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12 Spring Blooming Plants You Need This Year

Could your spring garden use a little more cheerful color to ring in the new growing season? Scroll through this dozen new varieties of annuals, perennials and shrubs that will do the trick.


Contributors: Susan Martin


If you’ve enjoyed growing our robust white and purple flowered sweet alyssum, now you have a new color option. This bright white selection mixes beautifully with other pastel flowers in container recipes and landscapes. Like all Proven Winners alyssum, it 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 here.

8-12” height; 18-24” spread; part sun to sun; annual

Bright Lights Red African Daisy (Osteospermum)

Seek out this eye-catching, brick red, annual daisy at your local garden center early this spring. It will be one of the first annuals they set out for the season along with pansies and snapdragons. 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 here.

8-12” height; 8-12” spread; part sun to sun; annual

Decadence® Deluxe ‘Blue Bubbly’ False Indigo (Baptisia)

This showy native cultivar blooms in late spring to early summer with 16” long panicles of light lavender blue blossoms. Pollinating bees and butterflies enjoy them, 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 here.

4-4.5’ height; 3.5-4’ spread; full sun to part sun; perennial in zones 4-9

‘Miss Piggy’ Heartleaf Bergenia, 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. This new cultivar is extra-large, forming an impressive clump of huge, dark green, glossy, evergreen leaves. It spreads slowly to form a small scale groundcover. Bright pink flowers dance above the foliage on thick stalks in early to mid-spring. Deer and rabbits typically do not bother Bergenia.

16-18” height; 28-32” spread; part shade to shade; perennial in zones 4-9

Mountainside Hybrid Spring Phlox Collection (Phlox)

This alpine phlox is one of the first perennials to bloom along with tulips and other spring bulbs. Small, vividly colored blossoms completely blanket the very low growing, wide spreading patch of softly textured, needlelike foliage. It needs little water to thrive, but the soil must be well-drained. Try planting this perennial near the edge of a retaining wall where it will drape over, or as a small scale groundcover in a dry, sunny spot. Available in two colors: ‘Crater Lake’ (indigo purple) and ‘Majestic Magenta’ (dark pink).

4-6” height; 24-28” spread; full sun; perennial in zones 4-8


Spring Bling Hybrid Spring Phlox Collection (Phlox)

More refined than creeping phlox, this new series of very early blooming cultivars begins to show its pretty colors just before the Mountainside phlox. The flowers are larger and completely blanket the low mounded foliage. Over time, these plants mature into a carpetlike habit. If you’ve had trouble with creeping phlox dying out in the center once summer arrives, make a switch to this more heat tolerant cultivar that stays beautiful all season. Available in three colors: ‘Pink Sparkles’ (light pink), ‘Rose Quartz’ (rose pink) and ‘Ruby Riot’ (ruby pink).

4-8” height; 24-28” spread; full sun; perennial in zones (3)4-8

‘Heaven Scent’ Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium)

Perennials with a ferny texture are indispensable in the shade garden for complementing broad-leafed hostas, coral bells and heartleaf bergenia. This new variety of Jacob’s ladder emerges in spring with deep purple shading on its olive green, fern-like foliage. Clusters of lightly fragrant, blue flowers dance above 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.

18-24” height; 15-18” spread; part sun to sun; perennial in zones 3-7

‘Spot On’ 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, producing clusters of salmon pink buds that open to rich blue flowers on leafy stems. Once its spring show is complete, the foliage becomes fuller and forms a low mound similar in shape to coral bells. Pretty silver speckles dust 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.

14-16” height; 18-20” spread; part shade to full shade; perennial in zones 3-9

Sparky® 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. Available in Sparky® Pink, Sparky® Purple and Sparky® Blue.

6-8’ height; 6-8’ spread; part sun to sun; perennial in zones 5-8


Illuminati Arch® Mockorange (Philadelphus)

Mockorange shrubs have been grown for decades for their sweet, orange blossom scented spring blooms. Unfortunately, the plants themselves weren’t too garden worthy. This new modern selection offers the complete package of highly fragrant, white blossoms in late spring to early summer as well as attractive foliage and a smaller, tidier form. 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. Also available: Illuminati Tower®

4’ height; 4’ spread; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 4-7

Perfecto Mundo® Double Purple Reblooming Azalea (Rhododendron)

Reblooming azaleas have become staples in landscapes across the South, offering exuberant color multiple times throughout the season, not just for a few weeks in spring. This new double-flowered, deep purple selection bears loads of ruffled blossoms in spring, summer and fall. It is resistant to lacebug, a pest that can be problematic in certain parts of the country. Perfecto Mundo azaleas are sun tolerant but also bloom well in part shade. Use them as an underplanting for tall trees or as a colorful accent in a mixed border. See the whole collection here.

30-36” height; 36” spread; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 6b-9b

Baby Kim® Lilac (Syringa)

If you’ve always wanted to grow a lilac but didn’t have the room, this is the one for you! This dwarf selection packs a whole lot of fragrant flower power into just a few square feet. An abundance of purple, non-fading blossoms appear in mid to late spring on a rounded shrub with glossy, dark green foliage. This lilac is disease resistant, is rarely bothered by deer and needs no pruning to retain its small size so just plant, sit back and enjoy!

2-3’ height; 2.5-3’ spread; full sun; hardy in zones 3-8

 Want to see more top10 lists? Find them all here.


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