April is well underway and we are delighted to watch each landscape explode with color and fresh, new life. As we anticipate our Annual Flower Installations in May, many of our natural surroundings give a bit of a tease when it comes to blooming cycles. Many of the flowers we are seeing at this time function as indicators that Spring is in motion.

There are a plethora of these types of flowering indicator plants in our region from weeds to shrubs to invasive vines. Read on to learn more about a few that we face throughout our work at this time in the season. 


You may have noticed this flowering little friend in recent weeks. Henbit buds during the very early stages of Spring, usually March. Although it has a nice magenta color, this winter annual weed is a nuisance when it comes to lawncare. It sprouts in the Fall (in all kinds of places on your landscape) and flowers in early Spring, serving as an indicator that the season is officially changing. Then, in early Summer, it produces seeds and dies, before its cycle begins again in the Fall. 

Henbit is very resilient and adaptable to a wide range of soils from fertile to dry to weak or stressed soils. Whether it’s beneath your rose bushes, next to an outdoor walkway, or in the middle of your lawn, henbit will sustain itself if not handled. Although it may not seem like a hazard, it can spread across your turf and choke out your grass. The best way of fighting it is to apply chemicals early Spring & Fall. This is one weed that we put up a fight against through timely chemical treatments or careful picking and pulling throughout Spring Cleanup services. Proper care in combatting henbit among other weeds, gives way for healthy grass growth and mulch beds that are neat and tidy. 


Forsythia is among the earliest Spring bloomers. It is a deciduous plant that functions each year, usually in March, as an indicator that Spring is about to kick off. It is a very hardy plant, of the olive family and capable of growing in various sunlight conditions. Forsythia is a low maintenance and fast-growing. In fact, it can increase by up to 24 inches each year!

Its flowers show themselves before their leaves, giving a crystal-clear view of that bright yellow.  When it comes to planting, best is late Fall or early Spring when plants are still dormant.

Learn more about henbit and forsythia, along with other indicator plants.

Or check out the UMD Extension Pest-Predictor Calendar! 


Other flowering plants that are the early indicators of Spring include Dogwoods, Daffodils, Quince and Camillas. 


The invasive vine, Wisteria is not one of the early indicators of Spring, rather it normally blooms in May. It resides in the U.S. and spreads aggressively each Spring. Both the Chinese and Japanese Wisteria have made their way to the states, bringing both beauty and destruction when they grow.

Those vibrant, purple flowers do not come without a cost. As this vine grows, it wraps upward around trees, suffocating them, and ensuing chaos throughout very woody areas. Learn more about it at “Knotweed and Not Native” or refer to the video below to see what this plant looks like in action!