Top Early Spring Flowering Shrubs

Welcome spring with these early-flowering shrubs

Japanese kerria
Toshiyuki IMAI / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Early spring flowering shrubs are a great way to bring bright and seasonal colors to your landscape. Valued for their March or April blooms, these early spring flowering shrubs offer more than just pretty flowers.

  • 01 of 11

    Winter Heath

    My picture shows how gorgeous heather is when in flower.
    David Beaulieu

    Winter heath begins blooming in ​Zone 5 during late fall and continues blooming into spring. These flowers persist throughout winter and are going strong as spring rolls around. Bridging the gap between the end of one growing season and the beginning of another, this is one special plant.

  • 02 of 11

    Witch Hazel

    This witch hazel (image) is one of the earliest shrubs to bloom in spring. There are other types.
    This type of witch hazel is one of the first shrubs to bloom in spring. David Beaulieu

    Witch hazel plants are flowering shrubs that are prized for their bright blooms that arrive as early as March. The plant has yellow flowers with a warm, spicy fragrance that precede the leaves, blooming in late winter to early spring.

  • 03 of 11

    Forsythia

    forsythia bush in bloom
    Liz West/ Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Forsythias are flowering shrubs known for their long branches that fill with brilliant yellow blooms early in spring. The forsythia belongs to the olive family and grows in Zones 5 through 8. However, once these shrubs bloom in the spring, you'll have to wait until next year to see their bright yellow color.

  • 04 of 11

    Andromeda

    pieris
    Liz West/ Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    This shade-tolerant bush can start blooming as early as March. Andromeda shrubs (Pieris japonica) may offer something else, too: fragrant flowers. Some people find their smell offensive, while others find it pleasing. If you dislike strong flower aromas, you may land in the former group.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Flowering Quince

    Old flowering quince shrub that has been pruned a lot. Beautiful early-spring bloomer.
    David Beaulieu

    The flowering quince is a thorny, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub.  Despite its somewhat messy growth habit, this shrub produces beautiful red, orange, white, or pink flowers which bloom as early as March or April. Related to roses, its thorny exterior and easy-to-grow nature make it a good choice for barrier plantings.

  • 06 of 11

    Japanese Rose

    Japanese kerria
    Toshiyuki IMAI/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

    The Japanese rose is a somewhat fanciful common name for Kerria japonica. It's not a rose in the traditional sense as it does not belong to the genus, Rosa, although it is, in fact, a member of the very large rose family. This bush puts on a magnificent display when in bloom, but its contribution hardly ends there. You can see its bright yellow Japanese Rose blooms and kelly green bark in Zones 4-9 during early spring for up to six weeks.

  • 07 of 11

    Koreanspice Viburnum

    Picture of Koreanspice viburnum flower head.
    David Beaulieu

    Koreanspice viburnum is a flowering bush that transforms three times throughout spring, summer, and fall. With flowering blooms that can be seen in early spring, this plant will grow best in Zones 4-7. However, its blooms transform into bright red berries in the summer that mature into a dark, almost black hue just in time for fall.

  • 08 of 11

    Fothergilla

    dwarf fothergilla
    Maria Mosolova/ Getty Images

    With landscape value in both spring and fall, Dwarf fothergilla is one of those shrubs that serves double duty. It grows best in Zones 5-8 and its "bottle brush" can be seen in during early spring. These flowers mature by transforming into orange, yellow, green, and purple hues in the fall. 

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Daphne

    Daphne
    Drew Avery/ Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Daphne features early-spring blooming flowers that have an incredibly sweet scent. This shrub grows best in Zones 4-8 and its eventual small red berries and variegated leaves make this foliage a great evergreen option.

  • 10 of 11

    Golden Oriole Azalea

    'Golden Oriole' azalea lives up to its bright-sounding name. This azalea is yellow and orange.
    David Beaulieu

    Golden Oriole azaleas bear light orange flowers that bloom in early spring and mature into red-orange hues in the fall. They grow best in Zones 5-8 and can reach a height of 6 feet. 

  • 11 of 11

    Stewartstonian Azalea

    Photo: Stewartstonian azalea has red flowers. They are numerous.
    David Beaulieu

    There's no doubt that azaleas are among the most popular spring flowers in North America. The Stewartstonian azalea is a red-flowered evergreen shrub that blooms in April and grows best in Zones 5-8. It is yet another early-spring flowering shrub that transforms its flowers and leaves into a dark red hue by fall.