8 Best Ornamental Shrubs That Bloom In Spring

In the middle belt, April is the time when the first flowering begins in gardens and parks. Unchanging soloists of the spring that has entered its rights are bulbous primroses. But even among ornamental shrubs, you can find those that will delight you with fragrant flowers, enlivening the as yet inconspicuous garden. The main riot of beautifully flowering shrubs is in May, and most of them tend to bloom in mid-May. But even in the last month of spring, some species and varieties also open their heads.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
8 best ornamental shrubs in bloom in spring

Our article will help you get a better feel for the timing of popular spring flowering shrubs. If you wish, even before the summer comes, you can admire at least a few blooming shrubs in the garden. And they will smoothly replace each other on their way to a multicolored June.

1. Forsythia

Every nation has its own plant that symbolizes the coming of spring. For the middle belt, such turned out to be blue leprosy, often called snowdrops. But among shrubs, the cheerful sunny Forsythia can be called the "first flower".

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Forsythia (Forsythia)

Flowering of this original plant begins after the snow melts, with the onset of relatively warm days. Depending on weather conditions, flowers may begin to bloom from early or mid-April (and in a friendly and warm spring - even at the end of March).

The length of the period in bloom may also vary from year to year. On average, Forsythia enjoys its sunny flowers for about two weeks. The intensity of flowering can also vary, as the number of flower buds directly depends on wintering conditions and weather caprices, and also varies depending on species and cultivar.

In any case, charming bright florets cannot fail to delight the eye in early spring after long contemplation of monochrome landscapes. Flowering of this shrub begins before the blossoming of leaves right on the bare branches.

Forsythia flowers have a dipped bell-shaped and bright yellow color, they are so densely sitting on the branches on their short pedicels that from afar the bushes look as if cast of gold. The cheerful flowers not only bring joy to the eye, but also have a pleasant aroma with almond notes, which attracts a large number of insects that have woken up in the spring. Sometimes gardeners themselves want to linger and "warm up" near these sunny flowers.

After flowering the yellow bells themselves fall off, and on the branches begins to develop leaves intensively, so the plant always looks neat and does not require pruning the inflorescent inflorescences.

The leaves of most forsythia varieties are not particularly remarkable, they have a solid shape and jagged edges, but thanks to the dense dense crown, the shrub can successfully perform the role of green shrubs. This property also accounts for the popularity of using forsythia to create a cut or freely growing hedge. It is important to keep in mind, however, that intensive cutting reduces flowering and can often even reduce it to nothing.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Pestrolifolia forsythia. © agrosazhenec

Best species and varieties of forsythia

To make the everyday foliage of forsythia attractive, the breeders worked intensively on the development of variegated varieties. Nowadays among Forsythia species you can find ones with fringed foliage (Forsythia greenery "Citrus Swizzle" ) or bright golden veins on the emerald background (Forsythia koreana "Kumson" ). The evergreen Forsythia species belong to the 5th frost-resistance zone and can get a little frosty in winter. The individual greenleaf species of Forsythia can also have a low winter hardiness, so when choosing a plant it is better to consider varieties of the most resistant Oval (egg-shaped) and Forsythia Zibolda43>.

For more details about the species of Forsythia see the article Six species of Forsythia

Forsythia is a very unpretentious shrub that will require minimal care. The plant can grow well in both sun and light penumbra. The soil should be moderately fertile and well permeable.

2. Magnolia

For more than a dozen years florists of the middle zone with various results are trying to grow magnolia on the plot. And the success of this knowingly risky venture depends not only on the microclimate on the plot, but also on the species to which the exotic magnolia belongs. After all, the winter-hardiness of its various species varies significantly.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Magnolia (Magnolia). © Nicole Heine

The species such as Magnolia Sulange, Magnolia cobus, Magnolia pointed, Magnolia Lebnera, Magnolia trifoliate showed good frost-resistance in the middle belt. ButStellate Magnolia ( Magnolia stellata ), whose planting material (of European origin) can most often be found in the gardening departments of large supermarkets, will grow very slowly and suffer greatly from frost.

