Spring flowering plants

Each year, we look forward to spring to see an end to the dark gloomy days of winter. The garden wakes up and the first signs of the colour come into the garden. Many of the spring flowering plants are long flowering, such as Primulas and Alliums, and it's a time when spring bulbs make a great show. 

If you are thinking of planting flowers for spring colour whether shrubs or plants, or a mixture, it's helpful to know what conditions the plants needs to thrive, its colour range and when in spring (which can be anytime from March until the end of May) it will flower.  

Illustrated below are some of the best spring flowering plants with links to growing information. These plants will be at their best from late February through to May. Add colour to the garden with spring flowering bulbs and spring flowering shrubs. Some of the easiest plants to grow are shrubs and there are some very showy spring flowering shrubs such as ForsythiaRhododendrons and the sweetly scented Viburnums

There are also many climbing plants which are spring flowering and add height and colour to a garden border.

Ideas for spring flowering plants


Primula is a lovely spring flower with many colours and flower shapes.  Illustrated is the Candelabra primula planted with red Geum and a blue Geranium. Primula do best in well drained, moist soil and will tolerate partial shade. An easy to grow, fully hardy, perennial.

Allium 'Globemaster'

Allium is a showy late spring flowering bulb coming in all sizes from modest, low growing chive varieties to very tall A.'Globemaster' illustrated. Perennial Allium flower in all shades of purple, white, blue and some pinks and return reliably each year provided the growing conditions are not too wet. 


Pulmonaria is a very early (February onward) spring flower which provides much needed nectar for the emerging bees. Pulmonaria is a shade and damp tolerant, low growing plant, ideal in woodland planting scheme, with primroses and hellebores. The flowers may look insignificant to us but  not to the bees.


Hellebore flower from winter into spring. Flowering starts with Helleborus niger, the Christmas rose and carries on with different varieties into spring.  Hellebores form large clumps as the plants mature and there are some fabulous colours and double-flowered varieties. A reliable perennial tolerant of a wide range of conditions.  


There are some lovely early flowering Clematis, such as illustrated C. alpina and the slightly tender but scented C. armandii which is often semi evergreen. We know this group of Clematis as Group 1 which does not require an annual prune, making them easier to grow.


Another friend of the bees, which starts flowering in March, is the humble Aubretia. Popular and often planted so it can trail over walls, it is easy to grow and comes in lovely shades of mauve, pink and blue. 

aquilegia swan lavender

Aquilegia, common name Columbine, flowering throughout spring in a wide range of colours. They have delicate bonnet shaped flowers, and will self seed around the garden.  Illustrated is a spring combination, Aquilegia 'Swan-Lavender' with evergreen shrub, Euonymus fortunei ' Emerald Gold' and the scented deciduous Rhododendron luteum. 


Crocus  is one of the earliest spring bulbs to bring cheer and colour to the garden. Spring bulbs are easy to grow, and except for Tulips, come back reliably each year. 

To ensure your spring bulbs flower, it is important to plant them at the right depth. How to plant and grow spring bulbs.


Forsythia  just one of the many lovely spring flowering shrubs which are easy to grow and provide so much colour. Check out also, RhododendronViburnum, and Ceanothus


Wisteria a beautiful spring flowering climbing plant which is very vigorous. It has highly scented blooms and is high maintenance. Check out how to make my Wisteria flower information and video.

Spring flowering poppy

Many poppies will flower in spring including the icelandic poppy and the large and showy Papaver orientale group. Most poppies are easy to grow and many are self seeders.

marsh Marigold

If you have a damp area in your garden, the native Caltha palustris, Marsh marigold has lovely buttercup yellow flowers which appear from March onwards. It is a native perennial and looks lovely growing alongside a stream or pon.