Shake Off Winter with Spring Color

What to plant this spring that will make you smile now and later

It never fails, spring comes and you wish you’d planted bulbs and other spring-blooming plants last fall. Because the neighbor’s yard looks so sweet with tiny daffodils and crocuses peeking through the mulch (and snow?). But it’s not too late to add some spring color just when you feel you need it most.

In fact, now is one of the best times to plant spring bloomers that thrive in chilly temps and give you a living-color peep show right away. It’s also a good time to see the blank spots in your landscape that would benefit from some added texture and color. One tip: before you plant, be sure to allow enough room to accommodate your plant’s full, mature size. You can normally find this information on the plant tag or you can always talk with a friendly garden center expert.

Check out this list of some of our favorite colorful spring bloomers you’ll wish you tried if you don’t! Maybe this is the year you add spring plants that will reward you year after year. Then you’ll be the yard neighbor’s glance at longingly at the first signs of spring.

  1. Forsythia

    Each year there are plant people who work to perfect our favorite varieties, making them more disease resistant, easier to grow, more compact or more prolific or colorful bloomers. These people have been hard at work bringing us ‘Show Off Scarlet’ a dwarf Forsythia with a mass of bright-yellow spring flowers that show up all along the branch, from base to tip.

    You might know Forsythias to be long and leggy, needing a lot of space. But Show Off Scarlet does her thing in a much smaller space, packing a powerful flower display into a smaller, compact spot.

  2. Magnolia

    We have a soft spot for these beauties in every size, shape and color. But ‘Royal Star’ ups the ante with a naturally compact and bushy growth habit that makes it a gorgeous privacy tree, one that people on both sides of the natural barrier will appreciate.

    Like any fragrant perennial, the ‘Royal Star’ Magnolia is an excellent choice for spots near a window, path or entrance where passersby can linger to enjoy the sweet scent. And it’s double-layered, large blush-pink and white blooms are showstoppers.

  3. Hellebores

    We are stumped as to why this hard-working beauty is largely unknown and overlooked. Especially because Hellebores thrive in otherwise inhospitable shady spots and make an appearance in the frosty late-stages of winter, when we need them most.

    Need a few more reasons? Hellebores hold their evergreen leaves year round and are deer resistant. Plus, they are an early and extended bloomer, sometimes lasting for three months or more. They come in a variety of richly hued colors, including white, green, pink, apricot and pastel to deep purple, with an almost painterly appearance. You’ll even see some with picotee edges (a different color than the rest of the flower) veining, spotting or dark, textured centers.

    And buying them in bloom allows you to see exactly what they’ll look like each early spring. Look for the popular Oriental hybrid (otherwise known as Lenten Rose), which is one of the easiest to grow.

You can also experiment with colorful, cool-weather annuals in your containers and beds, including pansies , violas, marigolds, even cool-weather veggies like cabbage, kale and broccoli.

There’s no reason to wait, if it’s mid-March or after, these plants will stand up to cool temperatures and light frost and you’ll be glad you got the jump on spring.

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