Many species of magnolia bloom before the leaves open in early spring (April), their cup-shaped flowers look a bit like a water lily (in half bloom). The coloring can be white, cream, pink, and purple, depending on the variety. Some varieties have a pleasant lemon scent, while others lack fragrance. In any case, this tree has an unforgettable exotic appearance, its large flowers, sitting on the bare branches, look really fantastic.

When growing magnolia, you need to choose the sunniest place, protected from winds. These plants prefer weakly acidic soil, but will grow well on ordinary loam without additional acidification, the main thing is that the soil was not lime. Magnolias like moderately moist areas, but without stagnant water.

Astonishingly, in general, this luxurious southern plant is unpretentious in care and practically does not get sick, and is not even particularly attractive to pests. Covering winter-hardy species for the winter is not required, but for reliability in the fall you can well mulch the bedding circle of young plants with a layer of 20-30 centimeters. In summer during dry periods, magnolias must be necessarily watered.

Magnolia can be grown from seeds. Learn how - read How I Grow Magnolias from Seeds.

3. Daphne

In mid to late April a very interesting shrub known as "wolfberry" or "wolfberries" - daphne .The plant bears this name because of its ornate but very poisonous bright red fruits that appear on the plant in early fall.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Lethal or common daphne (Daphne mezereum)

In mid-spring they are preceded by charming flowers in pink and purple tones (or white in some varieties and species). Daphne blooms so profusely that its branches are literally completely covered with flowers. Also this shrub is valued for its pleasant fragrance, which can be felt even from a distance. The flowering period in the cool spring can last up to a month, but usually it lasts for two weeks.

The best species and varieties of daphne

Depending on the species, daphne can be a small shrub that is good for rock gardens, or a large bush of two meters high. Deciduous and evergreen species can be found in daphne, but in the conditions of the middle belt it is better to prefer the latter.

The most stable in the gardens of the middle belt is Burkwood hybrid daphne, and also daphne hogweed. These species have varieties with white and pink flowers.

In our forests, the daphne mezereum (Daphne mezereum) is sometimes found, which can also be successfully grown in the garden. The garden forms of Daphne mezereum can have purple or white flowers. The white flowered shrubs will have yellow berries instead of red ones.

In the wild Daphne can grow in the mountains or in the forest canopy, depending on this the place for Daphne in the garden is selected, being guided by the origin of the particular species. Mountain varieties of daphne prefer sun and limey soil, while forest - penumbra and neutral fertile soil. All species of daphne do not tolerate overwatering and need well-drained soils.

4. Almonds

There are at least two different plants under the name "almond" in ornamental horticulture: steppe almond (Luiseania) and lobe almond (beanberry).

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Steppe almond (Prunus tenella)

Steppe almond is a medium shrub up to 1.5 meters high. At the end of April its thin branches are covered with small bright pink flowers consisting of five delicate petals. They are somewhat similar in shape to apple, pear and other rose-flowered plants, but they are not arranged in tassels but sit close together on a branch.

Thanks to this location and the abundance of inflorescences, from afar almond bushes resemble a magical pink haze. The delicate fragrance of the flowers attracts bees and other insect pollinators to the garden. Depending on weather conditions, flowering can last from one to three weeks. In autumn the fruit may set on bushes, but it is better not to eat them as it can be harmful to the body.

The beanberry is a very unpretentious winter-hardy and drought-resistant shrub that prefers to grow in open sunny places. The plant tolerates pruning well, which contributes to more lush flowering.

In late April and early May another plant, also bearing the name of almond - louiseania lobata blooms. In appearance, this shrub from the Rosaceae family is similar to the famous Japanese Sakura. Its large swollen flowers consist of numerous pink petals hiding numerous fluffy stamens.

Luiseania blossoms so abundantly that its branches are literally covered with charming flowers, and you can admire the northern sakura for 2-2.5 weeks. Unlike the steppe almond louisiana is less winter-hardy and regularly frosts in winter, so a light shelter may be used when growing it.

