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The Best Spring Flowers and Tips for Growing Them

Depending what area of the country you’re in, or what gardening zone you’re in, spring may not necessarily come when the calendar says it’s spring. For some of you lucky gardeners in warmer climates, Spring arrives early. And, for those of us in cooler climates, Spring may or may not arrive by the calendar date. When it does arrive, it’s an amazing time of year in the garden. Those little bits of green emerging from the ground are so exciting! Please join me today as I share the Best Spring Flowers, along with some tips for growing them.

Tulips in a Spring Garden

Unlike summer blooming plants, to have spring flowers you have to plan ahead. Spring flowering shrubs, perennials and bulbs are best when planted the previous year.  Spring flowering bulbs must be planted in the fall and need a prolonged cold period. Simply plan and plant ahead, and you’ll be rewarded with fresh, beautiful spring flowers. 

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Spring Blooming Flowers Grown From Bulbs

At the bottom of the page, I’m linking to my fall post – Planting Bulbs in the Fall for amazing spring flowers. Pop over and pin it, so when fall comes around, you can refer back to it. Here are a few of my favorite Spring Blooming Flowers that are grown from bulbs:

  • Snowdrops
  • Crocus
  • Glory of the Snow
  • Grape Hyacinths
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinth
  • Tulips – Do your tulips come up year after year without fail… and then never set bubs or bloom? I’ve learned over the years that in my zone 4 gardens, tulips are a very short lived perennial, so I just plant new bulbs every fall. At the end of the post, I’ve linked to an article on how to get your tulips to bloom every year, which includes tips for fertilizing and which varieties to grow.

Grape Hyacinth

Grape Hyacinths in a Spring Garden

Shade Flowers & Plants That Bloom in the Spring

  • Hellebores
  • Bleeding heart
  • Brunnera
  • Pulmonaria
  • Lamium
  • Ferns – They don’t flower, but fern fronds in the spring are beautiful.

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Spring Flowers - 20 Best Spring Flowers and Tips for Growing 

More Flowers That Bloom in Spring

  • Candytuft
  • Peonies
  • Primrose
  • Poppies
  • Columbine
  • Gas plant
  • Viola
  • Pansies (annual)
  • Snapdragons (annual)
  • Creeping phlox
  • Siberian iris
  • Anemone
  • Rock Cress
  • Bachelor’s buttons (centurea)
  • Virginia bluebells
  • Iris – Are you having problems with your irises blooming? I once had an elderly gardener friend that said once you can see 5 leaves on an iris plant, you’ll get blooms that year. I’m not sure if that’s true, but thought I’d pass it along. Really, if you aren’t getting blooms on your iris, check to see if you have it planted too deep. The top of the rhizome should be uncovered. So it might be as simple as pushing any mulch or soil away from the top of the rhizome, or you may need to raise the plant. Irises are one of those plants that are nearly impossible to kill. Even though they don’t flower nearly long enough, their foliage stays looking pretty good throughout the summer.

Orange Iris, Azalea and Pansies

Orange Iris in a Spring Garden

Perennial Flowers That Bloom in Late Spring:

  • Asiatic lilies
  • Salvia
  • Alexander lysimachia
  • Delphinium
  • Clematis
  • Allium
  • Baptisia

Don’t forget about Spring Blooming shrubs like Azaelas, Forsythia and Lilacs to name a few. Also spring blooming trees. Crabapple, Red Bud and Magnolia are a few of the most popular ones in my area, but there are many more.

Gas Plant and Baptisia

Gas Plant - A Spring Perennail

How to Keep Rabbits and Deer from Eating Your Flowers

Do you have deer or rabbits munching off the buds of your spring flowers, especially tulips? That’s so frustrating! I’ve had the best luck with Liquid Fence. Be prepared though, it smells like the devil. I’ve also used Milorganite. It’s actually an organic fertilizer made from dried wastewater and manufactured by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Sounds disgusting and apparently deer think so too.

Irish Spring Soap is also off-putting to deer and rabbits. There are tons of other products on the market to repel deer and rabbits, but these are the main things I’ve had success with. If you have a persistent problem with deer or rabbits, stay on top of fighting the battle and change up different remedies and use multiple remedies. Here are more tips for Dealing with Garden Pests.

