Early Spring Color for your Landscape!

Hey there, garden friends!

Bob Wasson here, your local guide to all things green and blooming. As we begin to shake off the cold blanket of winter and step into the warmer days of spring, you can’t help but notice the plants in your landscapes and gardens emerge from dormancy. Winters in Indiana are often overwhelmingly filled with shades of greys and browns. But with the coming of spring we don’t have to wait long to start to see some more vibrant colors in our gardens. Let’s explore how to infuse your outdoor space with early spring hues, setting the stage for a season full of growth and color.

The Early Bloomers: Plant Selection

In Indiana, our spring can start with a slow roll, teasing us with warm days before slipping back into cooler temperatures. (Sounds familiar, right?) But, fear not, for there are tough and persistent bloomers ready to brave the early, unpredictable days of spring. Here is a guide to some selections you can plant for that early splash of color, arranged by their typical blooming time at our garden centers:

  • Pansies: The only annual flower on this list, these little troopers can brave the chilly early spring weather. Available in a wide array of colors, pansies are perfect for both garden beds and containers. Plant them in masses in a sunny spot and use your closed fist as a guide for spacing. They'll provide a few months of joy until the heat of summer tells you it's time to replace the pansies with a fresh batch of summer annuals. 

  • Forsythia: Nothing says spring quite like the brilliant yellow blooms of Forsythia. This shrub lights up the landscape in early spring. In recent years, the forsythia has been propagated and improved to garner more attention from today’s gardeners with more compact varieties such as Show Off, shown here.

  • Hellebores (Lenten Rose): Adding a touch of elegance and resilience, Hellebores bloom in late winter to early spring, often pushing through the last of the snow to display their beautiful shades of pink, purple, and cream. They thrive in partial to full shade, making them ideal for those cooler, shadowy spots in your garden. Shown here: FrostKiss Anna’s Red.

  • Creeping Phlox: As we move further into spring, Creeping Phlox starts to weave its magic carpet of color. This groundcover bursts into vibrant pinks, purples, whites, and blues, creating a stunning early spring display. It loves the sun and is perfect for edges, rock gardens, or cascading over walls. Creeping Blue phlox shown here.

  • Azaleas: These shrubs are a highlight of the spring garden with their dazzling blooms in shades of pink, red, purple, and white. Azaleas prefer a bit of shade and well-drained, acidic soil, making them a splendid addition to woodland gardens or as a part of a mixed border. We recommend Espoma Holly Tone as a soil amendment to help with acidity. Stewartsonian Azalea shown here.

Soil and Sun: Laying the Groundwork

Success starts with the soil. Late winter or early spring is your cue to prepare. Clean up garden debris, and enrich your beds with Garden Magic compost. Each plant has its unique requirements, but most early bloomers enjoy well-drained soil and a sunny to partly sunny location. Of course, you’ll want to tailor your soil preparation to match the needs of your chosen plants for the best results. If you’d prefer to speak with a Gardening Specialist at your local Wasson Nursery Garden Center, our friendly staff is always ready to share some advice. In fact, as the spring season begins to unfold we can’t wait to once again start talking plants with our customers!

Planting and Care Tips for a Vibrant Spring

  • Layer for Continuous Bloom: Consider the bloom time and height of each plant to create layers of color and interest. Early bloomers like pansies paired with the later blooming azaleas can offer a successive wave of blooms. Strategically place in some early spring color in your landscape.
  • Embrace Container Gardening: Limited space? Containers are a fantastic way to enjoy early spring color. Pansies and hellebores do particularly well in pots and can be placed where they are most needed for a pop of color. Forsythia is another option for early color in larger pots. A small shrub can be purchased early spring for your planter, then planted in the ground after the showy yellow flowers are done.
  • Mulch for Moisture and Temperature Control: A layer of mulch can help maintain soil moisture and keep root temperatures steady. This is especially beneficial as our weather can fluctuate in spring.

Wrapping Up: The Joy of Early Spring Color

With a little planning and some early planting, you can transform your garden into a playground of color and vibrancy each spring (and in all other following seasons as well). From the cheerful pansies to the exquisite azaleas, each plant plays its part in ushering the new spring season.

At Wasson Nursery, we’re here to support your gardening adventures every step of the way. Whether you need plants, supplies, or just a bit of friendly advice, we’re just a visit away.

Happy gardening, everyone! Here’s to a beautiful and colorful early spring in your garden.

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