Skip to main content

HappySprout may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

These 5 outdoor plants bloom early to signal spring has arrived

The Canadian poet Margaret Atwood said, “In the spring, you should smell like dirt at the end of the day.”

Many gardeners and even those who just enjoy the immense array of vibrant colors that spring brings understand the joy of being outside and connecting with the Earth.

Composting through wintertime can be a laborious and strenuous job. Gardening in cold weather can be a bit of a challenge – even if it’s very possible. However, with its chilly and dark months, the winter gives way to a time when life seems to begin anew. Everything is revitalized — the world, seemingly dead, comes back to life. The nights get shorter, the days get longer, and the sun shines upon all. Hope springs forth!

This is a period when you can step outside and be immediately greeted by the earliest spring blooms, the songs of happy birds, and animals you’ve not seen since before winter began. In the article below, we’ll go over five outdoor plants, which bloom early to signal spring has arrived.

Why flowers bloom in spring

It’s all about temperature and exposure to daylight. These two factors affect a plant’s “internal circadian clock.” In fact, the Journal of Plant Research published a paper that described a plant’s internal clock as, “endogenous time-keeping mechanisms that allow organisms to anticipate and prepare for daily and seasonal changes in surrounding environments.”

Simply put, this means that early-flowering plants bloom in spring precisely because their internal clock is telling them to do so. Their entire genetic makeup consists of genes, which are subject to periods of light and dark. For instance, genes regulating photosynthesis are managed by a plant’s circadian clock.

As the days get longer, plants can absorb more sunlight. In turn, this allows the plant to make more food and grow. Additionally, as the Earth moves closer to the sun and winter transitions into spring, a plant’s environment heats up. That temperature increase aids in the growth of the plant, too. Seeds germinate, and flowers bloom.

Early spring blooming flowers

Snowdrop plants in sunlight
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The entire Earth puts on one of its best shows every year during spring as perennials and flowering bulbs break forth in bloom. As the days lengthen and temperatures rise, plants receive the signal that it’s time to show their glory.

If you plant an array of early spring blooming flowers, you’ll be set to enjoy vivid displays of color. Below are five of the most beautiful you should consider planting for a springtime garden full of life!


These early-flowering plants like light shade and cooler climates. They begin to push up their white flowers before winter’s snow has even melted away! They’re short plants, and many feel that planting them around borders or in rock gardens is best. Experienced gardeners going for an incredible effect will usually plant snowdrops in clusters of around 25 bulbs apiece. If you decide to try it too, make sure that you space each bulb apart by at least 3 inches. Additionally, make sure you plant them in a spot where they won’t be fully exposed to the sun.

Grape hyacinth

These flowers bloom in early spring and show off petals that are deep violet. Their blossoms last for up to three weeks. Their name actually comes from the way that their bell-shaped flowers look remarkably like a cluster of grapes standing upright.

Grape hyacinths are easy to take care of and should be planted in areas where they get full exposure to the sun (some shade is okay). Although not an aggressive plant, they will naturally spread in areas in which they’re planted.

Their foliage begins to die in late spring. However, you’ll see these plants reemerging in the fall. Their leaves will last throughout the winter, and their flowers will bloom once more the following spring. It’s best to plant grape hyacinths under trees and shrubs. If you decide to grow them in an open area, you should consider planting around 50 or more for dramatic bursts of color.

Dutch crocus

Like grape hyacinths, Dutch crocus blooms last around three weeks. These early-flowering plants open in the mornings and close at night. If you decide to plant crocus seeds, consider doing so in woodland areas with plenty of sunlight or across your lawn.

Plants blooming in early spring

Winter aconite

Although winter aconites can bloom in late winter, they’re also considered an early spring blooming flower. They have upward-facing, cup-shaped, vibrant yellow flowers. When blooming in winter, you can see their flowers pushing up through the snow in a similar fashion to snowdrops. You’ll see them growing under trees with lots of sunlight in the winter, then increasing shade as trees start to put out leaves as spring advances. Like many of the flowers listed in this article, winter aconites do best when you plant them en masse around shrubs or under trees.

