Every year we excitedly wait for Pantone to announce the color of the year. We think about how it’ll influence color palettes for design, fashion, and big events like weddings. This year, instead of just picking one color for the year, Pantone picked two: rose quartz and serenity. These colors are soft, much like the colors of many spring flowers. They channel mindfulness, wellbeing, and relaxation.
Pantone also incorporated these colors into their Spring 2016 Fashion Color Report, which blends ten colors, both subtle and vivid, to create a contrasting yet balanced color palette. This palette inspired us to pair spring flowers with spring colors to create floral mood boards. Soft pink tulips pair perfectly with peach echo, for example. Use the mood boards below to help inspire you this season whether you’re planting spring flowers, decorating, or anything in between!
“Rose Quartz, a persuasive yet gentle tone…conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Like a serene sunset, flushed cheek or budding flower, Rose Quartz reminds us to reflect on our surroundings during the busy but lighthearted spring and summer months.”
- Cherry Blossom – Cherry blossoms were first brought to the US from Japan in the early 20th century as a gift from the Japanese government. They were planted along the Potomac and on White House grounds. Cherry blossoms are still cherished today, and are commemorated with annual festivals in Washington DC and throughout the US. Cherry trees grow fast, but usually don’t live more than 20 years and are prone to diseases and pest damage. To reduce the risk of diseases and pests be sure not to let mulch pile up against the tree, to remove dead or diseased wood, and to dispose of trimmings away from the tree.
- Peony – Peonies are lush flowers that bloom from April to May or June depending on their variety. They thrive in hardiness zones 3 through 8, and generally start to grow after the winter frost has passed and temperatures reach 65 or 70 degrees. They should not be planted more than 1.5 to 2 inches below the soil line, and do best in full sun and well-draining soil. Peonies are known to be long-lasting perennials and generally require little maintenance, though they rarely do well after being transplanted.
- Camellia – Camellias are evergreen shrubs originally from eastern and southern Asia. They have become popular in America, especially in the South, where they are Alabama’s state plant. Camellia buds take about half a year to develop, and blossom from fall to early spring. It is best to prune the shrubs after they flower. Camellias grow best in partial shade and are deer resistant. When watering, it is best to moisten the entire root ball, then let dry before watering again.
- Mountain Laurel – Mountain laurels are evergreen shrubs and trees that are native to the eastern United States. They are the state flower of both Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Mountain laurel bloom from late spring to early summer, and the flowers are often shades of pink, white, and purple. They grow best in partial shade with slightly acidic, well-draining soil, and should be planted so that their crown is not buried. The plants are poisonous to most animals if ingested.
- Deutzia – Deutzia is a genus of flowering shrubs with around 60 different species. Most species are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves seasonally, but some are evergreen. They are native to Central America and Asia — the widest variety of species is found in China. Deutzia plants bloom throughout spring, and do best in full sunlight, though they can also survive in partial shade. They are deer resistant and relatively low maintenance.
- Dogwood – Dogwood trees are deciduous trees native to the eastern United States. They bloom from two to four weeks in the beginning of spring, and their flowers range from pink to red to white. If they fail to bloom during the spring, that may be because there is too much nitrogen in the soil, too much or too little sunlight, cold weather, or lack of water. Dogwoods do best in partial shade, and should be watered once a week so that the soil is soaked to 6 inches deep.
“Peach Echo [is] a shade that emanates friendlier qualities, evoking warmth and accessibility. It is an all-encompassing, tempered companion in the playful orange family.”
- Pink Tulip – Tulips bloom from March to May, depending on what variety they are. They are popular spring flowers because they come in nearly every color from bright red to light pink to dark purple, and because they are perennials, meaning that they’ll come back year after year. Tulips do best in full sun, or at least six hours of sunlight a day. Though single tulips — tulips that bear one flower on each stem– are most popular, there are many other visually interesting varieties including double tulips, lily-flowered tulips, and fringed tulips.
- Daylily – Daylilies are native to Asia, but have been hybridized in the United States and England so that they now come in nearly every color of the rainbow and in a variety of shapes. They are hardy perennials that are able to adapt to a variety of conditions, and have relatively few pest and disease problems. Though they grow best in full sun, the can also grow in partial shade. Generally they bloom in late spring to early summer.
