Plants Blooming in Spring

which plants bloom in spring

Spring is my favourite season. I love the fact that the plants in gardens, roadsides, and parks start strutting their stuff, with changes every day. My own gardens don’t disappoint me every spring. In fact, I am known to just wander/putter around enjoying the new growth on a daily basis. If you too love spring blossoms, here are a few plants blooming in spring to consider for your yard and gardens…

Magnolias

My spring starts off with the star magnolia in my front yard. From afar, the blossoms look like pom poms, brightening up my yard even before the leaves emerge. Up close they are even more spectacular:

plants blooming in spring
plants blooming in spring

Another magnolia blooms a bit later in my backyard. This beauty is the Ann variety, with blossoms that change in shape as they progress…

Forsythia Plants Blooming in Spring

After my white star magnolia blooms and drops its flowers, forsythia bushes brighten the neighbourhood with their striking yellow blossoms. My neighbour’s is especially pleasing to me as I enjoy this view from my front windows:

plants blooming in spring

I have a forsythia shrub in my backyard too, but it is still small and not as effectively placed as the beauty above.

Plum Trees

Next to bloom in my gardens are my plum trees, usually. This year their blossoms were barely there thanks to the birds. This is what they are supposed to look like:

plants blooming in spring

Plum trees are very fragrant when blooming too, another sign of spring. Unfortunately, my husband suffers from seasonal allergies, so he does not find them as appealing as I do.

Apple and Crab Apple Trees

Next up to bloom are my McIntosh apple trees. This year they are particularly gorgeous…

…perhaps because the plum trees were not. The apple trees are loaded with bees too; I’m doing my part to keep them thriving!

Around the same time as the apple trees in my backyard, the crab apple tree in my front yard and in yards all across this city is in full bloom, ranging from the palest of pink to light pink to my own darker almost-wine-colored version. Whatever the variety, they are all beautifully spring-like.

Lilac Trees and Bushes

While most lilac trees and bushes are in bloom by now, with their distinct and fragrant blossoms, mine does not bloom until early June. After the plum and apple trees have shown off. These lilacs are still spring bloomers by calendar standards, but not quite a harbinger of spring in my yard.

plants blooming in spring

Shrub Roses

Shrub roses (usually) bloom earlier and for longer than rose bushes, but of course, there are exceptions. My favourite shrub rose, with pale yellow five-lobed petals and lemony yellow centers, is just starting to bloom now while my crab apple tree is still going strong.

spring blooming plants

A few other varieties of pink shrub roses throughout my gardens will wait a few weeks before they decide to bloom.

Roses of the climbing or bushes type wait for the hotter days (and nights) of summer to perform.

Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs are planted in the fall to provide early spring colour in your gardens. Early tulips and daffodils are currently blooming, with allium still working on their strappy leaves and tall stems. The alliums will be blooming soon too, with the later variety of tulips. With summer still a month away, these later tulips and allium are still considered spring-blooming bulbs.

Rhododendrons

Another spring-blooming shrub is the rhododendron, fast becoming one of my favourite for all of my gardens including my own. They too range in colour, including white, pale pink, hot pink, red, and a purply pink.

I have a story that I tell anyone who will listen of how I was introduced to rhododendrons. Currently, I choose them for most of my clients’ part-sun gardens, especially east and northeast-facing ones, their preferred exposure. I have two in my own backyard too, ready to burst out in blossoms any time now…

Other Perennial Plants Blooming in Spring

A few perennials bloom in spring too. A few examples in my gardens are garden sage with pale purple flowers and Jack Frost brunnera which sports green and white heart-shaped leaves and tiny blue flowers:

Groundcovers

There are also several groundcovers that bloom in spring. In my gardens that includes sweet woodruff with delicate leaves and tiny white flowers, as well as lamium with variegated leaves and pearl pink blossoms:

Fiddlehead Ferns

These ferns don’t flower as such, but their fronds are fascinating to watch unfurl. Apparently, fiddleheads are delicious to cook and eat, although I have not tried them. This bed is full of ferns, turning into a lush, green focal point in summer:

Conclusions

There are lots of plants to choose from for spring colour in your gardens. Plant bulbs in the fall or perennials and shrubs anytime the ground is warm enough to dig in.

