EARLY SPRING FLowering Trees and Shrubs

It's that time of year that the dreariness of winter gives way to thoughts of SPRING. In the south (where I live) this often happens about mid-March, when we start to see these harbingers of hope- that we don't have much longer to wait! If you would like to incorporate some early spring blooming trees and shrubs into your landscape, let's take a look at a few:

Picture courtesy of Kevin Tuck RGBstock.co

Picture courtesy of Kevin Tuck RGBstock.co

Camellia japonica

This southern staple begins blooming in late winter/early spring. Some great early flowering varieties are:

  • 'Blue Danube' (pink- shown left) 
  • 'Shishi-Gashira' (pink) 
  • 'Kramer's Supreme' (red) 
  • 'Marie Bracey' (pink) 
  • 'Morning Glow' (white)
  • 'Pink Perfection (very light pink)

Witch Hazel:

  • 'Jelena'  Copper colored fragrant flowers)
  • 'Primavera' (yellow)
  • ‘Feuerzauber’ (orange)
  • ‘Wisley Supreme’ (pale yellow fragrant flowers)
  • Hamamelis vernalis- (yellow to orange)

You can read more on these Witch Hazel varieties here:


Scotch Broom: This much-underused shrub has a fantastic early spring display of profuse yellow blooms on bright green stems.

Picture courtesy of Kevin Tuck RGBstock.com

Picture courtesy of Kevin Tuck RGBstock.com


This early blooming beauty is another mainstay of southern gardens. It does much better in our mountainous areas as opposed to most residential applications, but it is popular nonetheless. Here are some of the most popular varieties:

  • 'Roseum Elegans'- (pink/purple- pictured right)
  • 'Album Elegans;- (white)
  • 'Anna Rose Whitley'- (Pink)
  • 'Cheer'- (pink)
  • 'English Roseum'- (Lavender)
  • 'Nova Zembla'- (red)
  • 'Vulcan'- (Bright brick red)
Picture courtesy of Trine Harristz Larsen RGBstock.com

Picture courtesy of Trine Harristz Larsen RGBstock.com


Try some of these varieties of this hardy spring bloomer:

  • 'Lynwood Gold'
  • 'Magical Gold'
  • 'Spring Glory'
Picture courtesy of Miriam Wickett RGBstock.com

Picture courtesy of Miriam Wickett RGBstock.com


  • 'George Tabor'- (Pink mottled)
  • 'Delaware Valley'- (white)
  • 'Gumpo'- (Pink or white)
  • 'Coral Bells'- (pink)
  • 'Red Ruffles'- (red)
  • 'Encore'- (blooms spring and fall- various colors)

Other Spring Flowering Shrubs:

  • Flowering Almond
  • Flowering Quince
  • Heather
  • Viburnum
  • Cotoneaster
Picture courtesy of RGBstock.com

Picture courtesy of RGBstock.com

Deciduous Magnolia varieties:

  • Saucer- (pink)
  • Star- (white)
  • 'Jane'- (purple)
  • 'Anise'- (white)
  • 'Lily'- (Pink shrub form)
  • 'Kobus'- (white)
  • 'Loebner'- (light pink)


Redbuds flowering in NYC

Redbuds flowering in NYC

These early bloomers have profuse purple flowers that appear before the leaves emerge. New exciting varieties have been developed over the years that have added to the year-round interest of these great ornamental trees:

  • 'Forest Pansy'- (red leaves)
  • 'Hearts of Gold- (gold leaves)
  • 'Oklahoma' (green leaves)

Other Spring Blooming Trees:

  • Cherry
  • Apple
  • Plum
  • Dogwood

About the Author:

Lori Hawkins, RLA, ASLA has been a registered landscape architect and active in the landscape design/build industry for over 30 years. Her service area includes Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill and the Raleigh NC metro areas. For additional inspiring project pictures, design ideas, or great garden gifts, take a look at these websites:

HOUZZ:    http://www.houzz.com/pro/hawkinsla/__public
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hawkins-Landscape-Architecture/107145146130?ref=hl