- Geranium – Geraniums, also known as cranesbill, are popular indoor and outdoor plants that come in annual, biennial, and perennial varieties, though perennials are most popular for the garden. Depending on the variety, they can bloom in spring, early summer, or fall. They do best in full sunlight, and should be watered regularly letting the soil dry between waterings. Geraniums can be propagated easily — the best time to propagate is in spring or summer.
- Garden Rose – There are two main categories of garden roses: Modern Garden Roses and Old Garden Roses. Modern Roses were bred after 1867, and include hybrid tea roses, which are popular cut roses. Modern Garden roses bloom continuously, come in a variety of colors, and have a large bloom size and long vase life, but lack fragrance. Old Garden Roses are a traditional class of roses bred before the arrival of the hybrid rose in 1867. They typically bloom once a year during the summer months.
“Weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, Serenity comforts with a calming effect, bringing a feeling of respite even in turbulent times. A transcendent blue, Serenity provides us with a naturally connected sense of space.”
- Bluestar – Bluestar, also known as amsonia, is named after its powder blue, star-shaped flowers. It’s a treasured perennial not only because of its unique flowers that bloom throughout spring, but also because of its beautiful foliage, which turns golden in the fall. Bluestar is native to North America, and does best in full sun. It is best if the soil is kept constantly moist, but overall it’s a relatively low-maintenance plant and is deer-resistant.
- Sweet Pea – Sweet peas are often associated with the color pink and their enticing fragrance, but sweet peas also bloom in shades of red, purple, and blue. Some species are climbing annuals that can be trained onto a support system, while other dwarf varieties are non-climbers that grow well in beds and borders. Sweet peas commonly bloom in the spring, though they can also bloom in the summer and fall depending on the climate. They grow best in full to partial shade with moist, well-draining soil. Sweet peas are relatively cold hardy plants, and usually aren’t damaged by light frost.
- Bellflower – Bellflowers are known for their diversity in color and growth habits. In some species, the flowers grow extremely tall, while in others the flowers grow close to the ground. Common colors are blue, purple, white, and pink. Most popular bellflowers are perennials, though a few are annuals and biennials. They bloom in spring and summer, and do best if planted in full sun to partial shade with moist, well-draining soil.
- Forget-Me-Not – Forget-me-nots are low-maintenance wildflowers that self-seed. Because of this, once they’re planted one place in your garden, they’re likely to invade other parts, which is why they’re often planted as groundcover. Most forget-me-nots are biennials. They bloom from late spring to early summer, and produce blue, white, and pink flowers. Forget-me-nots prefer cool environments, and do best in lightly shaded areas with moist soil.
- Muscari – Muscari, also known as grape hyacinth because of its purple clusters that resemble grapes, are great for attracting pollinators to your garden. The bright blue varieties are most common, though they also come in shades of white, pink, and yellow. Muscari grow from bulbs that should be planted in well-draining soil about three to four inches deep in the fall. The flowers will bloom in the spring and do best in full sun.
“A maritime-inspired blue, Snorkel Blue plays in the navy family, but with a happier, more energetic content. The name alone implies a relaxing vacation and encourages escape. It is striking yet still, with lots of activity bursting from its undertones.”
- Gentiana Verna – Gentiana verna, also known as the spring gentiana, is native to the mountainous parts of Europe. As an alpine plant, it grows well in rock beds and troughs and is very hardy. Gentiana verna is known for its vibrant blue, star-shaped flowers that bloom throughout spring. It does best in full sunlight, but can also survive in light shade, and thrives in gritty soil. Gentiana verna should be kept constantly moist.
- Delphinium – Delphiniums are perennials that are known for their spikes of showy flowers that bloom in shades of blue, pink, white, and purple. They do well in full to partial shade and start to bloom in late spring into summer. They thrive in areas that have moist, cool summers, as they do not do well in hot, dry climates or in climates with harsh wind or rain. Soil should be kept moist at all times. Dwarf delphiniums grow to around two feet tall, while other varieties can grow up to six feet.
- Morning Glory – Morning glories are known for their distinctive funnel-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves. These vines grow rapidly, and can be used to cover fences and trellises. They bloom in late spring and summer with flowers ranging from red to yellow to purple. Most morning glories are annuals, though some re-seed themselves. They do best in full sun, but can withstand light shade as well as poor soil.