Orchids: How to Get Them to Rebloom

How to Make Orchids Rebloom

If you have you purchased (or been gifted) orchids with beautiful blooms, but the blooms are now gone, follow these easy steps to make them rebloom to their former glory.

Water

The easiest way to kill your orchids, and most other houseplants, is to overwater them.  The best way to water orchids is to take the pot to a sink, pour approximately 1/2 cup of water into the pot and then let ALL of the water drain out.  Do this every 7 to 10 days, letting the soil dry out in between watering.  Of course, this means your orchids should be in a pot that drains well.

Light Requirements of Orchids

Another important requirement of orchids is the amount of sunlight they receive.  Direct sunlight is too harsh and will burn them, but too little sunlight will prevent them from flowering well.  Orchids prefer sunlight (not directly) from a south-facing window in the winter months, and an east or northwest exposure in the summer months.

Temperature Preference of Orchids

Preferred temperatures vary between types of orchids.  Read the labels on the ones you have to ensure optimal temperatures for your orchids. None of them like temperatures below 60 degrees F though, and none like to be near cold air drafts.  If you do not know whether your orchid is a cool, warm or intermediate type, keeping it between 65 and 80 degrees F should work.

Food for Orchids

Keep in mind that the rest periods in between blooms allow for the plants to restore their energy levels.  After the blooms have faded and fallen off, wait until the stalk has completely turned brown before cutting it off at the point where it meets the plant.  

Food is important though to keep your orchids blooming their best.  There are commercial forms of orchid food available which contain a higher phosphate (the middle number) level than nitrogen (first number) and potash (third number) for optimal blooms. 

Feed your orchids every second watering while in bloom, otherwise once a month.

Repotting and Air Roots

Orchids may need repotting after two years, depending on how compacted its roots are. Most orchids are grown in clear plastic pot liners (that sit in more decorative pots) with lots of drainage holes. This makes it very easy to determine if your orchid needs repotting. Simply lift the pot liner out of its outer pot and check for crowded roots.

If you have air roots forming, you may need to repot, although air roots are common and not necessarily a bad thing. They do indicate a low humidity level though. If the air roots are white or pale green and firm, they are healthy and of no concern. Leave them alone. They absorb nutrients and moisture from the air. The green colour is from the chlorophyll which is essential for photosynthesis.

You can tell a lot about the health of your orchid by the colour of its roots. Green roots mean your orchid is healthy and has recently been watered. As they dry out, the roots will become paler in colour. If your roots are yellow or brown and appear shriveled or mushy, they have been overwatered. If roots are brown and crispy, they are dehydrated. Neither are healthy and should be removed, but only when your orchid is not blooming.

Conclusions

I just finished repotting and reevaluating all of my houseplants, including one orchid I received as a birthday present a few years ago. This orchid was not doing much, so I followed my own (researched) advice and moved it to the bright, indirect light of a south facing window. I also repotted it as it was pot bound and exhibiting air roots.

It now has a new leaf emerging; I can’t wait for new flowers!

Hopefully the tips above will help you keep your orchids looking great.  If you have put off buying them because you thought they were too difficult or fussy, give them a try.  They cannot be beat for their spectacular blooms!

Let me know if you have any other tips, I have to admit I am new to this reblooming orchid experience.

Amaryllis bulbs, plant them now!

amaryllis, red and white

Plant your amaryllis bulbs indoors this week for Christmas-time blooms. They take six or seven weeks to grow into gorgeous flowers. I have seen them in red, red and white, white and pale pink; all are beautiful!

Most grocery and department stores or nurseries carry them in kits with everything you need included. Each box contains a bulb, soil and a pot with instructions on how to grow your amaryllis. Once potted up, leave it in a (indirect) sunny spot and watch it grow. Turn the pot regularly to keep the stem growing straight.

I purchased such a kit at a local grocery store recently for my granddaughter to plant between her online school sessions and one for her younger cousin to plant on her next visit here. Both granddaughters are turning into garden and plant enthusiasts.

In recent years I have planted lots of variations. One thing I have learned is that they are extremely top-heavy when full grown. For that reason, be sure to add a stick to support them in their pot, attaching the growing stem to the stick with a loose tie.

