11 Best Flowers to Grow in Late Spring

Pansy flowers with purple and white petals in leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Spring bulbs are a welcome sight, especially after a seemingly endless winter. Along with warmer weather, they signal it's finally time to start cleaning up and planting our gardens. However, after enjoying the early bloomers, you might find your garden in a lull by late spring. To prevent this, make sure you plant a few late spring flowers to transition your garden into the summer season. Here are 11 of the best flowers that bloom toward the end of spring.

  • 01 of 11

    Allium (Allium Species and Hybrids)

    purple alliums
    Motty Levy/Getty Images

    The large-flowered alliums typically bloom from May to June. These ornamental members of the onion family are grown for their beauty rather than their flavor. In colder climates, the bulbs are planted in the fall while warmer zones can plant them in the spring. Their only drawback is the foliage can sometimes start to yellow before the flowers have finished blooming, so be sure to interplant the bulbs with plants that will camouflage their yellowing foliage. Otherwise, deer-resistant alliums are fairly low-maintenance, though they will require regular watering while in flower.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11 (depends on cultivar)
    • Color Varieties: Typically shades of purple, pink, or white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, dry to medium moisture, well-draining
  • 02 of 11

    Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Species and Hybrids)

    bleeding heart flowers
    Michael Wheatley/Getty Images

    Some flowers go in and out of style, but bleeding heart has stood the test of time. Bleeding heart is a fairly substantial plant growing to about two to three feet tall with a similar spread. Its puffy, heart-shaped blooms arrive from April to May, dangling off arching stems. The old-fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) typically goes dormant after blooming and its foliage disappears. This is normal behavior, so don't think you killed the plant. The fringed-leaf varieties (Dicentra eximia) are evergreen, and they can repeat bloom throughout the summer and gradually self-seed. Keep these plants well watered throughout the summer, but make sure they’re not sitting in soggy soil. No pruning or deadheading is necessary.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, red, white
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 03 of 11

    Brunnera (Brunnera Macrophylla)

    Brunnera macrophylla 'Dawson's White'
    Roger Smith/Getty Images

    Some gardeners complain that their gardens don't have enough sun for a flower garden. But there are advantages to working in a shade garden, including the respite from the hot sun and the delicate-looking plants that grow there. One of the loveliest is Brunnera macrophylla, also known as Siberian bugloss, heartleaf brunnera, or false forget-me-nots. In mid- to late spring, the plants send up sprays of brilliant blue flowers that resemble forget-me-nots, though a bit more vivid in color. Make sure to keep the soil moist, especially for new plants. Brunnera plants usually don’t require fertilizer unless the soil is poor and infertile.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Blue
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 04 of 11

    Columbine (Aquilegia x Hybrida)

    purple columbine flowers
    Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    Native columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), with its nectar-rich flowers, seems to be disappearing from gardens. That's a shame because it's a beautiful plant that tends to attract many pollinators, including hummingbirds. In its place has come a series of hybrids, each a more intriguing color than the last. These are deceptively delicate-looking plants. They can handle all kinds of weather and will gladly seed themselves around the garden. Their flowers tend to bloom from April to May. Keep new plants consistently moist, but then you can cut back on watering only during dry spells. Fertilize monthly to encourage vibrant foliage and flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, yellow, cream, lavender, red, purple, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Geranium (Geranium Species and Hybrids)

    Geranium flowers with pink petals in bushes closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Many of us hear "geranium" and think of the free-blooming red plants that often decorate window boxes. While great plants, these are not geraniums but of the genus Pelargonium. The geraniums referred to here are the genus of true hardy geraniums. They start blooming in late spring, and many of the new varieties, such as the 'Rozanne' hybrid, will keep blooming until the first frost. These are low-growing, mounding plants that like to spread and intermingle with neighboring foliage, giving a garden a sense of maturity. This is a low-maintenance plant that you typically only have to water during a dry spell. Perennial geraniums can benefit from a slow-release fertilizer.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, lavender, red, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 06 of 11