Tips for Dealing With Spring Flowers After They Have Bloomed

Oh what to do with ratty looking foliage from tulips and daffodils. Once the flowers are done blooming, be sure to clip the stems of your spring bulb plants so the plant doesn’t put energy into setting seed, but do not cut the foliage. I know it gets really ugly, but in order to recharge and fortify the bulb for the next blooming season, you need to let the foliage die. Once it’s yellow, then you can cut it off. Here are some tips on how to hide that ugly bulb foliage:

  • Plant spring blooming bulbs around plants whose foliage will cover the dying bulb foliage. I have lots of daylilies, so I try to plant my bulbs right up against the daylilies. As the bulb foliage is dying, the foliage from the daylilies is growing fast and furious to hide the bulb foliage. Hosta foliage also works great for covering dying bulb foliage, as do many other perennials.
  • When I’m working with dying tulip foliage where there aren’t perennials to hide the dying foliage, I simply lay the foliage flat to the ground and cover it with mulch. Sometimes I will even step on it to smush the leaves down a bit.

Tulips in a Spring Garden

Would you love to have a Perennial Flower Garden that has
flowers blooming from early spring right through fall?

Designing with Perennials for 3 Seasons of Blooms is a Workbook/Guide
to help you create a perennial flower garden that has a succession of
continuous blooms from early spring through fall.
The Guide walks you through each step from designing your dream
3-season perennial garden on paper to executing your plan in the garden.
The Plant Lists in the Guide include over 90 Perennial Flowers
categorized by bloom time, sun requirements, zone, deer resistant,
rabbit resistant, cutting flowers and pollinator friendly.
The Guide is very reasonably priced, so stop by and get your copy soon.

Gardening Printables to Plan Your Spring Garden

There are lots of helpful Free Gardening Printables available to subscribers in the Gardening Resources Library. There are simple printables like graph paper so you can sketch out your flower or vegetable beds, or there are great resources like Designing with Perennials for Continuous Color, lots of checklists, and even garden pictures with inspirational quotes for framing. Just pop over and check the resource library out. I think you’ll be amazed.

Just in case you have the gardening itch, here are more articles you’ll enjoy:
Spring Garden Cleanup
Planting Bulbs in the Fall for Amazing Spring Flowers
How to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden
14 Plants You Don’t Want In Your Garden – Even If They Are Free
Essential Gardening Tools
Creating & Caring for a Low Maintenance Flower Garden
How to Grow & Care For Lilies
Tips for the Aging Gardener
Tips for Getting Tulips to Rebloom – Gardening Know How

I’m super excited that you stopped by Gingham Gardens today! What are your favorite spring blooming flowers? Do you have any tips I didn’t mention? If so, please leave a comment at the end of the post. As always, if you have a gardening question, feel free to leave that in the comments section as well. I love hearing from my readers. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and come back soon!

A huge thanks to my sisters for providing some of the pictures in this post.

Happy gardening,


p.s. Go ahead and feel free to “pin” these pictures. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away. There are also pins to share at the bottom of the page. Thanks a bunch!

p.p.s I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of flower garden eye candy for you.

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  1. I’m confused! In the article, it says to plant tulips tucked in among other plants like hostas. Tulips like sun and hostas like shade. How is it possible to plant together?

    1. Hi Vicki – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. When tulips come up in the spring, there’s very little foliage on trees, so places that are shady in the summer, are generally more sunny in the spring when tulips and daffodils are blooming. I hope this helps. Happy gardening, Joanna

  2. Thanks for the information. The squirrels ate my tulips bulbs last year. Any words of wisdom about dealing with those creatures.

    1. I plant my tulips then place chicken wire on top of the ground over the bulbs. Pin the wire in place. The tulips can grow right thru the wire in spring but squirrels can’t dig bulbs up.

    1. Hi Christine – thanks for stopping by. Some of the pictures in this post were provided by my sisters who are in warmer zones than I am. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do in your yard this year. Happy gardening!

  3. I also just replant my tulips but this spring I am going to try to lift them and try to save them with the instructions you have us. With the amount of money I spend each fall it is certainly worth a try.
    Everything in my garden seem to be growing so fast including the weeds. More severe weather for today so garden chores will be put on hold . Can’t wait for my Peonies to start bloming. One of my favorites and love to cut them and bring some inside. The scent of them just says spring to me. Do you grow them?

    1. Great idea with the tulips, Kathy. I need to try that too. I usually get so busy in the spring though that I probably won’t get around to it. I do grow peonies and I love them but they just don’t last long enough. Happy spring and happy gardening.

  4. In zone 6 the tulips return for a few years but not that many. Was told years ago by a master gardner that it was because of our heavy clay soil. If the soil was sandier and could drain better they would return. Who knows but like you I just replant a few every year.

    1. Hi Carol, I have also heard that the heirloom tulip varieties are better rebloomers. Today’s hybrids were designed for florists and not really intended for home gardens. I hope you’re enjoying spring! Happy gardening!

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