- Primrose – Primroses are the first perennials to bloom in spring — some actually start blooming in late winter. With proper care, they will reappear every spring for years. They grow to around six inches tall, and their flowers are commonly shades of ivory and yellow, though some varieties also bloom in shades of pink, purple, red, and blue. Primroses do best in partial shade with well-draining soil. Soil that doesn’t drain well can cause crown rot or root rot.
“While the majority of Spring/Summer palette trends toward calmness, a few diversions from the theme emerge that offer a contrast. With Buttercup, designers reveal a shining beacon transporting its wearer to a happier, sunnier place.”
- Yellow Trillium – Trilliums are also known as the trinity flower because they have three leaves, three sepals, and three petals. They are native to North America and Asia, and bloom in early to mid spring. There are over 40 species of trillium, and the flowers come in nearly every color. They are woodland plants, so they do best in shaded areas with moist, well-draining soil. Some species of trillium are threatened or endangered, making it illegal to pick certain types of wild trillium.
- Daffodil – Daffodils are hardy perennials with around 60 species in a variety of colors, forms, and sizes. Their bright, trumpet-shaped flowers bloom in spring and grow to be about a foot or foot and a half tall. Daffodils do best in full sunlight or partial shade and neutral or slightly acidic soil. They require minimal plant care, and are resistant to many types of animals including deer, rabbits, squirrels, and rodents.
- Freesia – Freesias are zygomorphic, which means the flowers only grow on one side of the stem. They often bloom in spring and summer, and come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, pink, red, blue, and purple. The plants grow from corms, which are similar to bulbs. The corms store the plant’s food in the basal plate, which is also where the roots grow from. Freesias grow well in full sun or partial shade. You’ll know you’re overwatering them if the leaves start turning yellow.
- Pansy – Pansies are viola hybrids. They are hardy flowers that can often survive over winter and bloom into spring. To help the pansies survive the cold, it is best to plant them in early fall, and use medium sized flowers rather than large flowers. Pansies are often treasured for their multi-colored flowers. Though they are perennials, they are usually planted as annuals or biennials. Pansies do best in full sun or partial shade.
- Golden Columbine – Golden columbine is native to the southwestern United States. It’s a herbaceous perennial that blooms from late spring to late summer and grows between one to three feet tall. Its bright yellow flowers are distinctive because of their five spurs that project backwards between the sepals. Golden columbine flowers are named after the Latin word for dove, columbinus, because their flowers resemble a cluster of five doves. It does best in partial to full shade, but can also tolerate full sun in cooler climates.
- Forsythia – Forsythia are deciduous shrubs native to eastern Asia and southeastern Europe. They are known for their full, fountain-shaped branches, and can grow to be up to ten feet tall and ten feet wide at maturity. Bright yellow flowers cover the tree at peak bloom, which is in late winter or early spring. They do best with full sun and well draining soil, and should be pruned right after they have finished blooming.
“A shade of aqua that leans toward the green family, Limpet Shell is clear, clean and defined. Suggestive of clarity and freshness, its crisp and modern influences evoke a deliberate, mindful tranquility.”
- Scilla – The scilla plant is known for its bright blue flowers, though it also blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. It is a perennial that grows from small bulbs and blooms during the spring. There are about 90 species of scilla, siberian squill being the most popular. They can grow well in full sun to partial shade, and should be planted in well draining soil. These plants are deer resistant and relatively hardy, but they’re poisonous if ingested.
- Calla Lily – Calla lilies are known for their heart-shaped leaves and prominent spadices. They are not actual lilies, but rather members of the Araceae family. These herbaceous perennials grow from rhizomes, which are underground plant stems that produce the shoot and root system. They are usually planted in spring after the frost has passed, and bloom in late spring and summer. Calla lilies are commonly white, making them a popular flower to dye vibrant colors. They do best in full sunlight, but can also survive in partial shade.
