10 Unusual Spring Flowers

These elegant early bloomers carpet the ground with color.

By C. Colston Burrell


Mark the arrival of spring with ephemeral flowers. Ephemeral means short-lived and refers to the fact that once their seed is ripe, the flowers and foliage of these perennials disappear, reappearing like magic the following spring.

Ephemeral wildflowers are relatively pest- and disease-free, and since they flourish on the slow release of nutrients common in garden soils, they don't need fertilizer. Several thrive under dry conditions. Here are my favorites; they grow in most regions of the country.

Sun to light shade
The majority of these plants grow in full sun to light shade in rich, well-drained soil (exceptions are noted). They are easy to grow in a woodland garden or under deciduous trees because they go dormant as the trees leaf out. The soil should be evenly moist in winter and spring, but it can become quite dry in summer.

Fawn lilly leaves are mottled lik a fawn.Fawn lilies (Erythronium), such as the creamy 'White Beauty', are glorious additions to spring's floral tapestry. The leaves are mottled like a fawn. Several yellow-flowered varieties are available, among them 'Pagoda'.

Photo: Photo: (cc) Peter Stevens/Flickr