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Spring flower garden guide

Spring flower garden guide

Auburn, Alabama—Warm weather and sunny skies are quickly approaching and the time is nearing to prepare for spring plants, flowers and gardens. With a wide variety of beautiful plants and flowers soon to be in season, it can be difficult to choose which ones to plant in your garden.

Plants in season during spring and early summer can vary depending on where you live in Alabama. Two Alabama Cooperative Extension System regional agents offered insight on spring flowers that best fit their regions in the state.

Different flowers that are in season this time of year vary from annuals, biennials, perennials and ornamental grasses.

Allyson Shabel, an urban regional Extension agent in Lawrence County, said there are several spring perennials that are easy to grow in north Alabama.

“I personally like perennials because you only have to plant them once and they return every year,” said Shabel. “The only drawback is their flowering season is shorter than with annuals.”

According to Shabel, spring perennials that are easy to grow in north Alabama include:

Cranesbill geranium: Has large purple flowers that cover the plant in spring. It works well in the front of beds to soften edges or along a wall where it can spill over.

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis): Is a native perennial that as abundant blooms in the spring. It grows to about two feet tall and is topped with pink, white, purple or yellow flowers. It works well in open areas. Its seeds germinate easily, and it can fill an empty bed in only a few years.

Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata, also wild sweet William): Has clusters of pale blue flowers that shoot up to about eight inches tall. These plants work well under deciduous trees, where the will get some shade in the hot summer months. Use it in the front of a flowerbed or as a border.

Well-drained soil will be necessary for successful growth of these perennials.

There are several possibilities with different colorful plants and are not just limited to the list above. Shabel explained that leafy spring edibles can be found in a variety of colors (such as red, purple, chartreuse and blue) and textures (such as lacy leaf, frilly leaf and broad leaf.) These colorful leafy plants can be used in a variety of ways among other spring flowers.spring annuals

“An idea for adding color tot he spring garden is to usecolorful varieties of lettuce and kale,” Shabel said. “Add two rows of dinosaur kale behind a bed of purple pansies to create a more interesting annual display. These leaves can turn a boring bed of annuals into a sophisticated display.”

Further south in the state, climate and rainfall can be drastically different. As a contrast, there are many annuals that bloom well in south Alabama. Mike McQueen, a regional Extension agent in Monroe County, offered an extensive list of flowers that gardeners can plant in the south Alabama region.

“Annual plants, such as geraniums, marigolds, pansies, petunias, snapdragons and zinnias grow well in south Alabama and are favorite spring blooming plants of gardeners in this part of the state,” said McQueen. “Daylilies are one of the easier spring blooming perennials to grow in south Alabama.”

It can be easy to get overwhelmed by this extensive list of beautiful flowers when planning a garden. McQueen said that planning ahead and making a list of the quantity and kinds of plants you want before visiting a garden center or nursery will help you avoid purchasing too many plants.


Featured image: AGITA LEIMANE/Shutterstock.com


About Molly Lawrence


  1. True geraniums—which make fluffy little mounds of foliage and small flowers in white or shades of pink or blue—thrive in the light shade of high trees. Noteworthy characteristics: Geraniums occur as wildflowers widely—around the world from alpine slopes to low grasslands and woodlands—so there’s likely to be a geranium for any garden from USDA Hardiness Zone 1 (below -50°F) to the mild-winter areas of California and Florida. With the simple charm of wildflowers, they fill niches in woodland settings, perennial borders and rock gardens and can visually link shrubs to more formal and brightly colored perennials