Want your landscape to be ahead of the spring curve? These underdog plants are sometimes over looked but with their beautiful colors, scents and blooming weeks ahead of most, you’re landscape will the brightest on the street weeks ahead of the rest!
Banana Shrub (Michelia figo) got its common name because (yes you guessed it) its flowers smells like ripe banana when in bloom. They bloom heavily starting in early spring with cream-colored flowers edged with a touch of pink. If cream isn’t your color, its cultivar the Port Wine (Magnolia figo) has dark pink to rose pink colored flowers. Once it’s rooted and settled, Banana Shrub can work in various light conditions and can grow ten to fifteen tell tall. You can incorporate Banana Shrubs in a mixed shrub border or use them as hedges. If their banana scent were what you’re interested in, we’d recommend planting near an entryway or window so its fruit-like aromas could be enjoyed.
Lily of the Valley shrub (Pieris) is usually grown in shadier parks of your lawn and stays gorgeous year round with its glossy dark green foliage. But Lily of the Valley is most attractive when in bloom starting late winter and early spring. There are all types of varieties of Lily of the Valley and they all typically grow between 3 to 8 feet tall and wide, which makes them perfect to consider for an informal hedge or a mixed border in your yard. The varieties of Lilly of the Valley shrub are garnished with white or dark pink flowers with arched stems that bring color and amazing scents during its bloom.
Sweet Box (Sarcococca confusa) has a honey-like scent that attracts even the pickiest of bees. The modest looking shrub is also a very practical one; it can put up with neglect and survive the harsh winter months. In early spring white flowers bloom followed by red Christmas-ornament like berries. Sweet Box is a great choice for shaded areas where other plants won’t grow and forms natural espalier against walls. We’d recommend planting Sweet Box near your entryway so the scent and bloom can be savored by all come to your front door.
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora) blooms in late winter and early spring, which you might have already guessed from its name. What you probably haven’t guessed about Winter Daphne is that its spicy but sweet scent can be smelled from far away. But if you want to keep that scent around, working with the finicky plant is key. Planting Winter Daphne in a zone that gets at least three hours of light shade is important as well as making sure is has lots of air around it’s roots. When in bloom, Winter Daphne starts with rosy-pink bus that open to white flowers. We’d recommend planting the beautiful scented shrub near a patio or deck where you and your family can bask in their scent.
Getting through those long, dreary winter months can be hard! So adding these early blooming plants to your yard or garden can remind you spring, and all the beauty it brings, is right around the corner.