Want to create a low-maintenance garden full of easy spring flowers? Today I’m sharing a peek at my yard and the spring bloomers I love and recommend.
These are the perennial and evergreen champs that survive year after year, tolerating neglect from their plant mom. I’m in zone 8 Portland, but these plants will thrive in several different hardiness zones.
You can find your zone here to figure out which plants work for your climate. Then try to plant them when the weather is mild. In the spring or fall, the rain will do most of the work for you. If rain is scarce, you’ll need to water for a bit to get your plants established.
And if you’re not sure where to buy plants right now, check out my long list of places to order seeds and plants online. I’ve also included shop buttons below linking to flowers available on Amazon.
Note: This article contains affiliate links. See my disclosures for details.
Bleeding Heart Flower (Dicentra Spectabilis)
Zones 2-9 | Shade to Part Shade
The bleeding heart plant produces sweet little heart-shaped flowers and soft green foliage. It is much tougher than its name suggests.
Once established, a bleeding heart doesn’t need much care. Usually the spring rain is enough to keep it pleased, but if the leaves look wilted give it some water.
Plant it in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade, and this perennial will happily regrow every spring.
Candytuft Flower (Iberis Sempervirens)
Zones 4-9 | Full Sun to Part Shade
Eventually my yard will be covered in candytuft, because I can’t get enough of these hardworking plants. They are evergreen, providing greenery throughout the fall and winter and then bursting with little flowers in the spring.
I love the shock of bright white flowers popping up in the yard. A few of the flowers hold on for the summer, and then candytufts go back to all green foliage. They love the sun, but I have some in tricky part-shade areas, too, and they’re all blooming well.
Jack Frost Flower (Brunnera Macrophylla)
Zones 3-8 | Shade to Part Shade
Brunnera Jack Frost is a forget-me-not lookalike. And since true forget-me-nots are highly invasive, this is a perfect alternative. The tiny blue flowers are irresistible, with variegated foliage providing a pop of silver green.
Jack Frost is a woodland perennial that loves shade and rain. I used to have mine in dry shade under a roof overhang, and it wasn’t happy. So I transplanted it to a rainy spot at the bottom of a slope, and now it’s a low-maintenance gem. Give it a drink on a hot summer day.
Tulip Flower (Tulipa)
Zones 4-10 | Full Sun to Part Shade
Tulips are the surest sign of spring, and they come in endless colors and varieties. This one is from the Peachy Keen tulip/narcissus mix.
Most tulips prefer full sun, but Peachy Keen and some other types will grow in part shade. Tulips bloom in the spring and die down by the summer. Plant them near evergreens to keep year-round interest.
Zones 4-8 | Full Sun to Part Shade
The rhododendron is a landscape hero. This evergreen shrub can grow into a privacy hedge or fill in a part shade area with gorgeous spring blooms.
There are dwarf varieties for smaller yards, as well as large rhododendrons reaching 20 feet tall. Bloom times vary. It’s nice to have several different types so when one loses its flowers the next begins blooming.
Irene Trailing Rosemary (Rosmarinus Prostratus)
Zones 7-11 | Full sun
Rosemary is a drought-tolerant evergreen herb with purplish-blue flowers. The Irene trailing rosemary is ideal for a sunny slope or rock wall.
Since rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, I didn’t think it would like Portland’s cold, rainy winters (very un-Mediterranean). But rosemary can actually survive down to zone 7. As long as it gets that hot summer sun, it’s delighted.
Hellebore Flower (Helleborus)
Zones 5-9 | Shade to Part Shade
The hellebore usually starts blooming in the winter and into mid-spring, providing the first sign of life in an otherwise desolate landscape. Those early blooms along with its evergreen beauty make it a garden must-have.
As a member of the buttercup family, hellebore flowers are as cute as can be. They come in nearly any color, including green or black. Hellebores require almost no care most of the year. They may droop a bit on hot summer days, but give them water and they will perk back up.
Lithodora Flower (Lithodora Diffusa)
Zones 5-9 | Full Sun to Part Shade
Lithodora is basically the blue version of candytuft. It’s an evergreen mounding plant that looks good year-round and shines in spring and summer when it’s covered in blue flowers.
Once established, lithodoras will spread a couple feet wide and require little to no care. Mine survive on just rain and sun with no attention from me, outside of the occasional photo shoot.
Zones 4-9 | Full Sun
When choosing spring flowers to plant in your landscape, don’t forget about flowering trees. Cherry trees are universally adored for their white or pink blossoms.
While some cherry trees grow 50 feet high, there are varieties around 20 feet high that work well in smaller yards. Candytufts bloom at the same time and look great planted near cherry trees…pretty white flowers everywhere!