Bleeding heart

Bleeding hearts have red, white, or pink heart-shaped flowers, which burst forth on arching stems over leaves that bear a striking resemblance to those of a fern. They’re shade lovers, and the best place to plant these is among other plants with bold leaves to hide their dying foliage. If you are consistent with regular watering, you’ll find that both western and fringed bleeding hearts will last until fall.

Remember that spring doesn’t last long. Take a walk as the air starts to warm, smell the flowers, and make sure that you pause long enough to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
The low-maintenance vegetable garden: 5 unique perennial vegetable plants that produce year after year
Amazing perennial veggies to plant in your vegetable garden
Person holding produce in a bowl over vegetable garden

If you're looking to plant a vegetable garden that's low maintenance and sustainable, incorporating perennial vegetable plants is a great idea. Many of them are packed with nutrients and can offer visual interest and other benefits to your garden. Let's explore the upside of growing perennial vs. annual vegetables, discuss which ones to plant, and the delicious recipes you can make with each of them.

Benefits of perennial vs. annual vegetable plants
Perennial vegetable plants are plants that live for more than two growing seasons and continue to produce edible parts year after year. There are a ton of benefits when it comes to perennial vs. annual vegetable gardens:

Read more
Focus on color: Bring some sunshine to your garden with these orange plants
Add color to your home with these orange garden plants
Potted marigolds

If you're looking for a way to add more color to your life and prep for the upcoming spring season, then a few warm, sunny orange plants might be just what you're after. From dark, burnt oranges to delicate pastels, orange flowers can match any aesthetic sense or style.

Plant them with red and yellow flowers to create a fiery gradient, or mix them with blue flowers for a lively arrangement. Whether it's creating a border of marigolds or hanging a charming goldfish plant inside, you have a wide range of options when it comes to incorporating orange into your space. For ideas on which plants to use, here are some of the most striking orange garden plants out there.

Read more
Grow your indoor or outdoor garden and support these Black-owned plant shops for Black History Month
Get your next leafy friend from one of these Black-owned companies
Various plants on different stands

If you're a plant parent, you buy your supplies and new baby plants from somewhere. So, instead of the chain stores, consider supporting Black-owned plant shops to get your leafy friends everything they need to thrive. Check out any of these Black-owned companies to find your next plant addition no matter where you are, because every one of these businesses ships all over the U.S.

Mignon Hemsley and Danuelle Doswell started this beautiful plant company in 2020 to help create a calmer space in homes through the addition of greenery. If you have no idea where to start, Grounded offers complimentary 15-minute consultations to get you going. It has a subscription option for the more adventurous plant parent, and if you have fur babies at home, look at their pet-safe options so you won't have to worry about a curious nose.
Crazy Plant Bae
From plants to planters to a subscription box, Crazy Plant Bae has a little of everything. No matter how green your thumb is, you'll find something to fit your budget and space. Get the kids involved in gardening and sign them up for one of the workshops, or have them visit your child in their classroom. But the best part about this company is that it's a Black women-run business with its third generation of family members, and it has over 40 years of service at your disposal.
deVINE Plantery
If you want easy-to-care-for plants without a lot of fuss, or more unique plants, check out deVINE Plantery. This Black woman-owned company has adorable plants, fun accessories, stunning art pieces, and a few other gift ideas. Need help styling the plants in your home, want a consultation about what plants to get, or want to take a gardening class? This business offers all of that and more.
De La Fleur Designs
If you want only flowers for your space with a lot of color and beauty, then De La Fleur Designs is where you should look. It doesn't just put together any ordinary bouquet. Owner Daphne oozes the sophistication and elegance you'll see in whichever arrangement you choose. Whether you need a sympathy arrangement, wedding flowers, or want to sign yourself up for a monthly bouquet delivery subscription, De La Fleur will take care of it all.
The Plant Project
The first Black woman-owned plant company in Texas, The Plant Project opened its doors in 2020 to bring the joy of all things leafy to the area. Plants with a pop of color, herbs, plant accessories, and even a plant self-care set are all on the menu. Or visit one of its four locations to get the full in-person experience of a plant shop and see how amazingly beautiful the inside of its stores are.

Read more