It happens every winter. We gardeners hit “the wall” where we need want, need, crave just a little bit of spring. The best way I’ve found to cope with that special brand of cabin fever is to seek out as many early-blooming plants as I can to add to my garden. You can call them pre-spring or late-winter flowers, either way they are the first signs of life and a welcome relief from winter’s dull gray landscape.

The following is a listing courtesy of Washington Gardener Magazine of plants in their order of bloom dates here in the greater Washington, DC region and Mid-Atlantic states. The bloom time may vary by variety, your location, and the local weather patterns. In general though, you can rely on these bloomers coming out well ahead of the traditional start of spring on March 20th.

  • Sweet Box (Sarcococca humilisox)
  • Camellias (Camellia japonica)
  • Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
  • Heather (Erica carnea)
  • Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)
  • Daphne (Daphne odora)
  • Edgeworthia (Edgeworthia chrysantha)
  • Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)
  • Dog Violet (Viola labradorica)
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)
  • Primrose (Primula spp.)
  • Flowering Cherry (Prunus)
  • Quince (Cydonia oblonga)

While you are planning your garden purchases for the year, be sure to remember to plant a few of these late winter blooming beauties to give you that promise of spring.