Flowers for springtime

I was asked what bulb plants are native. The person was somewhat surprised when I pointed out that hardly any bulb plants in box stores are native. Wild Onion and Wild Hyacinth are native bulb plants that come to mind. However, the purpose of the question was to get a list of plants that flower in the spring. All of these plants flower in May and June. If you are providing flowers for bees and butterflies, it is worth remembering that your garden should be weighted towards flowering during August and early September when many bee populations are at their maximum. In any case, springtime flowers are essential for early season bees including queen bumblebees that need to feed in order to raise offspring. Many plants that flower in spring would naturally be found in woodlands where plants take advantage of the available light energy before trees have completely leafed out. For the rest of the season, these plants grow in the shade.

Ephemeral spring flowering plants that occur in woodlands are a little trickier to design a garden with because by July, they have gone dormant and left a bare patch of ground. These plants should be combined with plants that flower later on in the season or with ferns and sedges.

  Claytonia virginiana  
  Claytonia virginiana is an ephemeral like several other spring flowering plants  


Name Notes
Actaea rubra native A native plant that does well in rich well-drained and moist soil. It has limited wildlife value.
Adlumia fungosa native Native vine that bears some resemblance to bleeding hearts
Amsonia tabernaemontana This plant is native to southern USA. It attracts a variety of insects and possible hummingbirds.
  Adlumia fungosa is a vine that starts flowering in springtime  
  Adlumia fungosa, the Alleghany Vine, starts flowering in springtime.  
Anemone patens native Attracts some bees for their pollen. It is the state flower of Manitoba. It does well with drainage.
Anemone quinquefolia native A groundcover that does well in moist soil.
Antennaria plantaginifolia native Does well in dry soil and is a host plant for butterflies.
Aquilegia canadensis native An excellent early season plant for hummingbirds.
Arisaema triphyllum native It likes moist rich soils and produces flowers in a spathe.
Aruncus dioicus Requires moist soil.
Asarum canadense native Grows well in rich soils. A good ground cover.
Baptisia sp. native All Baptisia in the region are spring flowers. Baptisia australis and tinctoria are Canadian species. They are quite tall and grow fast when they spring forth.
Caltha palustris native Needs rich moist soils. Has noticeable flowers.
Camassia scilloides native A wild hyacinth that does well in moist rich and well drained soil. Goes dormant.
  Camassia scilloides  
  Wild hyacinths are very rare in Ontario and difficult to obtain.  
Cardamine sp. native There are many species. Cutleaf toothwort is a good choice for regular garden soil or even a sandy loam.
Caulophyllum thalictroides native A woodland wildflower with noticeable berries.
Claytonia virginiana native Needs rich moist soils. It will go dormant after seeding.
Cornus canadensis native Produces berries for birds. Likes rich moist soils.
Dentaria sp. native A host plant for the West Virginia white. Needs shady moist soil. Goes dormant
Dicentra canadensis native Good for moist soils. Used by queen bumblebees.
Dicentra cucullaria native Good for moist soils.
Dicentra eximia Likes moist soils. Has a long flowering season.
Fragaria virginiana native A fairly tough fast growing ground cover.
Geum rivale native Does well in wet or moist soil and full sun.
Geum triflorum native Does well in dry soil and full sun.
Geranium maculatum native Good for shady soils on the drier side.
Heuchera native A late spring plant in a sunny location.
Hepatica acutiloba native Early to mid spring with seasonal moisture required
  Hepatica in spring  
  Hepatica is as showy as any commercial spring bulb.  
Hymenoxys herbacea native A late spring plant for sunny dry soils. Does not tolerate competition.
Iris lacustris native This low growing sun loving Iris is a rare species
Linnaea borealis native A late spring plant that needs moist soils.
Lupinus perennis native A late spring plant for sunny dry soils.
  Irises flower in spring  
  Northern blue flags flower in late spring and Dwarf Lake Iris (not shown) is one of the first flowers in the garden.  
Maianthemum canadense native A late spring plant that does well in high humidity.
Mertensia virginica native Prefers rich moist soils. Goes dormant.
Phlox divaricata native Likes partial shade and rich soils.
Podophyllum peltatum native Flowers are hidden, but the foliage is of interest.
Polemonium reptans native Does well in moist partial shade. Bees quite like it.
Polygonatum biflorum native Tolerant of a range of soils and does well in shade.
Polygonatum pubescens native Tolerant of a range of soils and does well in shade.
Sanguinaria canadensis native Large flowers with interesting leaves that will go dormant.
Silene virginica native Grows in woods and most likely pollinated by hummingbirds.
Symptocarpus foetidus native Grows in moist woods. Has large leaves.
Trillium sp. native The great white trillium is the flower of Ontario.
Viola canadensis native A host plant for fritillaries.
  Golden Alexanders flower in spring  
  Golden Alexanders are one of several flowers that grow in spring in full sun.  
Zizia sp. native Two species that are good for bees and are host plants for the Black swallowtail butterfly.