Ah, spring. One of our favorite seasons! It’s a time when we feel refreshed, and when the landscape looks reborn. It’s seeing the new foliage bud on trees, or watching tulips or daisies push up through the soil. There’s nothing quite like the early spring bloomers.

In the spirit of spring, we’re sharing some of our most-loved early blooming plants. Trees, shrubs, and perennials all go through the most amazing transition this season, and we’re overjoyed to recommend these stunning specimens.

Early Blooming Trees


Eastern Redbud Tree Form - This stunning tree form redbud is a springtime showstopper. The blooms appear and cover the branches before the foliage grows in. The leaves are the classic heart-shape of all redbuds. It prefers full sun and is one of our most popular trees!

Jane Magnolia Tree Form - An often overlooked tree form of magnolia, this variety has beautiful near tulip-shaped blooms in spring, pink on the outside and white on the inside. Magnolia is a classic small ornamental for any sunny garden situation.

Red Jewel™ Crabapple - Crabapples are known for being spring bloomers, and this one is a nursery favorite. A real “jewel” in your yard, this crabapple tree is a great choice for year-round interest in the landscape. It has an upright, pyramidal crab shape with single white flowers, followed by bright red fruits that darken and shrivel up as winter comes on.

Find other spring blooming trees here: https://www.mckaynursery.com/trees?bloom_time=Spring&product_list_limit=36

Early Blooming Shrubs


Fiesta Forsythia - Forsythia is sometimes called the harbinger of spring, because it’s one of the earliest bloomers out there, and it’s a sure sign that spring is finally here. Fiesta Forsythia is a deer-resistant compact variety with a wonderful display of yellow flowers in early spring. The rest of the growing season it has incredible mottled green and yellow foliage.

P.J.M. Rhododendron - This easy-to-grow shrub boasts vibrant pinkish-lavender flowers in early spring and glossy green foliage throughout the year. Its full mature size can be 4-6’ x 4-6’, so make sure ample space is available for this beauty to flourish.

Pocahontas Lilac - Another spring favorite is the lilac. Pocahontas is one of our earliest-blooming and hardiest varieties. It’s a Canadian hybrid with very fragrant dark purple-maroon buds that open to single dark purple florets.

Find more spring blooming shrubs here: https://www.mckaynursery.com/shrubs?bloom_time=Spring&product_list_limit=36

Early Blooming Perennials


Blue Moon Phlox - Enjoy Blue Moon Phlox for its stunning blue-violet flowers, compact growth, and pleasing fragrance. Its flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It’s a creeping perennial that can form a tall carpet of beautiful flowers over time. Enjoy it in garden beds, prairies, meadows, rock gardens, naturalized areas, and as a groundcover.

Bleeding Heart - As far as spring bloomers go, this one is a classic! An easily-grown perennial, which features pink heart-shaped flowers blooming from May into June. This perennial likes dappled sunlight and works well in borders and woodland gardens.

Blue Ice Amsonia - The multi-season interest of this amsonia begins with a neat green-leaved form that sprouts blue flowers before ending with yellow fall foliage. It’s deer-resistant and attracts pollinators.

Find more early blooming perennials here: https://www.mckaynursery.com/perennials?bloom_time=Spring&product_list_limit=36

Flowering Plant Tips

A common question we get about flowering plants is if it’s possible to increase the number of blooms. While there’s no way to magically force a plant to produce more flowers than it naturally would, below are some tips to encourage healthy growth and flowering through proper care and maintenance. Please note that every tree, shrub, and perennial has different requirements and not all of these tips will apply. Check each plant’s individual care on our website, or contact us with questions!

  • Pruning - Pruning your plants properly can promote healthy growth, which is essential for flowering. Remove dead or diseased branches and thin out crowded areas to stimulate new growth and encourage flowering.
  • Watering - Proper watering is crucial for flower production. During droughts, or when the plant is establishing roots, make sure to provide enough water. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot and disease. For more watering tips, check out our watering guide.
  • Sunlight - Most flowering plants require plenty of sunlight to bloom profusely. Make sure your tree is planted in a location where it receives full or partial sunlight for the majority of the day.
  • Mulching - Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds, all of which contribute to overall plant health and flowering. For more tips on mulching, check out our mulching guide.

In Summary

Spring is a time of rebirth, when the warming weather brings us outside our homes and into our gardens. Many plants are just in the process of waking up in spring, but others, like these above, are well on their way to beautiful blooms. Bring some color into your spring landscape and provide early food for pollinators with early spring bloomers. Whether it be trees, shrubs, perennials, or all of the above!

Looking for additional gardening hacks? Check out our Green Tips page for information on watering, mulching, and more!