15 Flowers to Start Planting in April

Spring is here and the garden is ready for April planting. To bridge the fluctuating temperatures and seasonal conditions of early spring, opt for flowers that thrive in cool conditions. They’ll kick off the garden display with a flourish of cool-season blooms. Here, garden expert Katherine Rowe explores spring annuals and perennials to plant this month.

april flowers. Close-up of blooming Primula 'Crescendo Pink and Rose Shades' in a sunny garden. Primula 'Crescendo Pink and Rose Shades' is a delightful variety characterized by its compact growth habit and vibrant, multi-colored blooms. The plant forms low-growing rosettes of oval or lance-shaped leaves with a slightly wrinkled texture, creating a lush backdrop for the flowers. Rising above the foliage on sturdy stems, the blooms showcase shades of pink and rose. These Primula flowers have a classic five-petaled form and a delicate, papery texture.

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April marks a turning point in the spring season, when temperatures warm and new leaves and buds emerge. As we approach final frost dates, the garden comes to life and April flowers are prime for planting.

In hot climates, many gardeners are ready to plant warm season annuals and perennials by mid-month. In colder regions, seasonal transitions take a bit longer. No matter where you live, there are tons of annuals and perennials that span the seasonal variations of spring.

For best success with April planting, it’s helpful to know your USDA hardiness zone and average last frost date. Early spring sees an influx of changing temperatures and rainfall (and late snow showers and snow melt, depending on your climate).

Opt for flowering plants that thrive in cool weather and variable conditions. Frost-tolerant selections withstand temperature and moisture fluctuations. Here, we’ll explore annuals and perennials that flourish in the cool temps of spring.

Pansies

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Lupine

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Calendula

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15 April Flowers To Plant In Early Spring

With so many plants to choose, you may be wondering which will perform best in cool springs. Thankfully, we’ve gathered together 15 April flowers that you can plant right now.

Columbine

Close-up of flowering Columbine plants against a blurred green background. The Columbine plant is characterized by its graceful stems adorned with delicate, fern-like foliage and intricate, spurred flowers. The leaves are lobed and divided, giving them a light and airy appearance, with a bluish-green hue. At the top of slender stems, the Columbine produces uniquely shaped flowers with five distinct, spurred petals that extend backward, resembling the spurs of a bird. These flowers are white and purple in color.
Welcome the post-winter beauty of columbine to your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Aquilegia spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-48 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Columbine is a native cold-hardy perennial with graceful, origami-like blooms that bring delight after long winters. Columbine’s attractive compound leaves emerge quickly as temperatures warm. Before you know it, the flowers appear like lanterns floating atop tall spikes. Nodding flowers range from vibrant red and yellow to beautiful blues, purples, and pinks, depending on the variety. Hummingbirds and other pollinators appreciate the nectar from the tubular blooms, and birds feed on the seeds in fall.

With many winter-hardy April flower species available, opt for one especially suited to your climate. Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) brings showy red and yellow bell flowers, perennializes well, and spreads by self-seeding. Aquilegia coerulea, the popular Rocky Mountain blue columbine, brings heirloom violet and white blooms with yellow stamens to the western garden.

With a natural habitat along woodland edges, clearings, and riverbanks, columbine grows best in moderately moist, well-drained soils (not too wet or dry). Protect it from hot afternoon sun in warm months. Columbine is semi-evergreen and retains its basal leaves unless temperatures are too cold or too hot, where it enters dormancy until temps level off.

Sow columbine seeds outdoors three to four weeks before your final frost. All they need is to be pressed onto the soil’s surface—there’s no need to cover them, and you’ll start seeing seedlings in about three weeks. If you started them indoors, transplant full, leafy plants as soon as your soil is workable in spring.

Sweet Alyssum

Close-up of Lobularia maritima, commonly known as Sweet Alyssum, flowering plants in a sunny garden. Sweet Alyssum is characterized by its low-growing, spreading habit and dense clusters of small, fragrant flowers. The leaves are narrow, lance-shaped, and densely packed along trailing stems, creating a dense carpet of foliage. The flowers are small, four-petaled, and come in white color.
Add charming, fragrant sweet alyssum to your garden borders.
botanical-name botanical name Lobularia maritima
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-10”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Sweet alyssum is a petite annual covered in white, pink, and purple pincushion blooms in spring and fall. Its sweet fragrance and numerous flowers attract beneficial insects, and the drifts of pastel colors in the garden make it a fantastic border or filler planting.

