Top 10 Early Spring Flowering Bushes
Spring flowering bushes and shrubs that add color to backyards early in the season, attract pollinators and more.
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Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
Cornus mas, Zones 4 to 8
Size: Up to 20 feet tall and wide
Welcome spring with bright yellow flowers that appear earlier than forsythia’s blooms. These spring flowering bushes prefer full sun or part shade, and rich, moist, well-draining soil. Leaves turn purplish red in fall, and flaky bark adds winter interest.
Why we love it: The red fruits are edible, but they are tastier made into preserves, jellies and pies. Or leave them for the birds to enjoy.
Check out 22 early blooming spring flowers for your garden.
Dwarf Russian Almond
Prunus tenella, Zones 2 to 6
Size: 2 to 5 feet tall and wide
This modest-sized shrub bookends the growing season with showy rose red flowers and yellow-orange fall color. It prefers full sun, tolerates a range of soil types and is fairly drought resistant. Ruth’s 100 produces abundant blooms on a compact plant.
Why we love it: Flowers appear early and attract butterflies. Plus, the plant provides food and cover for backyard birds and wildlife.
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Vernal Witch Hazel
Hamamelis vernalis, Zones 4 to 8
Size: 6 to 10 feet tall and wider
Leaves emerge reddish bronze, turn green in summer and shift to yellow in fall. The best flowering happens in full sun, but the plant tolerates part shade.
Why we love it: This native tree attracts songbirds, but deer leave it alone.
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Edgeworthia chrysantha, Zones 7 to 9
Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and wider
Leafless stems provide interest in winter, while creamy yellow flowers with a spicy scent attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies in late winter or early spring. The Gold Finch variety tolerates humidity and heat, and Grandiflora boasts larger flowers.
Why we love it: Dark green leaves turn rich yellow in fall, adding to its year-round appeal. And its bark can be used to make paper, hence its common name.
Plant Lenten rose for early spring blooms.
Prunus jacquemontii, Zones 5 to 8
Size: 5 feet tall and wide
Here’s a cherry that southern gardeners can also enjoy. Rose-colored buds open to fragrant pink flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. The green leaves are a larval host for the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly and turn yellow in the fall. Grow these spring flowering bushes in full sun with moist, well-draining soil.
Why we love it: The fruit, which ranges from red to plum purple, attracts birds to the landscape.
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Fothergilla gardenii, Zones 4 to 9
Size: 3 to 6 feet tall, 2 to 6 feet wide
The fothergilla is a beautiful white flowering shrub and slow grower that sends up additional shoots, forming a colony. Remove any unwanted stems to control its size. The blue-green leaves turn vibrant red, orange and yellow in the fall. Grow it in full sun to part shade, and in rich, moist, acidic soil.
Why we love it: White, honey-scented bottlebrush flowers attract bees and other beneficial pollinators.
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Daphne, Zones 4 to 8
Size: 6 inches to 3 feet tall, 2 to 3 feet wide
Choose from a variety of sizes and spring bloom times. Grow in full sun to part shade where the lovely fragrant flowers can be enjoyed. Daphnes prefer moist, well-draining soil and protection from winter wind and sun.
Why we love it: The evergreen leaves of some cultivars and the variegated leaves of Carol Mackie make daphnes a welcome addition to a home garden of any size.
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Exochorda racemosa, Zones 4 to 8
Size: Up to 15 feet tall and wide
Place this large shrub where you are sure to enjoy the spring floral display. Pearl-like flower buds open into white flowers in midspring, followed by interesting seed capsules. Use it as a hedge or include it in a mixed or shrub border. Prune immediately after blooming for best results.
Why we love it: Growing in full sun to part shade, these spring flowering bushes are low maintenance as well as heat and drought tolerant.
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Chaenomeles speciosa, Zones 4 to 9
Size: 6 to 10 feet tall and wide
Quince’s white, pink or red flowers are followed by an apple-like fruit that turns yellow in the fall (make it into preserves and jellies). Leaves emerge a bronzy red before turning green in summer. Grow in full sun for the best flowering.
Why we love it: The colorful flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
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Pieris japonica, Zones 4 to 7
Size: 9 to 12 feet tall, 6 to 8 feet wide
Grow as a large shrub or small tree in full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, well-draining, acidic soil, as well as a location where its evergreen leaves are protected from winter winds.
Why we love it: The showy buds that form in late summer add beauty to the winter garden before opening into white flowers in early spring.
See fascinating facts about flowering trees.