There is nothing quite like the sight of early-blooming flowers to signal the arrival of spring. While there are a multitude of flowers that come into bloom during the warmer, summer months, it takes a hardier plant to emerge during the cooler temperatures of early spring. Flowers that bloom this early in the season are perennials which come from bulbs planted in the fall. When planting early-blooming flowers, it is recommended to plant a few later-blooming plants in the same area. This way, once the early-bloomers have died off, new plants are ready to emerge and take their place for the summer.
Crocus, with their white, yellow or purple flowers, are known to bloom as early as February or March. In fact, they can often be seen emerging through the soil when there is still snow on the ground. They typically grow to a height of 4 to 6 inches and prefer moist soil and full sun. They make a good ground cover plant or addition to flower beds. Space them 4 inches apart and plant to a depth of 5 inches. They will thrive in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3 to 7, but mulching to regulate soil temperature is recommended for Zones 3 and 4.
The Dutch hyacinth is a perennial plant that flowers in the months of April and May. They typically reach a height of 8 to 12 inches and prefer full sun or, at the very least, exposure to morning sun. Blooms can be a variety of colors, including purple, orange, mauve or white, and grow in an elongated cluster on top of the plant's stems. Dutch hyacinths should be planted in the fall to a depth of 8 inches. Space the bulbs 1 to 3 inches apart and lay mulch around the base of the plants if growing in Zone 4. Zones 5 to 7 do not require mulch.
The perennial dwarf iris is recommended for Zones 3 to 7, with mulching in Zones 3 and 4. The flowers are a deep blue, with a yellow and white blotch in the center. They bloom in March for a period of two weeks. They will reach a height of 5 to 6 inches and prefer full sun, but will thrive if only morning sun is available. They prefer moist soil during their growing period, so regular irrigation is recommended if spring rainfall is sparse.