There’s a good reason why early blooming perennials will never go out of style. The long-lived, low-maintenance plants lay dormant throughout the long winter, waking up the garden with a dependable burst of color every spring. For gardeners, part of the fun of growing perennials is experimenting with new plants in a color, shape or form you never imagined.
Some favorites for this spring may include the following:
Daffodils (Buttercups) – The term “daffodil” refers to any plant in the Narcissus family, including snowdrops and jonquils. Daffodils are extremely cold-hardy, showing up as early February with blooms that last at least six weeks and sometimes much more. Pair daffodils with other early spring perennials in contrasting colors, such as Virginia bluebells or bright purple iris.
Blue Violets – Blue violets are demure, happy-faced plants that top out at about 4 inches (10 cm.). The delicate, vibrant blue blooms pop in stark contrast to the rounded, emerald green leaves. While blue violets make a lovely little groundcover under tulips, they’re also suitable for rock gardens, borders, or even containers or window boxes. This North American native is beautiful when planted along with intense blue lobelia, bright yellow daffodils, or the softer shades of blue phlox.
Bird’s Foot Violets – Bird’s foot violets, at 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm.), are a bit taller than blue violets, but the delicate blue and purple blooms are just as pretty. This native woodland plant tolerates shade, but it blooms more profusely with a little sunlight. Consider planting bird’s foot violets with vibrant purple violets, or with blood root plant, which despite the name, shows off pure white, yellow centered blooms.
Irises – When it comes to irises in the garden, there’s a type to suit nearly any setting. Bearded , for example, is available in several show-stopping colors, including red, blue, white, yellow and lavender, all of which pop out against the deep green foliage. This elegant, upright plant prefers full sun, but light afternoon shade is helpful in hot climates. Pairings for bearded iris include bright yellow daffodils or low-growing Indian pink plants, which aren’t really pink, but consist of bright red flowers with contrasting yellow lobes. Dwarf crested iris displays 6-inch (15 cm.) stems of pale yellow to dark green, and fragrant blooms of lavender or pastel blue. This hardy North American native tolerates cold weather and semi-shady areas, and often puts on a show every spring for up to ten years. Plant dwarf crested iris alongside clumps of vibrant daylilies, which are available in shades of orange, red, yellow, purple and white.
There are endless spring flowering perennials you can choose, and planting them in the garden is a great way to enjoy these plants for years to come.