Take your pick, but do it soon if you want them to bloom in time for Christmas.

Boomerang Lilac for Late Summer Bloom

boomerang lilac

Everyone loves lilacs and their beautiful, unique spring blooms.  Unless you are allergic to their powerful fragrance.  Did you know there is a variety that reblooms?  It is appropriately called the Boomerang Lilac.  You can order one here or check out your local nursery.

As their name implies, the new blooms arrive on new growth that occurs after the first bloom is over. There are a few new blooms that have arrived on my boomerang lilac with our recent rainy spell.

You can barely see the promise of new blooms, but by next week the tree should be full of their stunning color and fragrance, creating a late summer focal point in my garden.

In bloom this second week of August in my Ottawa zone 4 to 5 gardens

Here are the newest perennial blooms in my own zone 4 to 5 gardens this second week of August;

 

This ornamental grass is my favourite although it is only an annual here in zone 4 or 5.  It makes a beautiful centerpiece for a container or it can be planted right in the garden!

grass 1

 

Still strutting their stuff, these perennials are still looking great:

 

On their way out (unfortunately) are my gorgeous lilies.  They will return bigger and better than ever next year though!  Every client I have planted some of these lily trees for have commented on how spectacular they are, well worth the price.

 

I hope you are enjoying these weekly walks through my gardens…

whole garden

What blooms in June in your garden?

Everything is blooming a bit later this season due to the long, hard winter we experienced here in the Ottawa area of Canada, but there is still lots of color this June.

The first clematis bloom has arrived, with many more to come on the six vines I have throughout my gardens.  The lilacs are just about done.  They are the late blooming variety, later than most lilacs.  We pruned them back hard this spring as they were growing sideways due to the overgrown apple trees beside them.  The pruning did not affect the blooms, probably because they are a late blooming variety.

The general rule of thumb for pruning flowering shrubs is:

  • if it blooms before June, wait until after blooming to prune
  • if it blooms after June, prune in early spring

Missing this June are the many roses usually in bloom.  Four of my roses did not survive the winter, so will have to be replaced.  The ones that did not survive are planted in front of the brick wall of our garage.  The snow melts first in this area, and the bed is under an overhang, so with the many freeze and thaw cycles (mostly freeze) we experienced, the roses were often exposed to the cold without the insulation of snow.  I tried to shovel snow on them from other areas of the yard as it melted from the rose bed, but to no avail.   I have a few other roses planted elsewhere in my gardens that survived, but the blooms are still in bud phase.

How to make your indoor orchids rebloom

If you have you purchased orchids with beautiful blooms, but the blooms are now gone, follow these easy steps to make them rebloom to their former glory.

Water:  The easiest way to kill your orchids, and most other houseplants, is to overwater them.  The best way to water orchids is to take the pot to a sink, pour approximately 1/2 cup of water into the pot and then let ALL of the water drain out.  Do this every 7 to 10 days, letting the soil dry out in between waterings.  Of course, this means your orchids should be in a pot that drains well.

Light:  Another important requirement of orchids is the amount of sunlight they receive.  Direct sunlight is too harsh and will burn them, but too little sunlight will prevent them from flowering well.  Orchids prefer sunlight (not directly) from a south-facing window in the winter months, and an east or northwest exposure in the summer months.

Temperature:   Preferred temperatures vary between types of orchids.  Read the labels on the ones you purchase to ensure optimal temperatures for your orchids. None of them like temperatures below 60 degrees F though and none like to be near cold air drafts.  If you do not know whether your orchid is a cool, warm or intermediate type, keeping it between 65 and 80 degrees F should work.

Food:  Keep in mind that the rest periods in between blooms allow for the plants to restore their energy levels.  After the blooms have faded and fallen off, wait until the stalk has completely turned brown before cutting it off at the point where it meets the plant.  Food is important though to keep your orchids blooming their best.  There are commercial products available for orchid food which contains a higher phosphate (the middle number) level than nitrogen (first number) and potash (third number) for optimal blooms.  Feed your orchids every second watering while in bloom, otherwise once a month.

Hopefully the tips above will help you keep your orchids looking great.  If you have put off buying them because you thought they were too difficult or fussy, give them a try.  They cannot be beat for their spectacular blooms!

pictures courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

copyscape picture