By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs
Does all of the time you’re spending at home this spring find you looking for early-blooming shrubs to spruce up your garden? Chances are, your local garden center offers delivery or pickup of one of these beautiful, easy care options, and more – all certain to bring color and renewal to your outside oasis.
With an extremely dense flower bud set, Show Off® Forsythia creates an unparalleled spring display. It’s so easy to care for too, as regular pruning is not required to create a handsome, full shrub. It reaches heights/widths of 5-6' and is hardy in zones USDA 5-8. If you’re looking for something smaller that still packs a punch, Show Off® Sugar Baby® Forsythia is a very compact, dwarf plant at just 1.5-2.5’ tall and 2-3’ wide, and provides lots of spring color in a small space and also does not require pruning.
The Double Take™ series of Chaenomeles (flowering quince) is available in four colors, Scarlet, Peach, Orange and Pink, and when planted in full sun, boast a spectacular spring display of double, camellia-like flowers. Even more spectacular, they are thornless! All reach heights of 4-5’ and widths of 3-4’ and are hardy in USDA zones 5-9.
Low Scape Mound®Aronia (dwarf chokeberry) is a tidy little mound of glossy green foliage that’s covered in hundreds of dainty white flowers in spring. In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant red to contrast with dark purple-black fruit. The unique low-growing, mound-shaped habit makes it perfect for a ground cover or edging plant. Best of all, this native beauty thrives almost anywhere: cold climates and hot, wet soils and dry, sun and part shade. Hardy in USDA zones 3-9, it measures 1-2’ tall/wide.
The Snow Day® Exochorda (pearl bush) series is an old favorite that features a flood of large white flowers in spring! Snow Day® Surprise reaches 3-4’ and is great for mixed borders. Snow Day® Blizzard is a great specimen plant, reaching heights of 5-6’ and widths of 6-7’. Both are easy to grow and hardy in USDA zones 4-8.
Bloomerang® Dark PurpleSyringa (lilac) naturally grows as a handsome, rounded, 4-6’ shrub with very large dark purple buds that emerge in mid-to-late spring. With a classic, deep purple color, they perfume the air for weeks. But that’s not all! After a brief rest to create new growth, it starts to bloom again in mid-to-late summer, continuing through frost. For smaller spaces, try Bloomerang® Dwarf Purple or Bloomerang® Dwarf PinkSyringa, both which grow to a compact 30-36”. All are hardy in USDA zones 3-7.
Yuki Snowflake® and Yuki Cherry Blossom® Deutzia are both heavy blooming versions of ‘Nikko’ Deutzia with the same tidy, rounded habit, and attractive burgundy-purple fall color. Both of these plants are long blooming and compact, measuring just 1-2’ tall/wide. Hardy in USDA zones 5-8.
Jasmine-scented blooms adorn the arching branches of Sweet Emotion® Abelia in mid-to-late spring, and you’ll be bowled over by their fragrance! Glossy green foliage turns an attractive orange-red in autumn. Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, this shrub reaches heights/widths of 5-6’ and is the perfect specimen plant to showcase your good taste.
Bangle®Genista (Dyers-Greenwood) is so easy to grow, and features electric yellow flowers that bloom in late spring. Only 2’ tall and wide, these are great when planted en masse for the spring garden. Little care is needed, but they can be trimmed after flowering if desired. This no-nonsense plant is deer resistant, drought and heat tolerant, and has a very wide hardiness zone, USDA 4-9.
The dark bronze-maroon foliage of Tiny Wine® Physocarpus (ninebark) is colorful all season, and contrasts beautifully with the white flowers in late spring. The flower show is exceptional, with dainty flowers blooming up and down the stems in a very showy display. With small, refined leaves and a handsome, upright 3-5’ habit, this durable plant may be used in the garden for season-long color, and is also a great choice for patio containers. Hardy in USDA zones 3-7.
Spilled Wine® Weigela shares the fabulous deep purple foliage and bright pink flowers of the classic Wine & Roses® weigela but in a smaller size that is perfect for home gardens. This useful plant grows wider than tall, making it a great choice for edging beds or walkways, and for planting under windows. Like all weigela, it is deer resistant and very easy to care for. Hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and measures 2-3’ high and 3-4’ wide.
Gardening is not only great exercise, it’s the perfect way to relax, recharge and plan for the future. At a time when independent retailers need consumer support more than ever, we encourage you to call your local garden center to see if they carry these early blooming varieties, along with any other plants and supplies you need for spring planting. Many nurseries and garden centers are able to put together contact-free orders with online payment and parking lot pick up.