Nothing helps you shake off the gloom of winter quite like spring blooms. These early flowers start growing as soon as the ground thaws. So if you want that instant color in your garden, you need to set the stage before the ground freezes in the fall.
This article outlines some of the best things to plant in your garden this season if you want a bright, beautiful yard in the spring. These plants fall broadly into two buckets, bulbs and perennials, both of which are hardy enough to survive the winter freeze. However, they need the extra time in the autumn to set their roots before the hard frost descends.
So brave that chill fall air and start planting! A study pair of gardening gloves and a Carhartt hoodie will help you stay warm. When you see those first flowers poking out of the snow in the spring, you’ll be glad you did.
The cheerful yellow blooms of daffodils are often one of the first signs of spring. Grown from bulbs, they must be planted well before the ground freezes if you want to have the earliest blooms on the block. Daffodils are hardy enough to grow in zones 3-8 and love direct sunlight with well-draining soil.
For a huge variety of color in your garden in early spring, you’ll want to plant a wide variety of tulips. Also bulbs, tulips come in a huge number of variations. One standout is the peony tulip, which — as the name suggests — looks like a peony. For the best color and most beautiful blooms, plant your tulip bulbs in well-draining soil with full sun. Tulips are hardy enough to thrive in zones 3-7.
3. Creeping Phlox
For colorful ground cover in the spring, try planting creeping phlox. These white and purple flowers love to spread and climb. They look beautiful hanging over walls and creeping along the ground, filling your yard with their peaceful hues. They can grow in zones 3-9 and are happiest with dappled sun and sandy, well-draining soil.
Coneflowers provide tall blooms bursting with color and texture that can add interest to your garden. This native plant is easy to grow in zones 4-10 in full sun with — you guessed it — well-draining soil. Coneflower is a hardy plant, though, so if your soil is a bit moist, it may still thrive. As an added bonus, deer don’t love this species, so you’ll finally have blooms that don’t get eaten by your local wildlife!
The beautiful, delicate flowers of the columbine plant look almost like dew drops placed on top of snow. The flowers come in a variety of colors, from purple to pink and even yellow. They are a woodland perennial, so they prefer lightly shaded areas in zones 3-8 with slightly moist soil. They can be less resilient than other perennials on this list, however, so you might need to replant every few years.
6. False Indigo
False indigo is prized by gardeners both for its color and hardiness. This drought-resistant plant can survive both the winter freeze and a dry summer. Loved by bees and hated by deer, false indigo will bring pollinators to your garden while deterring Bambi and friends. Plant in zones 3-9 in well-draining soil for best results.
7. Giant Alliums
To add some texture to your spring garden, plant giant alliums. These large, ball-shaped flowers grow up to five feet tall, making them look like something out of a children’s book. They pop along walkways and in garden borders. These bulbs need well-draining soil, but they can tolerate a bit of shade, making them more versatile than other bulbs on this list. You’ll have the most success if you grow them in zones 4-9.
8. Shasta Daisy
The cheerful daisy is one of the most foolproof ways to brighten up your garden. This hardy variety can grow in many different conditions, making it an easy way to have beautiful flowers all summer long. The bright white petals really pop against surrounding shrubbery. They grow in zones 5-9 in full sun or light shade with well-draining soil.
9. Black-Eyed Susan
Another native plant to make the list, these beautiful yellow and black flowers can be found in fields and along roadsides all over the United States. Black-eyed Susans are incredibly easy to grow and keep alive. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance garden, plant this perennial in the fall for beautiful yellow flowers all summer long. They grow best in zones 4-9 in full sun with well-draining soil.
10. Swamp Milkweed
Most of the blooms on this list thrive in dry, well-draining soil. But there are beautiful blooms you can plant in fall in moist soil as well. Swamp milkweed is more attractive than its name suggests, and it provides wonderful benefits to the local ecosystem. Famous as the host plant of the monarch butterfly, milkweed is a butterfly magnet. Bring these beauties into your garden by planting milkweed in moist soil and full sun in zones 3-6.
Bloom Brighter Next Spring
Each of the plants on this list can be planted in the fall, ideally in October before the ground freezes. You’ll want to give these blooms a chance to root and settle into their new home before winter hits. That means you should get out into the garden before the air becomes too cold to plant some of these perennials and bulbs. If you act now, you’ll have early season blooms to brush away the winter chill as soon as the ground thaws.