Full sun is most people’s idea of heaven so, if you’re lucky enough to have a part of the garden doused with sun most of the day here are my 12 favourite spring flowering plants guaranteed to make you smile…
First on my list of 12 plants are Pansies. Bright and cheerful, they make for a great early spring flowering bedding plant. Their small size makes them, ideal for pots or hanging baskets by the door to greet you when you get home.
Pansies thrive in well-drained but moist soil. Keep them in a sunny spot one that is in partial shade.
If you are growing them from seed, which is a great idea to engage children in gardening you need to start them off in October. This will give them enough time to be in flower during spring. You’ll need to sow the seeds indoors in the colder autumn months so that they will germinate. If the weather is particularly chilly, remember to protect them when they are outdoors with some horticultural fleece.
One of the true signs that spring has arrived, is the joyful sight of daffodils. Botanically known as Narcissus, daffodils have become instantly recognisable thanks to their trumpet-shaped flowers, and lush green stems.
If you want that rich yellow display in your garden, then you need to start planting the bulbs in September. This allows them the time that they need to develop the roots so that they can surge from the ground in springtime. You can plant them in containers, borders, or even under your lawn.
When you are planting them remember to plant them at a depth that is approximately three times the height of the bulb. If your garden gets waterlogged then stick to containers. I’d also avoid planting anywhere that had too much shade.
A perennial from the Iris family, Crocuses add cheer to any spring border, seasonal container, or planted lawn. They’re particularly effective when creating colour carpets.
Crocuses come in a variety of colours, from pinks and reds, oranges and yellows, to purples and blues. And they are punctuated by their deep yellow-y orange pistils full of pollen. Perfect for attracting pollinators to their flower.
Crocuses are early bloomers. To kick-start your Spring Garden with a punch of colour, plant in early Autumn. Pick a sunny spot with well-draining soil. This can include beneath deciduous trees. You should start to see colour in your garden 2-5 weeks after temperatures start to rise in late winter, early Spring.
Helleborus are a beautiful addition to any spring garden. Their pretty, blooms of white, green, pink, or ruby emerge in winter and early spring. So, they’re ideal for brightening up the garden on dreary days.
The best time to plant Helleborus is Autumn to Spring. They’re hardy plants that can brave the chill. Plus, they actually grow best in partial shade, where their evergreen leaves provide colourful interest all year round.
Helleborus are quick and easy to plant. They like moist, free-draining soil, full of organic matter. Be careful not to plant them too deep, to keep the Helleborus bright and happy.
Also known as ‘Grape Hyacinth, Muscari are excellent at carpeting your garden ground with blooms of blue, purple, white, and (occasionally) pink and bright green leaves. When planted alongside other spring flowers like Daffodils and crocuses, you can create a glorious, jewel-like spring display.
Depending on the type, Muscari can be planted in Spring, Summer, or Autumn. They can grow in almost any soil but prefer it to be moist and free-draining. Like most of us, they thrive in full sun, but can be grown under deciduous trees, as they’re dormant in summer when there’s shade.
Interestingly, there is a Muscari that breaks the typical mould, however. Muscari Macrocarpum, otherwise known as “Golden Fragance”. Its flowers are a brilliant yellow, and it champions a delicious fragrance. This is one to improve your Spring garden’s colour and scent.
6. Crabapple tree blossom
In Spring, Crabapple Trees blossom clouds of white, cream, pink, magenta, and coral. This rich combination of colours adds an air of elegance to any Spring garden. Many blossoms are beautifully fragranced, too. Often infusing your garden with smells of cinnamon and cloves.
Plant bare-root trees between November and March. They enjoy full sun, and moist, but well-drained, soil. The ideal hole will be around 30 cm deep. Make sure you add a layer of organic matter, like compost or well-rotted manure, to help it grow.
Bear in mind that Crabapple Trees take around 3-4 years to grow, so you might be waiting a while to see some colour. But I promise it will be worth the wait!
Hyacinth are one the most distinctive spring bulbs. Not least for their spicy floral scent, but for their bold colours. These include: white, pink, purple, blue, red, yellow, and soft orange. The perfect flower for adding the full spectrum of colour to your Spring garden.
Their sturdy flower stems are packed with waxy, tubular flowers. These form a dense, elongated head – not dissimilar to Lavender. The blooms are supported by thick, green leaves.
They can look great in borders, rock gardens, and containers. They like full sun and ordinary garden soil. Just be wary of over and underwatering. The bulbs will rot in wet soil and will be stunted in dry soil.
Tulips grow best when planted in November. This allows you to spend the dark, short, winter days knowing there’s light (and colour) at the end of the tunnel. You can rest assured your garden will look great in Spring.
Ideal for both pots and borders, these also make great seasonal bedding plants. There’s a wide range of colours to choose from. From white-cream, yellow-orange, blue-purple, red-pink, and more!
Tulips grow best in soil rich in organic matter. Most Tulips enjoy full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It’s worth noting that Tulips like drainage, so don’t do well in heavy clay soils.
The Iris is a gorgeous flower that consists of delicate violet blooms, with a soft, creamy yellow centre. Whether planted in containers or open gardens, Iris are hardy plants that provide a pop of colour, year after year. Not only are the great for colour, but they’ll also attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Two more great additions for Spring Gardens.
There are more than 250 species of the genus Iris, so take care to make sure your particular choice is getting the care it needs. They might be bearded, or crested, for example.
It’s best to plant Iris in late summer/early autumn, as this gives them enough time to get established before the winter months. Most Iris bloom best in full sun, and well-draining, fertile soil.
Lilac is a classic garden shrub, sure to add spectacular shades of pink, purple, and white to your spring garden. The shrubs and trees bear fragrant, tubular flowers. These aren’t just great for cutting, but are actually edible, too!
Lilac can be infused with sugar, made into syrup, ice creams, and more. So, it can be turned into a great activity to do with kids during the spring, But be careful, lilac is best eaten when infused. If you were to eat it right off the bloom, you’ll be met with a sharp, bitter flavour.
Lilacs are easy to grow. They enjoy sunny spots and moist, well-drained soil. They’re great plants for chalky or alkaline soils. To avoid your lilac getting leggy, make sure you prune after flowering. Why not add this vat of colour to your Spring garden?
This is a robust, upright bulbous plant, with long strap-shaped leaves and dense, rounded umbels of starry rose-pink flowers in Spring and Summer. Alliums offer punchy pink that will accent your Spring garden, perfectly.
They like to sit in full sun, in moist, but well-drained, soil. They tend to favour chalk and clay soil. If you want to make sure you have good drainage in clay soil, add grit.
Because they are part of the onion and garlic family, they often carry a garlicky scent. Whilst this isn’t the usual floral perfume of spring, it can add a sharp, delicious tang to your spring garden’s scent. Plus, the pollinators, like bumblebees, love it!
12. Lily of the valley
These pretty perennials have nodding, bell-shaped flowers, paired with rich green stalks. Low growing, these flowers provide a wonderful perfume to any spring garden.
They like moist soil and partial shade. It will struggle grow in cold, wet conditions. This is why they’re perfect for spring. It’s great for ground cover and a fantastic choice for a woodland garden or shady border.
Lily of the Valley have been widely recognised favourites of the Late Queen Elizabeth II. So, if they’re good enough for Balmoral, they’re sure to royally transform your spring garden.
With these 12 flowering plants you’ll have plenty of spring colour in your garden.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
My step son is getting married 20 July and I want some plants to add colour to the garden
Beautful flowers love them