From the Desk of Ed Hume: Some Colorful Spring Flowering Perennials

April 9, 2012 at 10:42 AM Leave a comment

With so much going on in the garden in spring, we tend to overlook some really colorful spring flowering perennials. Here are eight of my favorite perennials that merit consideration for a spot in your spring garden.

AUBRIETIA

This low growing plant is often used in rockeries because it cascades over and between the rocks. This is also a wonderful plant to use in landscape beds. Varieties flower in purple, blue, and red. Plants only grow about 6 inches high and may spread to 18 inches.

DORONICUM DAISIES

These 2 inch yellow daisy-like flowers grow on 12 to 18 inch long stems. The showy flowers are great to use as cut flowers. Medium green leaves make a nice background for attractive flowers.

PRIMROSES

Primroses are one of the most popular old-fashioned perennials. There are numerous types and varieties, but the most popular are called English primula. Of the English primula, the Polyanthus group have a cluster of flowers on a single stem, while the P. vulgaris have one flower per stem. Take a look at all the other species too! These low growing plants like a semi-shady or completely shady spot. It’s not unusual for them to flower again in the autumn.

BASKET OF GOLD

Also known as alyssum saxatile, this popular rockery perennial grows up to about a foot high and two feet wide, with clusters of tiny yellow flowers in springtime. After blooming, cut off the dead flowers and the plant will usually flower again in late summer.

COLUMBINE

Easy to grow, this attractive, long spurred flower makes quite a show in the spring. The giant variety grows to about 2 feet tall, the dwarf variety grows only about 1 foot high. Both come in mixed colors and reseed easily.

LITHODORA

“Grace Ward” is covered with vivid blue flowers in springtime. The small leaves are a dark bright green. This plant is often used as a ground cover in small areas. The “Blue Star” variety is a lighter blue with white edges. Plants grow 6 to 10 inches tall and up to 3 feet wide.

PEONIES

These are a must-have in our garden. Beautiful in the garden, peonies are also great in cut flower arrangements. They come in a broad range of colors and combinations, with single, semi-double, and double flowers. Varieties vary from about 2 to 4 feet high, with the exception of tree peonies, which can get up to about 6 feet tall.

WALLFLOWERS

Hybrids and English Erysimum cheiri are the most popular wallflowers. The English varieties come in a broad range of flower colors, and many are fragrant and grow up to 2 feet tall. Some of the newer hybrids, such as “Bowles’ Mauve,” grow a little taller, and bloom continually. We have a “Fragrant Star” in our garden, and it has fragrant yellow flowers and evergreen leaves that have yellow margins, providing a colorful leaf variation.

Bleeding hearts, English daisies, forget-me-nots, candytuft, pansies, viola, and delphiniums are just a few other spring and early summer perennials that merit a place in your garden.

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