Best Flowers for Late Spring

  • 01 of 08

    Late Spring Blooming Flowers

    country garden, view to chair winding path in border, watering can, trug, pots, paeonia, lamium myosotis, geranium, euonymus elaeagnus, iris, rosa & syringa may sparrow hall, combe oxfordshire
    Juliette Wade / Getty Images

    Spring bulbs are such a welcome site, especially after a seemingly endless winter. We all rush out into our gardens and start cleaning and planting. This is often when garden centers start selling the flashier flowers of peak summer.

    While being draw toward these prime season bloomers, it's easy to find your garden in a lull by late spring. Make sure you include a few of the following "bridge" plants that will help your flower border move seamlessly from spring into summer. Most...MORE don't even require much maintenance, after planting.

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  • 02 of 08

    Allium (Allium species and hybrids)

    Allium Bulbs
    Allium 'Purple Sensation'. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Although technically a bulb, the large flowered alliums bloom later than daffodils and tulips. These are ornamental members of the onion family, grown for their beauty rather than their flavor.  In colder climates, they are planted in the fall. Warmer zones can get away with planting them in the spring.

    Alliums range in size from 4 – 6 in. to 6 ft. The larger varieties generally bloom in shades of pink and purple and many are perfect globes, like 'Purple Sensation' shown here. Others,...MORE such as 'Alium 'Shubertii' look like 4th of July fireworks.

    Animals don't seem to like the bulbs or the flowers. The only drawback I've found is that the foliage can sometimes start to yellow before the flowers have finished blooming, so be sure to interplant them with emerging flowers that will camouflage the allium leaves.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for Alliums

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  • 03 of 08

    Bleeding Heart (Dicentra species and hybrids)

    Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis
    Marie Iannotti

    Some flowers go in and out of style but I've never seemed a garden where the bleeding heart was not welcome. Dicentra spectabilis is the species that gave the plant its common name. It's easy to see why. It now comes in a pure white variety that is eye-catching in a shady garden.

    While Dicentra spectabilis is ephemeral and can disappear for the summer, shortly after flowering, the fringed-leaved varieties not only stick around, they repeat bloom throughout the summer and gradually seed...MORE themselves throughout the border, but never aggressively so.

    Bleeding Heart plants can take full sun in the spring but prefer partial shade when temperatures get hot. They also like a moist, but well-draining soil. Keep them happy and they will thrive in your garden for years.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for Bleeding Heart Plants

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  • 04 of 08

    Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla)

    Brunnera 'Jack Frost'
    Photo: Marie iannotti

    I've heard gardeners complain that they didn't have enough sun to have a flower garden. I love the respite of working in a shade garden and I've come to love the plants that grow there, too. One of my favorites 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 do resemble forget-me-nots, although a bit more vivid in color.

    Although the flowers are short...MORE lived. The heart-shaped leaves stay fresh all season. There are several recent introductions that offer enchanting variegation, that add even more interest to a woodland garden. In moist soil, the plants will self-seed and spread. In drier soils, you will want to keep an eye on them during hot spells, or the leaves will dry out.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for Brunnera

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  • 05 of 08

    Columbine (Aquilegia x hybrida)

    How to Grow Columbine Plants from Seed.
    Photo: Marie Iannotti

    The native columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, with it's nectar-rich flowers, seems to be disappearing from gardens. That's a shame, because it is not just a lovely plant, it is very attractive to pollinators and hummingbirds.

    In its place is an endless 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. If you have more than one variety, be...MORE prepared for a lot of cross pollination and surprising colors.

    Although the filagreed foliage can remain attractive throughout the season, columbine are prone to leafminers. If you catch them early and remove the infested leaves, you can limit damage.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for Columbine

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  • 06 of 08

    Geranium (Geranium species and hybrids)

    Geranium 'Rozanne'
    Photo: Blooms of Bressingham

    Many of us hear the word "geranium" and think of the free-blooming red plants that look so good in window boxes. While great plants, these are not really geraniums, they are in the genus Pelargonium. The geraniums I'm referring to here are the genus of true hardy geraniums.  Theses start blooming in late spring and many of the new hybrids, like the phenomenal 'Rozanne', will keep repeat blooming until frost. These are low growing, mounding plants that like to spread out and...MORE intermingle with neighboring plants, giving a garden a sense of maturity.

    True geraniums are ideal for growing under plants with "ugly knees" like roses, or for disguising the fading foliage of bulbs. Some can be a bit more aggressive than others, depending on your growing conditions, but they are easy enough to lift and move elsewhere.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for True Geraniums

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  • 07 of 08

    Hellebores (Helleborus species and hybrids)

    Helleborus Orientalis Moment/ Getty Images

    I had always lusted after the  large swaths of hellebores, in British gardening books. I could never understand how anyone could afford that many hellebores, since they were going for upwards of $30 a plant, in my part of the world. Someone must have heard me because the prices have been steadily dropping and while I still cannot afford to fill my border with them, the few I purchased are finally starting to fill in. It was worth the wait, because there is something almost painterly about these...MORE flowers.

    For the best price, you can purchase hellebores in a mix of colors. If you want a particular cultivar, expect to pay more. The blooms start off facing the ground, making them "belly plants" because you have to get down there to see them. But save your knees the trouble and be patient until the plant grow a little taller and you can enjoy the view while standing.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for Hellebores

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  • 08 of 08

    Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum and cultivars)

    Greek valerian or Jacob's ladder
    fotolinchen/ E+/ Getty Images

    So many late spring flowers are old standards. Perhaps that's why they so often get overlooked. However it's hard not to appreciate Jacob's Ladder, when it's in bloom. The plants hold the flower stalks high above the ladder-like foliage.

    Most common varieties bloom in shades of purple or purplish-blue, but there are cultivars that bloom in white, pink and yellow. They are hard to find and may not be as hardy, or it might be that the purple and blue varieties became so popular...MORE because they are so enchanting.

    I will admit this plant is not much to look at, after flowering, but when a large clump ignites in bloom in late summer, it doesn't seem to matter that the display is only temporary.

    Read more about Growing and Caring for Jacob's Ladder