These pretty annuals are hardy down to 20℉ (-7°C). Sweet alyssum self-seeds in the garden. Over the fall and winter, leave existing plants in place and gently remove the older plants in the spring to reveal seedlings.

If sowing these seeds, press them gently onto the soil’s surface and don’t cover them as light aids in their germination. Keep them damp, and they’ll germinate in 5-15 days.

Sweet alyssum is an easy-care annual in full to partial sun with well-drained soils. In the heat of summer, plants may turn yellow and fade but can resume blooming with cooler temperatures. 

Snapdragons

Close-up of Antirrhinum majus flowering plants in a garden. Antirrhinum majus, commonly known as Snapdragon, is characterized by its upright stems bearing lance-shaped, glossy green leaves arranged in a spiral along the stem. The plant produces spikes of tubular flowers in a wide array of colors, including shades of red, pink, and orange.
Plant snapdragons for vibrant, cold-season blooms in your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Antirrhinum majus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6-36”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

With their tall, upright bloom spikes, snapdragons bring an infusion of color to the cool-season annual display. At varying heights, they anchor the back of the border or fill the interior with a fountain of blooms.

Snapdragons are cold hardy to sub-freezing temperatures. In cold climates, snapdragons bloom in spring, summer, and fall. In mild climates, they’ll bloom from fall to spring, bringing winter color and interest.

Snapdragons are April flowers that thrive in the sun in moist, well-drained soils. Remove spent blooms to promote flowering (and enjoy them as a beautiful cut flower!). Snapdragons are edible, if a little bitter, and make a pretty garnish. Bitter can be good, as deer rarely feed on snaps. 

Pansies and Violas

Close-up of blooming Viola plants in a sunny garden. Viola plants, commonly known as violets, are characterized by their low-growing, compact habit and charming, dainty flowers. The leaves of the Viola plant are rounded, with scalloped edges and a dark green color. Rising from the foliage on delicate stems, the flowers come in a magenta color with intricate veining and markings. The flowers have five petals, with two upper petals, two side petals, and a lower petal that forms a distinctive "beard" or "spur."
Enjoy a colorful winter garden with pansies and violas.
botanical-name botanical name Viola spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Violas and pansies (both in the Viola genus) boast a profusion of cool season blooms in almost endless shades and color combinations. Pansies bear bigger flowers on larger plants, while violas yield smaller blooms on compact forms. Trailing varieties carry delicate blooms on long stems to spill over a planter or bed edge. 

Pansies and violas are favorite cool-season annual options. They survive winter in mild climates and withstand seasonal transitions in colder climates. These tough annuals tolerate cold spells with temperatures in the twenties (and sometimes lower, depending on conditions). Leaves may gray during cold snaps and recover as temperatures warm.

Pansies and violas are easy to grow in well-draining soils. Pansies, especially, benefit from deadheading spent blooms to promote flowering.

Lupine

Close-up of blooming Lupinus plants in a sunny garden. Lupinus plants are characterized by their upright, bushy growth habit and striking, spire-like clusters of flowers. The leaves of the lupine plant are palmate, with several leaflets arranged along a central stem, giving them a lush and textured appearance. Rising above the foliage on tall stalks, the flowers bloom in a range of vibrant purple color. Lupine flowers are pea-like in shape, with a distinct banner, wings, and keel.
Experience the enchanting beauty of lupines in your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Lupinus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Lupine enchants the spring and summer landscape with lovely bell-shaped blooms in blues, purples, pinks, whites, yellows, and bicolors. These graceful perennial April flowers grow in various wild conditions – from dry to moist, hot to cold, and in less-than-ideal soils.

Depending on the species, lupine is native to eastern North America (wild lupine) and western North America (meadow lupine). These sweet pea flowers are rich in in tone and have attractive palmate leaves. Flowers are often two-toned in purple and blue or blue and white.

