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Welcoming Spring with Colorful Blooming Shrubs

By Donnetta Wilhelm, Colorado Master Gardener

Photo credit:, Quince ‘Double Take Orange’

A Gallup Poll found that 36% of Americans named spring as their favorite season. Lawns are greening and trees are awakening. Spring birds fill the air with their songs while rainbows of bulbs burst forth in bloom. Adding dazzling color displays to the landscape is easy with a variety of spring flowering shrubs:

Chartreuse flowers bloom mid-spring on the low growing Sumac ‘Autumn Amber’ while orange flowers amaze on both the Flowering Quince ‘Double Take Orange’ and Potentilla ‘Orange Whisper.’

Pink is a favored bloom color in the spring and can be found profusely on Beauty Bush, Daphne ‘Carol Mackie,’ Flowering Almond and the Double Flowering Plum. The low growing Cranberry Cotoneaster also produces showy pink flowers. Paler pink flowers can be found on the Nanking Cherry, one of the first shrubs to bloom in the spring and on the low growing, broadleaf evergreen Panchito Manzanita.

Photo credit:, Nanking Cherry

What would spring be without purple? Lilacs galore are a spring staple with favorites such as Miss Kim Dwarf and Sensation. New varieties in a range of purple hues include Superba Littleleaf and Boomerang, a rare re-blooming lilac. 

Passionate reds are especially eye-catching in the spring. Where currants generally show with yellow flowers, the Hardy Red Flowering Currant blooms in red. Another recommendation is the Magnolia ‘Ann’ with slightly fragrant reddish-purple flowers in mid spring. This large shrub or small tree is perfect for smaller gardens.

Photo credit:, Magnolia ‘Ann’

The freshness of white blooms represents new beginnings and are found on many beautiful shrubs. Mock Orange ‘Cheyenne’ has profuse and very fragrant white blooms and is a nice addition to any landscape. A new introduction of Ninebark ‘Lemon Candy’ is a compact, chartreuse-leaved shrub with beautiful small white flowers in the spring. Serviceberries such as ‘Shadblow’ and ‘Standing Ovation’ are ideal in Colorado landscapes as they are extremely cold hardy and drought resistant. The clusters of showy, white flowers always signify that spring has sprung. Spirea ‘Bridal Wreath’ an ‘old fashioned shrub’ is always gorgeous with its profusion of white flowers on gracefully arching branches. Most Viburnum varieties never fail to impress with their spring white flowers. ‘Alleghany,’ ‘Spring Lace’ and Dwarf ‘Mini Man’ are all magnificent in the landscape, as are ‘Mondeaux’ and ‘Red Wind’ American Cranberry Viburnums.

After the drab and brown days of winter, it’s refreshing to see happy yellows in the landscape when the Forsythia signals the first arrival of spring. Creeping Oregon Grape, a low growing native, possesses sprays of bright yellow flowers, while the Yellow Flowering Currant has golden yellow flowers with a deep clove fragrance. Dogwood Cornelian Cherry is an underused large shrub or small tree in landscapes which boasts showy, small yellow flowers before green foliage emerges.

Whatever color says spring, enhance the landscape with any of these great plants for years of spring beauty.

Photo credit:, Ninebark ‘Lemon Candy’
Photo credit:, Dogwood Cornelian Cherry

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