A Burst of Color and Beauty
Early spring is a magical time in the garden when nature awakens from its winter slumber, and the landscape bursts with vibrant colors. Spring is the ideal season to plant perennials to bring beauty to your garden yearly. We will explore five exceptional perennials that thrive when planted in early spring, including the wild geranium, hydrangea, creeping phlox, hosta, and Virginia bluebell. Each of these perennials brings unique charm and characteristics to your garden, ensuring a diverse and colorful landscape throughout the seasons. These plants are easy to grow and maintain, perfect for any gardener. Read on to discover the wonders of these early spring perennials and how to care for them.
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) - A Native Beauty
Wild geranium, also known as Geranium maculatum or woodland geranium, is a native perennial plant that thrives in woodland gardens and shady areas. It is a delightful addition to any early spring garden, with its delicate pink to lavender flowers that bloom from April to June. Planting wild geranium in early spring is ideal, as it prefers cool, moist conditions. Choose a location with well-drained soil and dappled shade, as it can tolerate some sun but thrives in partial to full shade. When planting, space them 12 to 18 inches apart. Maintenance is relatively easy for wild geranium. It's important to consistently keep the soil moist by adding organic mulch, which can suppress weeds during dry spells. Prune the plants after flowering to encourage fresh growth and prevent self-seeding, as wild geranium can be pretty prolific.
Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.) - Endless Blooms and Versatility
Hydrangeas are well-loved for their spectacular, globe-like blooms and ability to change flower color based on soil pH. Planting hydrangeas in early spring sets the stage for summer and fall filled with these stunning flowers. There are several hydrangea species and cultivars to choose from, each offering unique characteristics and bloom colors. Some popular varieties include the mophead hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), the oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), and the panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata). Consult your local nursery or garden center to select the best hydrangea variety for your region. To successfully plant hydrangeas in early spring, choose an area with well-draining soil and partial sun to dappled shade. Space the plants according to their specific variety's recommendations, as they can vary in size and growth habits. Ensure adequate moisture during dry periods, especially while they establish themselves in their new home. One of the intriguing aspects of hydrangeas is their ability to change flower color. Adjusting the soil's pH can shift the blooms from pink to blue or vice versa, allowing you to create your preferred color scheme in the garden.
Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) - A Ground-Hugging Carpet
Creeping phlox, also known as Phlox subulata or moss phlox, is a low-growing perennial that creates a vibrant carpet of color in early spring. Its small, star-shaped flowers bloom in various shades, including pink, purple, white, and blue, and cover the ground like a colorful quilt. Planting creeping phlox in early spring is best to allow enough time for the root system to establish before summer. For optimal growth, select a sunny location with well-draining soil and space the plants 12 inches apart to allow them to spread and form a beautiful mat of flowers. Creeping phlox is relatively low-maintenance but benefits from light pruning after flowering to encourage denser growth. It's also drought-tolerant once established, making it an excellent choice for gardens with well-drained soil that may experience occasional dry spells. The vibrant colors and cascading growth of creeping phlox make it a favorite choice for rock gardens and slopes and as ground cover in flower beds. Its ability to spread and fill in spaces quickly makes it a valuable addition to any early spring garden.
Hosta (Hosta spp.) - Foliage that Steals the Show
Hostas are popular among gardeners due to their lush, broad foliage and ability to thrive in shady areas, making them ideal for attractive ground cover. Planting hostas in early spring allows them to establish their roots and show off their beautiful leaves throughout the growing season. Hostas come in various leaf colors, sizes, and textures, making them a versatile addition to any garden. Popular hosta varieties include:
- The classic green and white 'Francee' hosta.
- The blue-green 'Halcyon' hosta.
- The variegated 'Patriot' hosta.
For best growth results, plant hostas in early spring in a shaded or partially shaded area with well-draining soil. Hostas can thrive in various soil types, but they prefer moisture-retentive soil. Space plants at least 18-36 inches apart to give them enough room to grow and showcase their beautiful foliage. Hostas require minimal maintenance but benefit from regular watering during dry periods. They also appreciate a layer of mulch to help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. Keep an eye out for slugs and snails, as these pests can sometimes damage the lush hosta leaves.
Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) - A Spring Ephemeral Beauty
Virginia bluebell, also known as Mertensia virginica or Virginia cowslip, is a spring ephemeral perennial that bursts into bloom in early spring, creating a spectacular display of delicate blue, bell-shaped flowers. Its appearance is a welcome sight in woodland gardens, meadows, and naturalized areas. Planting Virginia bluebells in early spring is ideal because they emerge and bloom before the trees fully leaf out, allowing them to receive the necessary sunlight. These perennials prefer partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Space the plants 12-18 inches apart to accommodate spreading growth. Virginia bluebells are relatively low-maintenance, as they are self-seeding and naturalize easily in suitable conditions. To enjoy their stunning display of blue flowers, ensure the soil remains consistently moist during their growing season.
Early spring is a fantastic time to revitalize your garden with the beauty and charm of these five exceptional perennials: wild geranium, hydrangea, creeping phlox, hosta, and Virginia bluebell. Each plant offers unique appeal and characteristics, ensuring a diverse and colorful garden throughout the seasons. Whether you're looking for ground cover, vibrant blooms, or stunning foliage, a perennial among these selections will suit your garden's needs. Plant them in early spring to give them a head start in establishing their root systems and thriving in your garden. With proper maintenance, these perennials will beautify your garden for years and attract pollinators. Get ready for spring by welcoming these enchanting early bloomers into your garden.