Early Spring Flowering Shrubs
The most thought of spring flowering shrub is probably Forsythia. It is the traditional first sign of spring. Its yellow flowers bloom along its branches before the leaves grow. This member of the olive family is extremely hardy. Forsythia like full sun and tolerate almost any soil. There are several varieties with varying growth habits, ranging from large 6-8’ plants to small 2’ plants. They can be grown singly or as hedgerows.
Camellias are an evergreen shrub with white, pink, or red flowers in March – April. Some varieties do bloom in fall. They like part sun (eastern exposure is ideal), acidic well drained soil, and protection from winter winds. Most Camellias will grow 6-10’ tall. Early blooms, fairly long bloom season, and evergreen foliage make this plant a desirable addition to the early spring garden.
This early flowering Rhododendron compliments any spring landscape. Lavender-pink blooms appear in March – April. PJM Rhododendrons prefer acidic, well drained soils. Plant in full sun – partial shade. Small, evergreen foliage takes on a purplish- red color in fall and winter. PJM Rhododendrons seem to be easier to grow than their larger leaf 'siblings'.
‘Olga’ is another great Rhododendron variety with beautiful pink flowers.
Pieris japonica is another broadleaf evergreen that likes moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Plant in partial shade. White or pink “Lily of the Valley" type flowers appear in March, lasting through a long portion of spring. Depending on variety, they can be 2-6’ tall.
This low-growing, evergreen displays long lasting white and pink blooms in early spring. Plant in well drained, fertile soil.
Witch Hazel is one of the earliest blooming shrubs. Fragrant, yellow or orange-red ribbon-like flowers appear in February – March. Prefers sun or part-sun in almost any soil. Grows 8 -12’ tall.
Pussy Willow is another traditional early flowering shrub. White or black catkins appear in March. Great dried flower. Pussy willows like sun and moist soils. They grow 6-12’ tall and wide.
A Few Other Later Spring Blooming Shrubs: