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Moss' Top Ten Plants of March

Harbingers of Spring

The plants of March signal change, as they usher out Old Man Winter and his partner, Cold Miser. These plants are tough; taking the fickle weather (snow, sleet, storm, frost, warmth) in stride. They let us know that Spring is coming and the gray Earth is ready to grow again.

They reassure us that we are not stuck in some kinda perpetual, time-looping winter. You know like that guy in the Twilight Zone that broke his magic watch and was trapped between time. Anyway, these are some of the most welcome and beloved plants of the year.

As always, tropical, mild winter, and Chicago winter hardy plants comprise the list.   This month is heavy on the spring bulbs.


Click on thumb for larger image





female maple flowers

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Large, shade tree. Older trees have peeling bark. Fall color average. Suitable for floodplains and wet areas. Messy as a lawn tree.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates

Brevipetala witch hazel flowers

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis "Brevipetala")

Deciduous shrub with clusters of small fragrant, bright yellow, ribbon-like flowers.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates

aunt deanna's heath

Heath (Erica cultivars)

Low evergreen shrub with clusters of small bright flowers. Best for acid areas.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates

helleborus multifidus blooming

Hellebore (Helleborus multifidus)

Deciduous hellebore with bunches of nodding green bells and decorative foliage. Subspecies hercegovinus has more finely divided leaves but is slow to establish.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates

bright yellow winter aconite wide open in sun

Winter Aconite (Eranthis)

Sunshine yellow, honey scented flowers on decorative ephemeral groundcover

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

winter sun mahonia

Netted Iris (Iris reticulata )

Sturdy, fragrant, miniature irises. I. "George" is usually larger and deeper purple. I danfordiae has yellow flowers but is not as reliable.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

Tommy Crocus (Crocus tomassinianus)

Large, coloful flowers. Pot up several rounds of bulbs for successive blooms. Most rodent and shade resistant of all the crocuses.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

snow scilla

Snow Scilla (Scilla mischtschenkoana)

Milk squill's white bells begin blooming as it emerges from the ground. One of the first to bloom. S. bifolia follows about two weeks later.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

spring meadow saffron

Spring Meadow Saffron (Bulbocodium vernuum)

Clumps of pinkish purple flowers. Resistant to rodents and rabbits.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates

crinum buds
Crinum (Crinum asiaticum)
Spikes of spidery, perfumed flowers on decorative evergreen plant. Requires very large pot or greenhouse to reach full potential in cold climates. Tropical

wemoss.org 2007, Last Updated March 12, 2007