Lupine tolerates poor soils that lack nutrients. These wild beauties are legumes, meaning they fix nitrogen in the soil and improve the nutrition of the surrounding soil.

Sow lupine seeds by scattering them outdoors in fall or winter or up to four to six weeks before your final frost date. Nursery-grown plants can be transplanted into the garden when the soil is workable in spring.

Feverfew

Close-up of blooming Tanacetum parthenium, commonly known as Feverfew, in a sunny garden. Feverfew is characterized by its bushy growth habit and delicate, fern-like foliage. Rising above the foliage on slender stems, the plant produces clusters of small, daisy-like flowers with white petals surrounding a central yellow disc.
Embrace the timeless charm of feverfew in your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Tanacetum parthenium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12-24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

Feverfew is an old-fashioned garden favorite. Its bushels of petite daisy-like flowers bloom from early summer through frost. The feathery and aromatic foliage has longstanding herbal uses.

Sow feverfew seeds in late winter and early spring, a few weeks before the last frost date. Scatter seeds and lightly press them down to ensure good contact with the soil and exposure to sunlight. Sun-loving feverfew is easy to grow in moist, well-drained soils. 

Feverfew self-seeds hardily, so pull any unwanted volunteers and deadhead spent blooms to prevent unwanted seeding. Deadheading also proliferates flowering. Use feverfew in naturalized areas where it can reseed freely or in borders and rock gardens.

Foxglove

Close-up of a flowering Digitalis purpurea plant against a blurred background of a sunny garden. Digitalis purpurea, commonly known as Foxglove, is characterized by its tall, spire-like stalks adorned with lance-shaped, hairy leaves arranged in a rosette at the base. The flower spikes bear tubular, bell-shaped flowers that are pink in color with contrasting markings at their white throats.
Invite the buzzing beauty of foxgloves into your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Digitalis purpurea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

A mass of foxgloves is among the most striking spring bloom displays. Foxgloves bear stunning bell flowers on tall, sturdy stems in colors ranging from rose to creamy white to peach, often with freckled throats. Busy bees can’t resist stopping at each flower along the loaded stalks.

Foxgloves are cold-hardy biennials that bloom in spring and summer in cool climates. They’ll establish over the winter in warm climates for a late spring bloom show.  

Digitalis seeds prefer surface-sowing without burying one to weeks after the final frost (or in early fall in mild climates). Lightly rake the area before nestling in your seeds so they don’t drift or wash. Indoor-started plants can be transplanted into the garden when soils thaw. Foxgloves grow best in full to partial sun in consistently moist, organically rich soils with good drainage.

Calendula

Close-up of blooming Calendula Officinalis in sunlight. Calendula officinalis is characterized by its bushy growth habit and vibrant, daisy-like flowers. The plant features lance-shaped, slightly hairy leaves that are arranged alternately along the stems. Rising above the foliage, the flowers bloom profusely in shades of bright orange.
Welcome vibrant, resilient calendula to your garden’s color palette.
botanical-name botanical name Calendula officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Calendula is long-blooming with bright ray flowers from spring to frost in cool climates. The multi-layered flowers are daisy-like in rich yellow, orange, pink, white, and bicolor varieties. 

Calendula is a frost-tolerant annual. In hotter climates, calendula grows best in the cool temperatures of fall and spring and even over the winter for seasonal color. In colder climates, sow calendula seeds outdoors two to four weeks before the final frost.

Calendula is easy to grow in full sun and well-drained soils. It withers in high summer heat. In cool climates, it recovers for a fall bloom. Calendula leaves and flowers are edible (blooms make a lovely garnish) and dry beautifully for arrangements, teas, and baking. Plants are deer-resistant.

