Underrated Flowers of Spring – FineGardening

It is spring in my garden in northern Indiana, and the bulbs are showing off like crazy. Daffodils are everywhere, and tulips are poking up and getting ready to bloom. But sometimes I think the beautiful spring bulbs distract from all the other amazing plants that bloom in spring. So here are some of my other favorite spring-blooming perennials.

Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris, Zones 3–8) blooms as early as any bulb, and this little perennial is a sure sign of spring in my garden. It thrives in sunny, well-drained conditions. And unlike the daffodils it is blooming next too, it has ferny foliage that looks great all summer; moreover, the flowers are followed up by decorative seed heads.

These are what the seed heads look like after the flowers finish on the pasque flower. I like them almost as much as the flowers!

Primroses are a great part of spring, and this Primula sieboldii (Zones 4–9) is one of the best. Unlike some primroses, it is a long-lived perennial and doesn’t mind hot summers. The leaves can go dormant in the summer if it gets too dry, but then it will return unharmed to flower again next spring.

Bluets (Houstonia caerulea, Zones 4–9) are a wonderful little sign of spring. They are native to woodlands throughout most of eastern North America. Each individual flower is tiny, but when massed together they make great sheets of flowers.

Another favorite native woodland perennial is foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia, Zones 4–9), which creeps to make a carpet of beautiful foliage topped with these delicate sprays of white flowers. Tiarella are great in the garden, but they really prefer spots that stay moist and so aren’t a good choice for dry shade.

Mukdenia (Mukdenia rossii, Zones 4–8), on the other hand, does great for me in dry shade under a maple tree. The sprays of white flowers look great in the spring, and then the foliage keeps looking good the rest of the summer.

Phlox is an amazing genus of plants native to North America. I’ve never met a phlox I didn’t love, and there are way more species worth enjoying than we usually see in gardens. This is the stunning Phlox bifida (Zones 4–8) with its masses of almost lacy blooms in the spring.

My other favorite phlox is probably woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata, Zones 3–8), which, as the name suggests, is native to forested areas and is a beautiful addition to a lightly shaded garden.

What are your favorite spring bloomers? Send in some pictures for us all to enjoy!


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