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Plants for Spring: A Beginner’s Guide

17th April, 2024

Spring is in the air. And what better way to celebrate the season than surrounding yourself with vibrant flowers throughout your garden and inside your home.

Here we’ll take you through our pick of the bunch – including what to display, when to plant spring flowers and how to look after your plants.

Outdoor Spring Plants

From beautiful blooming bulbs to spring flowering plants, and blossoming seasonal shrubs, there’s lots to get growing outdoors.

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Tulips

The tulip is always a firm favourite when it comes to spring flowering bulbs. Often associated with love, tulips (particularly purple and white) are also given to women in some countries on 8 March, International Women’s Day, to mark the Suffragettes’ fight for women’s rights (the Suffragettes picked green, purple and white as symbolic colours for the suffrage movement).

Tulip colours

Available in almost every shade, choose from pink, red, orange, purple, yellow, white and even black.

Tulip availability

Buy bulbs from September to December or pick up potted tulips from early spring.

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Tulip lifespan

Each tulip will flower for roughly 2 weeks (depending on the weather). To give them the best chance of coming back next year, deadhead after flowering. When the foliage has also died back, cut it down, dig up the bulb and store it somewhere dry to plant again in autumn (tulips prefer to be lifted rather than left in the ground).

Tulip care tips

Plant bulbs during late October through to December. Different varieties will need slightly different conditions, but most tulips like a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and a spot with part or full sun.

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Clematis

An early-flowering clematis is just the thing to add a burst of colour to your garden. Known as the ‘queen of climbers’, the clematis fittingly represents ambition and motivation.

Clematis colours

Choose from blue, pink, purple and white.

Clematis availability

Most early varieties are available all year, with some more specialised varieties only available at certain times.

Clematis lifespan

A perennial plant (meaning it’ll come back year after year), the clematis can live up to 50 years.

Clematis care tips

Plant your clematis in well-drained soil in a spot with part shade. If you can, make sure its roots are shaded. Depending on the type, give it a proper support like a trellis to grow up. It’s important not to prune early varieties, as next year’s flowers will grow on the previous year’s growth.

Top tip: choose an early spring clematis – they’re maintained and flower differently to other types.

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Hellebore colours

You’ll find hellebores with green, light purple, dark purple, white, pink, red, blue and grey flowers. Quite a range!

Hellebore availability

Plants are available throughout winter and spring.

Hellebore lifespan

Hellebores are perennial, so they’ll flower each year with the right conditions and maintenance.

Hellebore care tips

Plant in well-drained soil from winter through to spring. Hellebores like a spot with some shade if possible. A slow-release fertiliser in autumn and spring will help them thrive (especially if in a pot). Cut off old shoots after flowering but leave new growth.

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Daffodil

Daffodils (or Narcissus in the Latin) ring in the start of spring with their trumpet-shaped flowers and are symbolic of new beginnings. In China, daffodils represent good fortune and wealth, often used to decorate homes during Lunar New Year.

Daffodil colours

Available in white, yellow, orange, peach, pink and red. The first blue daffodil was cultivated in Wales in 2022, but it looks like you’ll have to wait until around 2030 to buy one.

Daffodil availability

Take your pick of a wide range of daffodil bulbs from September to November. Or buy them in pots from January through to late spring.

Daffodil lifespan

Each daffodil will flower for 2-3 weeks and will flower again for many years to come. Just like tulips, it’s important to deadhead daffodils after they’ve flowered. When their foliage has also died back, cut them down. Either dig up the bulbs and store them somewhere dry to plant again in autumn or leave them in the ground.

Daffodil care tips

Plant daffodil bulbs from September to October. Extremely low maintenance, daffodils will grow anywhere in well-drained soil with part or full sun.

Primrose

Botanically known as Primula vulgaris, primroses are among the first to flower in spring – symbolising renewal and rebirth. While the birth flower of February, many varieties bloom later, making them a gorgeous gift for any spring or early summer celebration.

Primrose colours

Most commonly yellow, other shades are available these days – including white, purple, red and pink.

Primrose availability

Look out for primrose plants from autumn through to spring.

Primrose lifespan

Primroses give you a lot for a small plant, flowering each year for around 5 years.

Primrose care tips

Primroses like a partially shaded spot and moist, well-drained soil. Each year, give your plant a light tomato feed once buds start to appear.

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Hyacinth

Hyacinths look sensational outside in the garden. Often given as Easter presents to friends and family, their sweet fragrance is unmistakable.

Hyacinth colour range

Take your pick from cerise, pink, white, cream, salmon, china blue, deep blue, light blue and lilac.

Hyacinth availability

Pick up bulbs from late summer through to autumn.

Hyacinth lifespan

Plant your bulbs outside in early autumn, they’ll bloom in late spring. After blooming, deadhead the flowering spike and wait until their foliage has died back before cutting right down. Lift bulbs out of the soil and store them somewhere dry to replant in autumn of the next year. Usually the bulbs will last you 3-5 years.