Primrose

Close-up of blooming Primula in a sunny garden. Primula, commonly known as Primrose, presents a charming appearance with its low-growing rosettes of lance-shaped leaves, with a slightly wrinkled or crinkled texture. Rising above the foliage on slender stalks, the Primula produces clusters of small, five-petaled pink flowers with contrasting orange centers.
Embrace the early charm of primroses in your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Primula spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 6 to 24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-8

With over 400 primrose species, these sweet perennials (or annuals in warm climates) are among the first to bloom in late winter and early spring. Primroses span the color spectrum and feature clusters of tiny flowers that rise above rosettes of dark, ruffled leaves. 

Bold shades of blue, green, orange, red, and pink make primrose an early standout in the garden. With a sweet, subtle fragrance and low-growing habit, primrose makes excellent border plantings in garden beds, along walkways, and in container arrangements.

Primrose bloom times range from February to May, some lasting into the summer, depending on the climate. They prefer cool temperatures, resist frost, and withstand the variable seasonal spring conditions.

Depending on the variety, primroses prefer organically rich, moist, well-drained soils. Once established, primroses need little care except dividing if groups become crowded.

Lily of the Valley

Close-up of blooming Convallaria majalis in a sunny garden. Convallaria majalis, commonly known as Lily of the Valley, is characterized by its elegant, arching stems adorned with pairs of glossy, lance-shaped leaves arranged alternately along the length. Rising above the foliage are slender, upright racemes of tiny, bell-shaped flowers that dangle delicately like miniature pearls. The blooms are pure white.
Add elegance to your shade garden with lily of the valley.
botanical-name botanical name Convallaria majalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 0.5-1’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7

Lily of the valley brightens the shade garden with white bell-shaped blooms in spring and summer. Plants reach only 12 inches tall but are lush with broad green leaves. Delicate, nodding flowers are fragrant and emerge in pendulous clusters amongst the leaves.

Lily of the valley is lovely in the woodland border or under shrubs, thriving in dappled sun and shade. Use it as a ground cover for impact in mass plantings. The plant spreads slowly by rhizomes, though they eventually overtake the roots of other plants if not divided. In that same vein, it’s classed as invasive in certain areas. Check with your local extension office before planting.

Lily of the valley grows best in cool climates and even withstands sub-zero temperatures. They’ll thrive in zones without high heat and humidity. All parts of the plants are toxic, so make sure to grow them out of the range of curious children and animals.

African Daisy

Close-up of flowering Osteospermum plants, commonly known as African daisy or Cape daisy, in a sunny garden against a blurred background of green foliage. The plant features lance-shaped, slightly succulent leaves that form a dense backdrop for the blooms. Rising above the foliage on slender stems, the flowers showcase vibrant hues of purple, pink with contrasting centers. These flowers have a distinctive daisy-like form with overlapping petals and a contrasting eye.
Illuminate your spring garden with Osteospermum’s vibrant daisy-like blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Osteospermum spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Osteospermum, also called African daisy, welcomes the cool weather of spring with a profusion of daisy-like flowers. The colorful ray petals glow in shades of white, pink, purple, coral, and yellow. Some even have little “spoons” on each petal’s end, like‘Whirligig,’ sure to spark whimsy with its scalloped, spoon-shaped petals in white and deep purple. 

In climates with cool summers, osteospermums flower from spring until frost. In warmer climates, they’ll do best in spring before higher temperatures arrive. Osteospermum is cold hardy to 25℉ (-4°C) but is best planted after the final frost.

African daisies make a beautiful cut flower. They prefer full sun in moist, well-drained soils. Native to South Africa, these Mediterranean climate plants tolerate periods of drought.

Sweet  Peas

Close-up of a flowering Lathyrus odoratus plant against a blurred background. Lathyrus odoratus, commonly known as sweet pea, is characterized by its delicate, vining stems adorned with pairs of glossy, lance-shaped leaves arranged alternately along the tendrils. The plant produces clusters of fragrant, butterfly-shaped flowers in a myriad of captivating colors, including shades of pink.
Enhance your garden with fragrant, colorful ornamental sweet peas.
botanical-name botanical name Lathyrus odoratus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-10’ vines
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

Ornamental sweet peas charm the garden with colorful blooms on twining vines and a heavenly fragrance. In a vairety of colors like pink, mauve, red, blue, maroon, peach, and white, sweet peas bring vertical interest to the garden display, container, and floral arrangement.  