The shrub is light-loving and moderately drought-resistant, prefers soils of medium fertility, it can also be grown on sandy soils. It is not recommended to plant Louisiana in lowlands with a high level of groundwater, as this promotes the development of the main scourge of this shrub - the fungus disease moniliosis. Rhododendron

Multiple varieties of dazzling evergreen rhododendrons captivate the hearts of florists every year, but their cultivation is associated with a number of difficulties, in particular those related to the need for winter shelter. But in the ranks of rhododendrons there are also deciduous varieties that are more adapted to growing in the middle belt.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Rhododendron dauricum (Rhododendron dauricum)

One of the most unpretentious and early flowering deciduous rhododendrons - rododendron daurica, also known as frogman. The blooming butterbur resembles a pink haze, its flowers are smaller and not as exotic as those of varietal rhododendrons, but still its delicate beauty is a welcome decoration for the garden in the spring.

Since this shrub is a natural species growing in a rather cool climate (in Russia it can be found in Eastern Siberia and the Far East), in the garden it will not cause any problems to a florist and will not require special care and covering for the winter (the wood of rosemary can bear frosts to -45 degrees).

That said, when growing rosemary it is important to remember one unpleasant property of the plant - the sharp camphoric smell of rosemary flowers has a negative effect on people, in particular, causes headaches, dizziness and weakness. In addition, all parts of the plant are poisonous.

In this regard, it is not recommended to plant the shrub near places of rest, as well as to grow it in the form of masses, but a small bush in a remote corner of the garden will not harm anyone.

The rhododendron daurian flowering very early, its flowering can begin even during a long thaw in late winter or in March, but most often the flowering of this shrub falls in April. The duration of flowering very much depends on the weather and can vary from 10 days to a month.

Grows very slowly, but at 20 years of age the rhodododendron daurian can reach a height of two metres. The key to success when growing rhododendrons - planting in the right soil. Like all rhododendrons, rosemary needs acidic soils, so if your site is neutral and even more alkaline reaction of the soil, it is definitely necessary to prepare planting pits for the plant.

All soil from the prepared planting place is recommended to take out and replace it with acidic peat mixed with sand, pine needles and leaf soil, or purchase special soil for heather cultures.

Rodododendron dauricum is a moisture loving plant, so will grow well on the banks of ponds or in areas prone to spring flooding. In summer during the dry period it is necessary to water the rosemary. © Four Seasons Garden

Azalea japonica

Another species of deciduous rhododendron Azalea japonica. The flowers of this plant in size, beauty and richness of color are not inferior to the evergreen rhododendron, as many varieties of rhododendron japanese, among which you can choose the most winter-hardy.

The best will survive the winter in the middle belt natural species azalea japanese, which flowers large flowers of different shades of orange, and sometimes there are yellow-colored varieties.

Japanese rhododendron blooms in late May, occasionally in the cool spring, the buds may not begin to bloom until early June.

More about rhododendron species and varieties you can learn by reading our article All Shades of Rhododendrons. Blurred plantings.

6. Weigela

In May, the baton passes to another enchanting shrub, the weigela. The earliest varieties of veigela (e.g., "Debussy") begin blooming as early as early May, but most varieties bloom near the end of the calendar spring.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Middendorf weigela (Middendorf weigela). © Cell Code

Weigela is a shrub with a height of 50 cm to 3 meters, depending on the species and variety. During flowering the plant is densely covered with small bright bells in a pink and crimson color range, and some species and varieties, such as Weigela Middendorf, bloom in yellow or white flowers. The flowering period, on average, lasts about a month.

After blooming, many varieties of veigela continue to look decorative because they have brightly colored foliage. Varieties such as Olympiade and Aurea have a sunny bright yellow leaf plate. But in most varieties, the foliage is purple in varying degrees of intensity. The darkest color is found on the hybrid Weigela "Minor Black" and "Naomi Campbell".

