Spring flowering shrubs

 Spring flowering shrubs bring such a lot of colour into the garden early in the year, and some of the best displays come from Rhododendrons and Azalea. These come in all sizes and many colours, and are easy to grow, provided you have acid soil, they need little or no attention and have great showy blooms as illustrated above right.

The centre image is Camellia Japonica, also lovely shrub, but not so easy to grow. It too likes acid soil, but is much more fussy about its growing conditions - more info. When planting a Camellia it is definitely a case of "right place right plant". One problem with Camellias is that especially when planted in the wrong spot the blooms are easily browned by frost and the foliage may not be as glossy green as illustrated. There is more information on the Growing Camillia page, including advice on where to plant Camellia for the best results.

One the best spring flowering shrubs is Philadelphus, a lovely creamy white shrub with scented blooms illustrated above left. There are some great spring flowering shrubs and sometimes it seems that the most of the attractive flowering shrubs, with the showiest blooms, are often deciduous. This means in winter the deciduous shrubs will be bare, which is why it can be a good idea to plant a mix of evergreens and deciduous shrubs to create all round interest. 

The shrubs below are hardy in most gardens, although some may need a more sheltered spot. Most of these shrubs are easy to grow and once established will flower reliably year after year, and for this reason form the mainstay of an easy to maintain garden. 

If you have a shrub or plant in your garden and don't know what it is or how to look after it, why not e-mail a photo to the Sunday Gardener for help


The Best Spring flowering Shrubs


Many rhododendrons  have strong flower colours, bright orange, red, mauve, and yellow. They are long flowering, attractive to bees and easy to grow provided your soil is acid. Spring flowering from March onward.


Ceanothus is a lovely blue flowering evergreen shrub which is easy to grow in a sheltered spot. It can grow quite large, and is an attractive shrub also liked by bees. Ceanothus flowers in mid to late spring.

Camellia Japonica

Camellia  is an evergreen, spring flowering shrub with glossy leaves and large flowers in shades of red, pink, peach, white and cream. In the right conditions they do well- Camellias are hardy, but fussy - more information about growing conditions. 

Daphne odora

Some varieties of Daphne flower in late winter early spring and are often highly scented as illustrated is D. Odora. They tend to be reliable only in sheltered gardens not under -5, but where conditions are suitable Daphne are a beautiful scented shrub.


Forsythia is one of the earliest spring flowering shrubs and a garden favourite. Its flowers appear ahead of the leaves, (in botanical terms known as Precocious) and it is easy to grow. There is a less common white variety F. 'Roseum' which is slightly tender. Images and growing advice. 


Escallonia are a lovely delicate spring flowering evergreen shrub but slightly tender. Easy to grow in the right area, Escallonia also make an attractive hedge and are liked by bees. Some varieties are hardier check out growing tips.


Philadelphus is also known as mock orange blossom because of its lovely scented blooms. It is deciduous, flowering in the spring, shades of white and lovely scent. It is unfussy and easy to grow.


Pieris japonica an easy to grow evergreen shrub. It has strong spring colour with red leaves fading to green and multiple white flowers. Common name lily of the valley bush.  

updated 04.03.2020