recommendations for very early flowers

loris(Z6 NJ)April 24, 2008

I'd like more color in my yard this time of year. I had trout lilies come up, and one blueberry in flower, but that's about it for natives in my yard. I will be getting Virginia bluebells and spiderwort in a while. What would you recommend for moist, acidic soil that's very early? Thanks. -- Lori

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esh_ga

Fothergilla, native azaleas, spicebush (Lindera benzoin), trilliums, bloodroot, tiarella - these are the early ones for me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 9:18PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Spring Beauty, Twin Leaf bloom with the Trout Lilies and before the virginia bluebells.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 10:00PM
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razorback33(z7)

Rue Anemone - preceeded bloodroot and is still in bloom
Iris cristata - Dwarf Crested Iris
Mayapple - in bloom now - Apples come next month :Greek Valerain - Polemonium reptans - has been in bloom for several weeks
Sweet Shrub - Calycanthus floridus - in bloom for about 2 weeks
Hepatica acutiloba - blooms with Trout lilys
Columbine - at peak now
Squirrel Corn
Dutchman's Breeches
Turkey Corn - Dicentra eximia
Rb

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 11:26PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

Here in central PA, which is zone 6 and probably a little behind northern NJ, Bloodroot is going strong, several species of violets are blooming, and trout lilies are going strong. These are the really early plants around here. I recommend the Bloodroot and violets, in particular. Both are relatively easy to purchase, or easily found in your yard or a nieghbors woods in the case of violets. Also, both spread readily, so you'll get more in future years, and you don't have to worry too much about collecting a few from a neighbor's patch (with permission!). There are many species of violets, and you'll want to pick a species that is suited to your soil and shade conditions. I think you will find several species that thrive in moist acidic soil. ONe added benefit of violets is that they are the host for the Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly caterpillars.

if you have a really moist spot, marsh marigold might be worth a try. i saw patches of those blooming yesterday.

Another early plant here is trailing arbutus, which is the very first flower in many of the dry acid woods on mountains here. However, it is slow growing and not really very showy, so it won't make a big visual impact in your yard, but is still nice if you have a dry acid spot.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 9:19AM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Thank you all very much--these ideas should help. I recognize some of these as suggested nectar sources for butterflies and/or hummingbirds, which is even better.

-- Lori

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 7:50PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

The first good native hummingbird flower here is Eastern Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis. They are just starting to bloom in central PA right now, and hummingbirds have just arrived as well. Hummingbirds will visit lots of other flowers, but none of the other early natives seem to get much attention from hummingbirds until native azaleas start blooming, which should happen soon.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 10:00AM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

There's red buckeye but that is a large shrub it attracts hummingbirds and the native azaleas If you don't mind vines there is Gelsemium sempervirens and also native bleeding heart coralbells silene virginia but none of them bloom untill late April early May

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 7:08PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

ladyslppr and sarahbn,

Thank you both for the additional suggestions--I'll look into them, some of the plants are ones I'm not familiar with. I have native bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia, aka turkey corn), and my husband liked it so much, he had me buy 3 more this year. Very soon after I first started this thread, I noticed it had started blooming. By the way, that's the same as the turkey corn above as far as I know (Dicentra eximia).

I really like Eastern columbine, but in the past haven't succeeded with it. I just looked on the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center site to check, and I think it's because the soil probably wasn't well-drained enough for it where I put. I'll try to think of a spot it might do better in. I would love to have more for hummingbirds early in the season.

-- Lori

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 8:02PM
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