy in zones 5-7.

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