Winter is hard for gardeners – we’re all marking the days till spring on our calendars. That’s why this month we have not one, not two but three Plants of the Month for you! All three flowering shrubs are some of the earliest bloomers, beautiful reminders that spring is on its way!
These deciduous shrubs bear branches full of creamy to bright yellow bell-shaped flowers in late winter-early spring. Forsythia grows best in full sun, however it can handle part sun at the cost of decreased flowering. Height can vary between varieties so be sure to check plant tags for sizing.
Forsythia is highly adaptable to different soil types but it does best in moist, well draining soil. Use Forsythia for naturalizing and in mass plantings for impact.
Prune after flowering has finished as Forsythia blooms on old wood (branches that have existed since the previous year)
Beatrix Farrand – 6’ to 8’ tall and wide at maturity with bright yellow flowers.
Spring Glory – 8’ to 10’ tall 6’ to 8’ wide at maturity with warm yellow flowers.
These deciduous shrubs are members of the rose family. Flowering Quince can range from 4’ to 10’ tall and wide depending on variety and does best in full sun. Flowers can be orange, red, white or pink. Older varieties of Quince have thorns but newer varieties have been bred to be thornless.
Quince prefers slightly acidic soil and is quite drought tolerant once established. Use Quince for hedging or to create a natural border.
Prune immediately after blooming and before summer.
Double Take Scarlett – 4’ to 5’ tall and wide with bright red flowers. Thornless.
Double Take Orange Storm – 4’ to 5’ tall and wide with cheerful orange flowers. Thornless.
Also known as Winterbloom, these deciduous shrubs can reach 10’-20’ tall and wide at maturity. Depending on the variety, Witch Hazel can bloom from December to April. Its fragrant fringelike flowers can be yellow, orange or red.
Witch Hazel prefers morning sun and afternoon shade and slightly acidic soils amended with compost. It doesn’t tolerate drought so be sure to mulch around the base to retain moisture and water deeply when necessary.
Like Forsythia and Quince, Witch Hazel blooms on “old wood” so prune immediately after blooming to have flowers next year.
Diane – 8’ to 12’ tall and 10’ to 15’ wide at maturity with stunning red flowers in mid winter to early spring.