These frost-tolerant beauties flower in spring and summer before hot temperatures set in. Sweet peas grow quickly from seed and can be directly sown in the garden four to six weeks before the anticipated last frost date. Transplant potted plants and seedlings into the garden a few weeks before the final frost.

Sweet peas require full sun, regular water, and well-draining soils. Their tendril will cling and climb to a support structure. Tying the stems helps direct and control growth.

Stock

Close-up of blooming Matthiola incana, commonly known as Stock, in a sunny garden. The plant features lance-shaped, gray-green leaves that form a lush backdrop for the blooms. Rising above the foliage on sturdy stems, the flowers showcase bright purple double flowers with a contrasting eye.
Brighten your garden with fragrant, jewel-toned stock flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Matthiola incana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

Stock is an old-fashioned garden plant with fragrant, jewel-tone flowers on stiff, upright stems. A cool-season bloomer, stock features single or double flowers in white, red, purple, cream, and copper, among other hues. They make a lovely cut flower with a scent to savor.

Stock thrives and blooms best in cool temperatures. It doesn’t withstand hot summers. Stock blooms from spring through frost as a tender perennial in cool climates and as a cool-season annual in warmer zones. Stock is hardy to 25℉ (-4°C).

This plant germinates in seven to ten days. To prolong blooms, sow successional plantings. Direct sow seeds one to two weeks after your last frost date. Leafy plants tolerate periods of light frost. Stock does best in highly organic and well-draining soils, though it withstands occasional wet soils.

Bells of Ireland

Close-up of a flowering plant, Moluccella laevis, commonly known as Bells of Ireland, in a sunny garden against a blurred background. Bells of Ireland is characterized by its tall, erect stems adorned with multiple tiers of deeply lobed, toothed leaves arranged in a whorl-like fashion along the length. Rising above the foliage are clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers clustered in spikes, nestled amidst the leafy bracts. The flowers are a pale green color and have a distinctive cup-like appearance.
Elevate your garden with Bells of Ireland’s striking blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Moluccella laevis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Bells of Ireland feature tall bloom spikes loaded with bells in shades from pale green to candy apple. These unusual annual blooms make rich additions to fresh and dried flower arrangements. Their tall blooms serve the back of the garden border and contrast beautifully with dark-leaved foliage and bold flowers. 

A garden heirloom, Bells of Ireland grow easily from seed. Sow seeds outside one to two weeks before the average final frost date.

Leave spent bloom spikes to dry and scatter naturally for plants to reseed in successional seasons. Bells of Ireland prefer full sun and regular water throughout the growing season. They don’t thrive in hot and humid summers.

Plains Coreopsis

Close-up of flowering Coreopsis tinctoria plants in a garden. Coreopsis tinctoria, commonly known as Plains coreopsis or Golden tickseed, is characterized by its airy, fern-like foliage and bright, daisy-like flowers. Rising above the foliage on slender stems, the flowers showcase vibrant shades of yellow and red, with contrasting centers. These flowers have a classic daisy-like form with overlapping petals and a central disc.
Illuminate your garden with Coreopsis’ vibrant, long-lasting blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Coreopsis tinctoria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Coreopsis brings masses of sunny blooms to the garden. It’s often one of the first flowers to spring up and the last to fade. In mid-summer, waves of yellow brighten the landscape.

Plains coreopsis is native to the western U.S. and widely cultivated due to its adaptability. It features a variation in color, with showy yellow daisy-like petals with deep red highlights and brown button centers. Though considered an annual, a single plant may flower for two to three years.

Coreopsis is an early-sow option. Direct sow seeds one to two weeks before your final frost. Coreopsis reseeds readily for successional seasons of color.

Final Thoughts

April brings excitement in the garden as old favorite April flowers emerge and newcomers take hold. It’s the perfect time to sow and plant cool-weather-loving selections for a beautiful flowering display.

Cool-season plants bloom away through spring and into early summer, some lasting until fall (we won’t think about fall frosts just yet). Enjoy your flourishing garden this season as it bursts to life in the cool conditions of spring.

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