There’s nothing more exciting in the nursery business than to see all the fresh, new plants coming  through the doors in early spring. Everyday something new is arriving or coming into bloom. With  every new arrival, it is hard to resist not adding all these flowering plants into our landscape  plans….but be careful. It’s easy to look at someone’s house and tell if it was landscaped in the  spring or in the fall. If planted in spring, it’s full of dogwoods, redbuds, forsythia, quince and a host of spring blooming perennials. If in the fall, it is all fall color: maples, burning bush, aronia,  etc. and a lot of evergreens. The goal is preferably to have interest in every season. While it’s hard  to pass up a crabapple in bloom, keep in mind that spring doesn’t last forever. The majority of all  the plants we sell in a year are sold in April and May. We try to show customers the our huge assortment of trees and shrubs that may not be in their full glory in the spring. Usually that’s a  hard sale. So, while I encourage everyone to plant and enjoy all the spring plants, remember to  look for the gems that will show themselves much later in the year. With this advice in mind, here  are a few spring flowering plants that are top on our list, including new varieties and some old  stand bys that aren’t used often enough.


Spring always starts with witch hazels. The big problem for us with these is that they bloom in  February and are past bloom by the time customers start getting in the planting mood. There is the fragrant native vernal witch hazel and a host of great cultivars, bred for their heavy flowering attributes. There several bright yellows and golds, as well as oranges and reds. When you start shopping, you’ll see them maybe with a few flowers left, but don’t overlook them.


Although several old fashion varieties still exist, they can be large and unruly after they bloom. However, the new “Storm” series, packs a lot of punch. These bloom heavy and extremely bright in orange, red or pink. The orange is unbelievable. The real plus is they bloom throughout the summer and have a glossy healthy foliage. What’s not love?


A dirty word to some, due to old disease ridden varieties and those messy apples. Hold on, take a second look. There are lots of new disease resistant and dwarf varieties and they are now grown on sucker-free root stock. All are either fruitless or have fruit that hangs on the tree and doesn’t make a mess. There really is not another spring tree that blooms as heavy and as beautiful as crabapples.

Check out Firebird, Guinevere, Royal Rain Drops, Sugar Tyme, and Adirondack to name a few – outstanding!
As you hit the garden centers and start the spring landscapes, it’s ok to get spring fever, but let  your eye roam past the blooms and look at the huge variety that’s out there. Remember there are
other seasons to enjoy your landscaping!


Jake Frink is a Columbia native who enjoys working and playing in outdoor spaces.
He has a degree in plant science and landscape design from MU. With Rost Landscaping for nearly
18 years, Jake is the Design Manager. His natural talent for creating beautiful outdoor spaces gives
him a huge sense of satisfaction. Jake considers himself to be a very lucky husband as well as a
lucky dad of three great kids.