Vaigela variegata is characterized by its white-cauline leaves reminding of the turf leaves. Variegate varieties can be found in Monet , Costeriana Variegata , Magical Rainbow and others.

In August-September the vahegela can sometimes start re-blooming in single flowers.

Growing peculiarities

Weihegela thrives in full sun and in the light shade. In terms of soil, the plant is undemanding, and grows well in almost any garden soils. When choosing a location, it is very important to avoid planting in a place where meltwater can stagnate in the spring. Stagnant water is the main danger for veigela, leading to imminent death. But it tolerates a small drought more stable.

Weigela winter hardiness cannot be called very high, so every winter you can observe frosted tips of shoots on bushes. But such frosts, as a rule, are not critical, after sanitary pruning the plant fully recovers and blooms abundantly on the shoots of the current year. To reduce the negative impact of frosts, it is better to plant veigela in a protected place without strong winds, and young seedlings in the first years to bend to the ground.

For more details about veigela, read our material Veigela - species and cultivation.

7. Chubushnik

The divine fragrance of the chubushnik, which blooms at the very end of May-beginning of June, will conclude the spring parade and lead us into summer. Few flower growers call it "jasmine" in the old fashioned way anymore, calling this fragrant shrub by its correct name - the hibiscus.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Hibiscus (Philadelphus)

Selecting hibiscus varieties should be especially thoughtful, as there are several pitfalls here. For example, some varieties of hibiscus (most often the majestic ones) may not have the very jasmine aroma for which a grower often decides to plant a shrub.

You should also remember that some dwarf hibiscus varieties (such as "Gnome") practically do not flower. Another difficulty is associated with the low winter hardiness of some species of this shrub. In particular, there are often numerous varieties of Chubooseberry Lemoine on sale in garden departments, which regularly freezes from the middle belt, and in some harsh winters can even freeze out completely.

Best varieties of chubooseberry

So for reliability it is better to prefer the old varieties of Soviet breeding, bred by breeder Vekhov, which do not lose relevance to the present day. Among them are "Unusual", "Ballet of moths", "Moonlight", "Airborne" and others.

Some hybrid hueberry varieties have quite an unusual aroma, for example the "Ripe Apples" is famous for the characteristic apple aroma of its flowers, and the "Strawberry" hueberry has flowers that smell not of jasmine but of real strawberries.

The following varieties of hueberry also deserve attention: 'Innocence' with white lawns and 'Aureus' with golden foliage.

For more details on the species and varieties of chubushnik and the peculiarities of its cultivation, read the article Chubushnik - the king of unpretentious shrubs.

Speaking of spring shrubs, one cannot help but remember lilacs, which have a huge number of varieties. They differ in different terms of being in bloom, which allows you to stretch the period of lilac flowering for a long time.

8 best ornamental shrubs that bloom in spring
Lilac (Syringa)

The early flowering lilac varieties bloom in early to mid-May. The medium-flowering ones begin to flower in mid-May or early June, and the late-blooming ones open their flowers only in summer in June-July.

There is a regularity that varieties with inflorescences of light colors (gently pink, white-pink and white) bloom earlier. The more intense purple and violet shades bloom later. A single cluster of lilacs blooms for 15 to 20 days, but the whole bush blooms for 30 to 40 days. Choosing varieties with different terms of blossoming, you can feel uninterrupted fragrance of lilacs in your garden from the beginning of May to midsummer.

For more details about the types and varieties of lilacs see our article Varieties and types of lilacs.

At the end of May another beautiful flowering shrub - deitia , which deserves attention of gardeners. For the abundant snow-white appearance in the blossoming period it is sometimes called "the bride in the garden".

You can read about growing deutia in our article Deutia - a snow-white beauty.

May is also remarkable by the white "foam" of spring flowering species spireia.

Read our detailed article The best species and varieties of spring spireys for flower beds.

Dear readers! And what shrubs, blooming in spring, grow on your plot? Tell us about them in the comments to the article.

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