Hyacinth care tips

Pick a sunny spot for your pot and make sure the soil remains moist but not too wet. Luckily hyacinths don’t need much maintenance.

Muscari

Also called grape hyacinths after their uniformed, upturned bunch-style blooms, Muscari comes from the Greek word for ‘musk’ because of their subtle sweet scent.

Muscari colour range

You’ve probably seen light blue to violet muscari, but yellow, white and pink are also widely grown.

Muscari availability

Pick up potted muscari plants in Spring and bulbs from September to November.

Muscari lifespan

These sweet plants bloom for around 3-4 weeks. They’re perennials too, so it means they’ll come back year after year. Muscari can also spread quickly if in the ground outdoors (great if that’s what you want, but better in a pot if not).

Care tips

Find a spot with plenty of sunlight and keep the soil moist but not too wet. After flowering, deadhead (as you want all their energy to go into the bulb for next year).

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Indoor Spring Plants

With brighter, sunnier days ahead, it’s a great time to fill your home with easy-to-care-for houseplants. And many spring plants that we consider to be outdoor lovers can also be grown indoors with the right conditions and care. Give these beauties a go.

Campanula

A late spring to summer stunner, campanula is commonly known as ‘bellflower’ after their suitably shaped bell-like blooms. Campanula has over time come to represent gratitude and long-lasting love, a fitting present for Mother’s Day!

Campanula colours

Pick from blue, pink, white and purple. Campanula availability Seeds are available all year and indoor plants in Spring.

Campanula lifespan

Most campanulas are perennial, so they’ll flower year after year. Indoor plants can be replanted outdoors after flowering or kept indoors (though it’s always best to check the plant label before you do).

Campanula care tips

Campanulas will grow happily in most soils and (especially if indoors) like to be watered often, about twice a week. It’s important they get lots of light, but make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. Once they’ve flowered, deadhead to encourage the plant to keep flowering.

Top tip: not all campanulas are suited to be grown indoors, so remember to check before buying one.

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Flowering-begonias

Begonia

The begonia’s bright and blousy blooms signify many things including appreciation and gratitude – the perfect plant if you need to say thank you to someone! In Feng Shui, begonias are considered lucky in love, friendships and careers.

Begonia colours

Begonias are available in orange, pink, red, yellow and white.

Begonia availability

Buy indoor begonia plants in Spring nd corms (if you want to try growing them outdoors) from January in local garden centres and online.

Begonia lifespan

A begonia’s lifespan will depend on the species. Begonias suited to indoor conditions can live for many years.

Care tips

Place your potted begonia somewhere it will get plenty of indirect sunlight. Keep the soil wet but be careful not to overwater. Remove dead flowers and leaves. Remember to keep your begonia indoors during spring as it won’t survive the colder temperatures.

Anthurium

Anthurium symbolise love, friendship and hospitality. Often given as housewarming gifts, their heart-shaped leaves make them an ideal token of affection too. Even better? They rank as one of NASA’s best plants for purifying indoor air.

Anthurium colours

Choose from red, orange, white, pink and purple. Anthurium availability Anthuriums are available all year.

Anthurium lifespan

These tropical plants can live for 5 years (or more).

Anthurium care tips

Anthuriums like lots of light but avoid placing them in direct sunlight. Water regularly in spring and summer (check to see if the soil feels dry), but less often in autumn and winter. Repot them every couple of years to give their roots space.

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Aloe Vera

Easy to love and easy to care for, an Aloe vera plant is a perfect pick to brighten up your home this spring. Its stunning sculptural leaves can even produce flowers in summer/autumn.

Aloe vera colours

The aloe vera is a green plant, but other types of aloes can be red, orange and yellow with a range of colourful flowers.

Aloe vera availability

Available widely throughout the year.

Aloe vera lifespan

They can live up to 12 years.

Aloe vera care tips

Find a sunny spot for your aloe vera to encourage growth. Water when the soil is dry but be careful not to over water it as the roots may rot (water less in winter too). Repot after 2-3 years to give it enough space to grow.

Wild Spring Plants

Off on a springtime stroll? There are plenty of plants to look out for along the way.

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Snowdrop - This small, snow-white flower carpets woodlands in springtime.

Orchid Cattleya Mossiae

Bee Orchid - A clever little flower, its shape resembles a female bee to encourage male bees to pollinate it (although UK varieties are actually self-pollinating).

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Bluebell - Like the snowdrop, the bluebell is known for its groundcover in woods. Keep an eye out for it from March onwards.

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Wild Garlic - A perennial spring flowering plant, wild garlic is identifiable by its white bunches of small flowers and its strong garlic scen.

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Inspired to get green-fingered this spring? Now’s the time!