    Hellebores (Helleborus Species and Hybrids)

    Helleborus Orientalis
    fitopardo.com/Getty Images

    Hellebores can be a bit expensive but their evergreen foliage and early pollen source for bees makes them a good investment. If you purchase three to five small plants, they will establish larger colonies fairly quickly through self-seeding. It is worth the wait for these beautiful blooms. Typically blooming in April or earlier, the blooms start off facing the ground. This makes them "belly plants" because you have to get down low to see them. But save your knees the trouble, and be patient. Once a plant grows to its 12- to 18-inch height, you'll be able to enjoy the blooms while standing. These plants like some moisture, but don’t let them sit in water. Add fertilizer when you plant them, as well as in the spring and early fall for established plants.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, white, cream, yellow, maroon
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, humusy, well-draining
  • 07 of 11

    Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium Caeruleum and Cultivars)

    Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium)
    sapegin/Getty Images

    It's hard not to appreciate Jacob's Ladder blooms and its fern-like pinnate foliage. Blooming in April to May, the plants hold their flower stalks high above the ladder-like foliage. The most common varieties bloom in shades of purple or purplish-blue, but some cultivars come in white, pink, and yellow. These alternative colors are often difficult to find, and the plants might not be as hardy. Cutting back the plant after it blooms can encourage reblooming in late summer. Maintain medium moisture levels with regular watering to prolong blooming. Add a balanced fertilizer in the early spring and when flowers have faded.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Usually shades of blue, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 08 of 11

    Lilac (Syringa Species)

    Lilac flowers
    Guerrier Nathanael/Getty Images

    If you're in the vicinity of lilacs, you'll know by their lovely fragrance. Lilacs are long-lived shrubs that are relatively low maintenance in the garden. They typically bloom for several weeks in April to May. Removing the flowers shortly after they are done blooming will allow the plant to put its energy into growing strong roots and healthy top growth. This also allows the plant to set even more blooms for the following year. Keep lilacs moderately moist, but don’t overwater them as this can lead to poor blooms. Lilac bushes can benefit from a dose of fertilizer in the spring, if the soil isn’t too high in nitrogen.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Color Varieties: Purple, pink, white, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)

    Lily of the Valley flowers
    Julien Prieto/Getty Images

    Gardeners tend to love or hate lily of the valley. The plant forms a dense mat of wandering roots and is considered invasive in some parts of the United States. But that trait also makes lily of the valley a good choice for spots where you want a ground cover that will prevent soil erosion. And then there's its heavenly scent. For such a tiny, low-growing flower, the fragrance can permeate the air. The plant typically blooms in April. Water your plants whenever the top inch or two of soil is dry. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every three months during the growing season.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
  • 10 of 11

    Pansy (Viola × Wittrockiana)

    Pansy flowers with fuchsia and white petals with yellow centers

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Pansies and other violas are beloved for their bright, cheerful colors. They typically bloom from April to June. Pansies can handle light frosts and chilly winds in spring and fall. Older varieties tend to fade away in summer's heat, but they might perk up again in the fall. Modern introductions are better able to handle the heat. Regular watering can help to extend the blooming period. Pansies appreciate some fertilizer, but too much can make them leggy.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, red, white, yellow, blue, apricot, orange, maroon; solid and bi-color
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, moist, well-draining
  • 11 of 11

    Primrose (Primula Species)

    colorful pink primroses
    Hana Richterova/Getty Images

    Primroses flower in brilliant shades of pink, purple, yellow, and more. The flowers typically appear in early to mid-spring, but they remain in bloom for six weeks or longer. Most primroses will happily self-sow throughout your garden, though not to the point of being invasive. If you plant more than one color flower, expect some cross-pollination and surprising colors the following season. For the most part, the primroses you find for sale will be the modern hybrids (Primula x polyantha). Primroses are generally low-maintenance plants. Make sure they receive regular watering during the warmer months as well as some shade during the hottest part of the day.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, white, yellow, blue, orange, red
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining