Early-Spring Blooming Shrubs for Bliss and Beauty

Early-Spring Blooming Shrubs for Bliss and Beauty

Early-Spring Blooming Shrubs for Bliss and Beauty
Close-up of Razzleberri Fringe Flower against burgundy leaves.

Plant photos by Doreen Wynja

For many gardeners, winter seems like the longest season of the year. The days are short and often quite gray. Happily, if we have the right plants, we can look to our gardens for signs that spring is about to arrive. There are bulbs and early-blooming perennials that pop up at the start of the growing season.

It is the flowering shrubs in our landscape, however, that truly announces winter is finally coming to an end.

(Above) Razzleberri® Fringe Flower offers vibrant multi-season interest. It's at its showiest in the spring, with a profusion of bright flowers. Get more details on Razzleberri below.

Photo by Richard Shiell

See fresh signs of the arrival of spring every year in your garden with one of these beautiful spring-flowering shrubs. Below, we offer our favorite early-spring blooming shrubs for gardens across the country. This includes gorgeous shrubs for zones from 4 all the way to up 10. Plus, you'll find companion plant ideas that make perfect pairs for these spring beauties. Plant them together to get a dramatic show to welcome spring every year. 

Favorite Spring-Flowering Shrubs (Zones 4-9)


Among the most reliable flowering evergreen shrubs for Northern gardens, P.J.M. Elite Rhododendron is also one of the most beautiful. It delights in early spring as the big buds unfurl to reveal lovely clusters of lavender-purple blossoms. Being smaller in stature than many other Rhododendron varieties, you can tuck P.J.M. Elite in your garden with early-season perennials. Up to 5' tall and wide. Zones 4-8.

Companion Plant Idea

Enjoy P.J.M. Rhododendron under the shade of Royal Star Magnolia. A magnificent large shrub or small tree that shows off a profusion of starry flowers in early spring.

Springshine™ Forsythia

Forsythia is one of spring’s most iconic shrubs. Fresh selections like Springshine™ make it easier to use in garden design than ever. Springshine™ bursts into bloom in early spring like old-school varieties. Unlike those varieties, it bears golden-yellow flowers from the tops of the stems all the way down to the base. Its dwarf habit allows it to fit anywhere in your garden. Up to 2' tall, 3' wide. Zones 4-9

Companion Plant Idea

Site Springshine™ Forsythia with Carsten’s Wintergold Mugo Pine. This low-maintenance evergreen offers golden-yellow needles throughout the winter. It starts to go green after Forsythia ends its show.

Jelena Witch Hazel

What better way to celebrate spring than with cheerful fragrant flowers? Jelena Witch Hazel offers just that, bringing beauty to the garden, even on the grayest days. Its copper-colored spidery blooms clothe the stems, giving the shrub a distinctive look you can see from yards away. Get closer to it to take in the blossoms’ delightful form and spicy fragrance. Up to 20' tall, 15' wide. Zones 5-9

Companion Plant Idea

Enjoy Jelena Witch Hazel with Little Rascal® Holly. This no-fuss dwarf evergreen shrub turns a lovely shade of purple-green over winter. It accents the Witch Hazel flowers perfectly.

Creeping Oregon Grape

Looking to add more North American native plants to your garden? Be sure to include this low-growing, underappreciated evergreen shrub! Come early spring, it brightens shaded spots with clusters of golden-yellow flowers. When pollinated, they form attractive clusters of blue-purple fruits that bring birds and other wildlife into your garden. Up to 2' tall, 4' wide. Zones 5-9

Companion Plant Idea

Dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea is a North American native plant that enjoys similar growing conditions. In summer Dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea offers white flowers and in autumn, its foliage turns spectacular shades of mahogany purple.

Favorite Spring-Blooming Shrubs (Zones 6-9)

Pink Dawn Viburnum

Worth growing for its fragrance alone, you will also love the classic beauty of Pink Dawn viburnum. In early spring its clusters of hot pink buds open to reveal showy cotton-candy pink flowers. This is before the new leaves begin to unfurl. Pink Dawn Viburnum delights a second time in autumn when its foliage turns festive shades of red and purple. Up to 10' tall, 8' wide. Zones 5-8.

Companion Plant Idea

Keep the fragrance coming in your garden by pairing Pink Dawn Viburnum with Little Darling® Lilac. A dwarf lilac that blooms in both spring and autumn.

Enchanted Forest® Impish Elf™ Pieris

Enchanted Forest® Impish Elf™ Pieris is among the most adorable evergreen spring-flowering shrubs. The bright pink, bell-shaped blooms open from pink-purple buds and hang gracefully above its foliage. After its flowers fade, its new leaves emerge a rich shade of red. Up to 5' tall and wide. Zones 6-8.

Companion Plant Idea

Accent Pieris with rich-purple Heuchera, such as Sirens’ Song™ Dark Night. In mild-winter areas, this perennial’s evergreen foliage is an ideal foil for Pieris blooms.

Moonlight Parfait® Winter Daphne

This shrub is spectacular in all seasons as its dark green foliage is boldly variegated in creamy yellow. Moonlight Parfait® Winter Daphne delights in early spring with its scented rose-pink flowers. At a tidy 4 feet tall and wide, it is perfect for planting along shaded walkways. Here you can take advantage of its luscious scent. Up to 4' tall and wide. Zones 6-9.

Companion Plant Idea

Ivory Prince Hellebore also offers evergreen foliage and an early-season bloom time. Both plants prefer a shaded spot with moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

Razzleberri® Fringe Flower

Razzleberri® Fringe Flower

It is hard to name a time when Razzleberri® Fringe Flower does not delight in the garden. It begins blooming in early spring and extends its show of spidery, raspberry-red blossoms into the summer. When not in bloom, you are sure to love the rich burgundy-purple tones of its new growth. This happens as it pushes out new leaves. Up to 6' tall, 5' wide. Zones 7-9.

Companion Plant Idea

For a look you will love all year long, pair Razzleberri® Fringe Flower with Double Shot® Watermelon Azalea. Both bear eye-catching pink blossoms and evergreen foliage and appreciate a partially shaded spot.

Favorite Spring-Blooming Shrubs (Zones 7-10)

Southern Moon® Yedda Hawthorn

Celebrate spring in mild-winter climates with Southern Moon® Yedda Hawthorn. This evergreen shrub shows off rich, dark green leaves that add appeal to the garden all year long. Come spring, its flower buds open to reveal fragrant white blossoms in cheery clusters. Enjoy it as a hedge, living screen, or specimen plant. Up to 6' tall, 8' wide. Zones 7-10.

Companion Plant Idea

Tuscan Blue Rosemary appreciates the same growing conditions as Yedda Hawthorn. Rosemary begins blooming in spring with lovely lavender-blue flowers on its scented foliage.

Nuccio’s Bella Rossa Camellia

Nuccio’s Bella Rossa Camellia

The queen of the early-spring gardens in mild-winter regions, Nuccio’s Bella Rossa Camellia is spectacular. She displays extra-large, 4-inch-wide crimson-red flowers at winter’s end, continuing through mid-spring. You are sure to love it even outside of spring thanks to its richly colored evergreen foliage. Up to 8' tall and wide in 10 years; up to 20' tall with age. Zones 8-10.

Companion Plant Idea

First Love® Gardenia picks up the show as Nuccio’s Bella Rossa Camellia ends. Both thrive in a partially shaded spot. They enjoy moist, slightly acidic soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter.

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2022-02-22 23:50:00

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