11 Shrubs That Flower in Early Spring

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11 Shrubs That Flower in Early Spring

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This article comes from The Spruce.

11 Shrubs That Flower in Early Spring

Early spring flowering shrubs are a great way to bring bright and seasonal colors to your landscape. These shrubs are valued for their flowers that begin to bloom in March and April, and some even stay evergreen year-round. Some varieties remain relatively small while others can grow several feet in height and spread.

1. Winter Heath (Erica carnea)

Winter heath (Erica carnea) begins blooming over the winter, and its spikes of lavender-pink flowers persist into early spring. The low-growing, evergreen shrub appears delicate, but it’s actually fairly hardy and tolerates poor soil and some drought. It flowers best in full sun but can stand a little shade. If pruning is necessary to maintain its shape or remove old portions, do so after the plant is done flowering in the spring.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 7
  • Color Varieties: Pink or purple blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Sandy, loamy, acidic, medium moisture, well-draining

2. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’)

Witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’) is a flowering shrub prized for its bright blooms that arrive in March. The yellow flowers have a warm, spicy fragrance and precede the leaves. The plant grows to about 12 to 15 feet tall and is often used as a screen or tall hedge. Although it can tolerate some shade, planting it in full sun will maximize its blooms.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Color Varieties: Yellow blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, acidic, well-draining

3. Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)

Forsythias are flowering shrubs known for their long branches that get full with brilliant yellow blooms early in the spring. The plant belongs to the olive family and can tolerate poor soil and some drought. But if it experiences an especially harsh winter or a late winter freeze, it might fail to flower well in the spring.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Color Varieties: Yellow blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Loose, medium moisture, well-draining

4. Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

Andromeda (Pieris japonica) is a shade-tolerant bush that can start blooming as early as March and has distinctively fragrant flowers. Some people find their strong smell offensive while others like it, so know the smell before you plant one in your garden. The bush is evergreen and can grow to around 10 feet tall with a spread of 7 feet.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Color Varieties: White, pink, or rose blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, slightly acidic, well-draining

5. Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

The flowering quince is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub. Despite its somewhat messy growth habit, this shrub produces beautiful red, orange, white, or pink flowers that bloom as early as March or April. Related to roses, flowering quince has a thorny exterior and an easy-to-grow nature, making it a good choice for barrier plantings.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
  • Color Varieties: White, orange, red, or pink blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Loamy, acidic to neutral, well-draining

6. Japanese Rose (Kerria japonica)

The Japanese rose is a somewhat fanciful common name for Kerria japonica. It is not a rose in the traditional sense, as it does not belong to the genus Rosa. But it is a member of the very large rose family. This bush puts on a magnificent display when in bloom for up to six weeks in April and May. It blooms on old wood, so do any necessary pruning right after its spring flowering is finished. If you prune later in the season, you might remove flower buds for the next year.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
  • Color Varieties: Yellow blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining

7. Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

Korean spice viburnum is a flowering bush that transforms three times throughout spring, summer, and fall. Its aromatic white blooms open in March and April with a more pinkish color and then give way to bright red berries in the summer that mature into a dark hue for fall. The deciduous shrub has a height and spread of around 4 to 6 feet and works well as a foundation planting.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
  • Color Varieties: Pinkish-white blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Average, moist, acidic, well-draining

8. Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

With landscape value in both spring and fall, dwarf fothergilla is a shrub that serves double duty. Its bottlebrush-like white blooms can be seen in April and early May before the leaves appear. And its blue-green leaves turn to brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange in the fall. This shrub requires minimal pruning, and it’s another plant that blooms on old wood. So prune just after its flowering period to avoid cutting off any buds for the next growing season.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Color Varieties: White blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, acidic, well-draining

9. Daphne Shrubs (Daphne)

Daphne is a genus of flowering shrubs with an incredibly sweet scent and bright red berries. Species grow from roughly 3 to 5 feet and start blooming in late winter to early spring. As a bonus, some of the shrubs flower again in late summer. It’s important to note that Daphne leaves and berries are toxic, so avoid planting these shrubs if there will be children or pets in the area. They also require a delicate balance of moist soil and excellent drainage.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
  • Color Varieties: White or light pink blooms
  • Sun Exposure: Part sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Moist, acidic to neutral, well-draining

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