Perennial Favorites – early bloomers

Overview

Early perennial flowers herald the coming of spring and are a welcome splash of color in the late winter landscape. Perennials are plants that come back every year after declining during the winter months. Early blooming perennials include some bulbs, shrubs, ground covers or flowering plants.

Early Perennial Flowering Ground Covers

Early flowering ground covers work well with spring flowering bulbs as the bulbs come up within them and then die back allowing the ground cover to crowd out weeds during the summer. If needed, prune back ground covers after a bloom period. Examples of early flowering ground covers are evening primrose, ajuga, lily of the valley, creeping phlox and lamium.

Early Perennial Flowering Shrubs

Early blooming shrubs are often fragrant additions to the garden. Prune early blooming shrubs right after the bloom period because many set their blooms for the next season in summer. Examples are azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, viburnum, and spicebush.

Other Early Blooming Perennial Plants

Other plants that make a great choice for the early blooming perennial garden are dianthus, bleeding heart, lenton rose, sweet violet, lupine, and pasque flower.

Landscape Ideas

Plant early flowering perennials among plants that don’t reappear until the weather warms. For example, plant hyacinth, tulip or muscari bulbs in the same bed you plant annual flowering plant seeds. The annuals will come up and cover the declining foliage of the flowering bulbs as the season warms. Also, plant early flowering shrubs under trees that lose their leaves in the winter. The barren trees make an excellent backdrop for early spring blooming shrubs such as azaleas and viburnum.

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