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The first month of spring can be a month of changeable and extreme weather conditions. April is also a time when plants are starting to grow quickly with many bursting into all sorts of colourful blooms. So, here’s my pick of some of the best trees, shrubs, and perennial plants for April gardens.

1. Prunus serrulata ‘Shirotae’ (Mount Fuji cherry)

When you see the cherry trees blossoming, you know spring is here. This wide spreading, almost flat-topped Japanese cherry is ideal grown as a specimen tree to fully appreciate its beautiful pure white mass of almond scented blossom. Once bloomed, the flowers are highlighted beautifully against the dark bark of its stems.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 4m tall and 4.5m wide
  • Moist, but well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed
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2. Pulsatilla vulgaris (pasqueflower)

Next is a low growing plant producing the most gorgeous purple flowers with sunny yellow centres that join the silky looking, finely divided leaves. Also, the flowers later form wonderful silvery colour seedheads. They’re ideal grown in rockeries or front of border and look great in alpine troughs too.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 20cm tall and 20cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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3. Ranunculus aconitifolius (ranunculus) 

This charming, long-flowering herbaceous perennial will grow well in sun or partial shade as long as the soil stays moist. Masses of delightfully dainty, small white flowers bloom on long thin stems from spring to early summer.

  • Flowers April to June
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall and 40cm wide
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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4. Trillium luteum (yellow wood trillium or birthroot bulbs)

This wonderful woodland perennial loves dappled shade and grows well when planted beneath large shrubs or deciduous trees. Easily identifiable by its leaves and petals which always appear in groups of three.

Soft lemon colour and scented flowers bloom above heavily mottled leaves. Although, they can be slow to establish so best to buy the biggest plant you can find.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 40cm tall and 20cm wide
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Exposed
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5. Ajuga reptans (bugle) ‘Catlin’s Giant’

A great, low growing, evergreen plant that is particularly good for edging borders.

They will happily grow in shade or sun, as long as your soil retains moisture. It has large, shiny, deep purple, leathery looking leaves and around April produces spikes of large, bright blue flowers.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 45cm tall and 60cm wide
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed
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6. Magnolia ‘Genie’

Another tree with striking blossom that you are likely to see in April are magnolias. This fast growing, yet small tree requires little or no pruning and is smothered in dark burgundy red shaped flowers in late spring.

The other advantage is that it flowers from a young age so you can save money by not buying a fully mature specimen.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 2.5m tall and 2m wide
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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7. Chaenomeles speciosa (Japanese quince)

Alternatively, this is perfect if you’re looking for an easy to grow, low maintenance shrub that will thrive in a variety of locations in the garden. Position in full sun or partial shade and see the small clusters of red bowl-shaped flowers over several months.

It’s happy growing in either an exposed or sheltered location.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 2.5m tall and 4m wide
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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8. Exochorda x macrantha (pearl bush) ‘The Bride’ 

When the plant is in flower in April this shrub is absolutely gorgeous. For a period of around six weeks the elegant arching branches become smothered in pure white blossom from top to bottom – it’s a joy to behold.

Although it grows best in a sunny, open position, it can also be grown in partial shade and trained as a wall shrub too.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 2m tall and 2.5m wide
  • Moist, but well drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed
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9. Pieris japonica (pieris)

The sun loving plant, lavender has an instantly recognisable scent. This variety grows up to 1 metre tall and wide with wonderfully scented cascades of flowers in high summer.  It will need very well-drained soil and pruning back after flowering to keep its shape and make sure you cut into the fresh green growth not the older, brown, woody stems as these often won’t regrow.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 2.5m tall and 2.5m wide
  • Moist, well drained acidic soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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10. Aubrieta ‘Purple Cascade’

Last is an early flowering, cheerful perennial loves nothing better than to cascade over walls and banks. Smothered in rich, purple flowers from March until May, they’re sure to bring spring to the garden.

Also, cutting it back by half after flowering keeps it in check often resulting in a bonus second flush of flowers in the autumn.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 20cm tall and 50cm wide
  • Moist, but well drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed
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So, add something special to your garden this month with these plants that will bring some spring cheer to those days of April showers.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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