- Hydrangea – Hydrangeas are shrubs that produce lush groups of flowers. Though most bloom during the summer, oakleaf hydrangeas start blooming in late spring. Hydrangeas are known for their vibrant colors, commonly blue, pink, or green. White hydrangeas can be easily dyed or tinted, allowing them to take on colors that are hard to find naturally. Many hydrangeas do well in partial shade, though the amount of sunlight needed varies by species. They should be watered often so that the soil is always moist, but not overly wet.
“As in most any season, the need for neutrals arises. Essentially a basic, the subtlety of the lilac undertone in Lilac Gray adds a distinctive edge to this classy gray shade.”
- Dusty Miller – Dusty millers are hardy perennials whose small, golden flowers bloom in mid-summer. However, its silvery foliage, which is often used by florists, grows throughout the year. The silvery fur on its leaves allows it to hold a lot of water. In mild climates, the plant grows until the first frost, then reappears in the spring. In cooler climates, dusty millers are often grown as annuals. It does well when planted in full sun or partial shade.
- Echeveria – Echeveria are a group of rosette-shaped succulents native to Mexico. They can grow throughout the year in warm climates, and do best in hardiness zones 8-11. People are often attracted to echeverias because of of their unique coloration, which ranges from red to green to blue. Some species bloom, like Echeveria pallida, bloom in the spring, though the plants are valued for their leaves rather than their flowers. Echeveria are drought-resistant, and produce baby plants which nest against their mother and are easy to propagate.
“The high energy Fiesta is a harbinger of excitement, encouraging free-spirited exploration to unknown but welcoming locales. A strong and fiery, yellow-based Red, the vivid Fiesta provides a stark contrast to the calming, softer nature of this season’s palette.”
- Amaryllis – Amaryllis are popular flowers to give around the holidays because when planted indoors, they can bloom in mid-winter. There are only two species of amaryllis. These perennials are often transplanted to the garden in spring, or planted as bulbs in September to January for a spring bloom. Red and pink amaryllis flowers are most popular. They do best in full sun or partial shade with well-draining soil, and are deer resistant.
- Mandevilla – Mandevilla, also known as rocktrumpet, is a flowering vine that is often grown along trellises or garden walls. It’s native to tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America, so it does best in warm climates, specifically hardiness zones 9 and 10. It can’t tolerate temperatures below 45 degrees. The plants bloom from spring to fall with red, white, or pink flowers. They do best in sandy, well-draining soil.
- Butterfly Pentas – Butterfly pentas are rich in nectar, so they are often planted to attract butterflies or hummingbirds. They are also known as Egyptian starflowers because of their star-shaped flowers. They do best in warm environments, like hardiness zones 9 and above. They bloom continuously from spring to first frost, which is part of what makes these plants so popular. They grow best in full sun, but will also grow in partial shade.
- Beardtongue – There are about 270 species of beardtongue, which are native to both North America and East Asia. These perennials require heat to bloom, and often start to flower in late spring and early summer — under ideal conditions they will continuously bloom until late summer. They are often planted to attract hummingbirds to the garden. Beardtongue do best when planted in full sun with well-draining soil.
- Poppy – There are over 70 species of poppies which include annuals, biennials, and perennials. In his book entitled Poppies, Christopher Grey-Wilson hypothesized that poppies got their names either from the sound of chewing the seeds, or from the Celtic world papa, meaning a liquid food for infants, because poppy juice used to be fed to infants to help them sleep. Poppies should be planted in early spring, and will bloom in late spring and summer. They do best in full sun to partial shade, and will often self-sow.
“A transitional color that will take us through the seasons, Iced Coffee manifests as another strong neutral for the season. With its natural earthy quality, the softness and subtlety of Iced Coffee creates a stable foundation when combined with the rest of this season’s palette.”
- Pussy Willow – Pussy willows are relatively easy trees to grow, though they have deep, spreading roots and should not be planted next to pipes or water lines. These roots allow them to hold soil in place, making them a great choice for erosion control. Pussy willows grow best in full sun with constant water. The trees start to bud in late winter or early spring with white, furry catkins, which later develop into light yellow flowers.
- Baby’s Breath – Baby’s breath is a popular ornamental flower that’s native to Eurasia. It is a herbaceous perennial that can grow up to four feet tall. It’s listed as a noxious weed in some states including California and Washington because of its invasive nature. However, it’s extremely popular as a bouquet filler, and is often tinted or dried to fit a color scheme. It does best in full sun, blooms in late spring and summer, and is deer resistant.
- Curly Willow – The curly willow, or corkscrew willow, got its name from its unique branches which twist into curls as they grow. Curly willows have shallow roots that stay close to the surface, so they are not fitting to plant near sidewalks and will not stay firmly rooted in poor weather. These trees reach up to 30 feet at maturity. They are enjoyed throughout the year. In spring they bloom, in fall the foliage turns bright yellow, and in winter they shed their leaves showcasing their unique branches.
“Green Flash calls on its wearer to explore, push the envelope and escape the mundane, radiating an openness that combines with the rest of the palette in unexpected but serendipitous ways. The popularity of this brilliant hue is representative of nature’s persistent influence even in urban environments, a trend continuing to inspire designers.”
- Snowball Viburnum – Snowball viburnum is a shrub that is named for its clustered, white flowers, which bear resemblance to snowballs. The flower clusters start out as a bright green, but get lighter as they mature, and fade to a slight pink as they age. Snowball viburnum blooms in late spring into summer, and can grow over ten feet tall. It does best in full sun with well-drained, slightly acidic soil, but will also tolerate partial shade and alkaline soil.
- Hellebore – There are about 22 species of hellebore plants. One of the most popular is an oriental hybrid, commonly called the Lenten rose, because it blooms around the beginning of lent. These perennials bloom in late winter or early spring and are relatively low-maintenance. The color of their flowers range from green to pink to red to purple, and are often fragrant and long-lasting. Though they are deer-resistant, they are also poisonous and should not be ingested. They grow best in full or partial shade.
- Fritillaria – Fritillaria are part of the lily family. They have unique, nodding, bell-cupped flowers and can grow up to four feet tall, towering over many other spring flowers. They bloom in nearly every color, and some are even multi-colored with unique patterns. Fritillaria bulbs should be planted in moist soil and in full sun or partial shade. They are relatively hardy and resist deer, squirrels, and rodents.
- Lycaste Orchid – There are four main subgroups under the Lycaste genus: Deciduosae, Longisepalae, Macrophyllae, and Fimbriatae. Of those, Deciduosae and Macrophyllae are the most common. They are typically found in temperate regions of Mexico and South and Central America. They’re also popular houseplants and often used in floral arrangements. Lycaste orchids are known for their triangular flowers, which bloom in spring.
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Serenity bouquet: Photography by Erika Parker | Snorkel blue bouquet: Ais Portraits | Buttercup bouquet: Kathryn Rummel | kreatephotography.com | Iced coffee bouquet: Michael Radford Photography | Fiesta bouquet: The Nichols | Green flash bouquet: Chrisman Studios | Cherry blossom CC Image courtesy of Takashi .M on Flickr | Mountain laurel CC Image courtesy of Ron Jones on Flickr | Garden rose CC Image courtesy of Takashi .M on Flickr | Geranium CC Image courtesy of Serena on Flickr | Daylily CC Image courtesy of K M on Flickr | Tulips CC Image courtesy of François Philipp on Flickr | Gentiana verna CC Image courtesy of böhringer friedrich on Wikimedia Commons | Primrose CC Image courtesy of Hans Hillewaert on Wikimedia Commons | Golden columbine CC Image courtesy of Stan Shebs on Wikimedia Commons | Freesia CC Image courtesy of Toshiyuki IMAI on Flickr | Calla lily CC Image courtesy of John D. on Flickr | Scilla CC Image courtesy of John Lodder on Flickr | Dusty miller CC Image courtesy of Carl Lewis on Flickr | Baby’s breath CC Image courtesy of Christian Kaff on Flickr | Curly willow CC Image courtesy of Heather on Flickr | Amaryllis CC Image courtesy of mr.bologna on Flickr | Butterfly Pentas CC Image courtesy of Rain0975 on Flickr | Beardtongue CC Image courtesy of Manuel on Flickr | Snowball Viburnum CC Image courtesy of manu on Flickr | Hellebore CC Image courtesy of Karen Roe on Flickr | Lycaste Orchid CC Image courtesy of C T Johansson on Wikimedia Commons | Fritillaria CC Image courtesy of titanium22 on Flickr