Best Flowers to Plant in Spring

published May 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

You may be thinking quintessential spring flowers like daffodils and crocuses are your best bets for spring planting. However, these early-season bloomers, along with tulips and hyacinths, grow from bulbs, and they get a headstart on the growing season with a fall planting.

For that first sunny day of spring when you’re itching to get outside and dig around in the dirt, stick to planting colorful annuals. These are the flowers you typically buy in flats at a garden center that survive for one growing season only. For spring planting, select flowers like those listed below that don’t mind jacket weather.

1. Pansies

(Image credit: Courtesy of Mrs. Meyer’s)

I can’t help but think pansies are smiling at me when I look at them. Perhaps it’s the contrast between their unwaveringly sunny faces and the mostly-barren landscape of early spring.

Pansies come in just about any color you could want and look downright cheery as a flower bed border or in hanging basket. They’re cool-weather flowers, which makes them ideal for March to early May.

Want to keep them around longer? Plant them somewhere that’s shady at least a few hours out of the day.

2. Petunias

No spring flower bed or planter is complete without petunias. They’re timeless. The color choices are basically endless, as are their blooms.

Petunias stand up to cool weather in early spring—although they are tender to frost—and power through heat waves in August provided they get enough water. Like pansies, they make excellent flower bed trim. In hanging baskets, they cascade down the sides.

3. Geraniums

Geraniums are classic Mother’s Day flowers, often found in foil-wrapped pots. And like all moms, they are ageless beauties. Their clustered petals come in a warm color palette of pink, red, yellow, and white.

They shiver more easily than petunias or pansies, but they’ll be okay outdoors once nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 50s. Plant them in a spot with plenty of sun and be careful not to overwater, especially in containers.

4. Zinnias

Zinnias are unfailingly cheerful, carefree, and a joy to grow. Varieties come in all manner of heights and every color except blue.

They do, however, insist on warm days and nights, so save them until there is no danger of frost and the air is consistently balmy. Give them lots of sun and they will flourish into September with minimal attention.

5. Snapdragons

Snapdragons are tall, regal flowers with cones of tiny buds atop long stems. They are excellent as cut flowers and in the mid-back of a flower bed.

They bloom best in full sun during late spring and early summer when the sun is less punishing. As summer heats up, snapdragons may stop producing flowers—but worry not. The blooms will bounce back when the weather cools towards fall.

6. Dianthus

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dianthus are frequently called pinks, and aside from their signature color they’re known for their silvery-sage leaves that form a mat low to the ground. Ruffled little flowers sit atop slender stems that stretch above the leaves.

Dianthus are drought-tolerant and do well as a flower bed or garden path border in full sun. Their preference is the cooler weather of late spring, but they’ll put up with high heat and humidity during the height of summer and still come back with a flourish to finish out the growing season.