5 shrubs that will flower in early spring

These pretty shrubs will give your garden an instant burst of color when your beds and borders need it most

how to prune forsythia
(Image credit: Future)

We often think of flowers as the main source of color in our gardens, but in early spring they can still be few and far between. So it can be a good idea to look at other options for your garden instead to bring some much needed cheer to your space on a grey or overcast day. 

Our suggestions? Invest in a few key shrubs that will instantly add some brightness to your flowerbed ideas before other flowers come into bloom. We’ve picked five of our favorites for color - which ones will you choose? 

1. Daphne

shrubs that flower in early spring: daphne

(Image credit: Suttons)

Daphne is a great option as it will flower from April through to the end of October – it’s a gift that keeps on giving. 

Highly scented, it’s ideal for your patios gardening ideas, entrances and pathways so you can enjoy the scent as you wander around your garden. It loves dappled shade or full sun. 

This unique shrub is a semi-evergreen woodlander with pink flowers that will brighten up the darkest spring day. 

2. Forsythia

how to prune forsythia

(Image credit: Future)

If you love yellow then forsythia is for you! When the rest of the garden is still looking grey and bare, this hardy shrub will add a burst of color to your space. The cheery yellow petals will flower for March and April. 

It's easy to grow and will last for years. The Forsythia x intermedia 'Goldrausch' variety from Thompson & Morgan is more compact and can be grown in a shrub border, used as a hedge or planted against a wall – making it ideal for small garden ideas

Want to know when and how to prune forsythia? Our expert guide has the answers. 

3. Magnolia

shrubs that flower in early spring: magnolia stellata

(Image credit: Suttons)

Magnolia is one of those varieties that only blooms for a brief time – for March and April – but in such a glorious way. 

The Stellata is a compact bushy shrub that is ideal for gardens tight on space and it can be grown as a tree. The star-shaped flowers are lightly scented and emerge slightly earlier than the leaves. 

Head over to our best flowering trees feature for more stunning options to choose from. 

4. Ribes Sanguineum

shrubs that flower in early spring: ribes sanguineum

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

A hardy shrub that’s strong and reliable, which is exactly what you want for the UK climate or areas that have similar weather. 

It’s actually a flowering currant with dark red clusters of petals that hang down and bloom for March and April with fragrant foliage. A low-maintenance shrub, you can plant this in full sun and it will happily survive for years to come. 

Remember, there's more low maintenance garden ideas in our feature.

5. Flowering Quince – Salmon Horizon

shrubs that flower in early spring: flowering quince

(Image credit: Dobies)

Oh-so-pretty and named after the clusters of large salmon-pink flowers, this flowering quince is a dwarf deciduous shrub with glossy dark foliage. 

It flowers from March to April and the flowers are large so it’s particularly eye-catching. When the flowers have dropped, green fruit appears, which ripens to yellow and can then be eaten. 

Head over to our best shrubs for small gardens for more inspiration for your planting scheme. 

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist last year and recently launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for weddings and events.