Spring arrives slowly but surely in Connecticut. Daffodils and tulips begin to poke up from the thawing ground, and crocuses begin to appear alongside melting snow. Dogwoods and forsythia burst into bloom, adding welcome hues to the landscape. And all across the state, homeowners rush to prepare their lawns and gardens for the warmer weather.

Connecticut has a robust number of farmers raising flowers, shrubs, and other plants that can help you breathe new life into your landscape, create enticing displays within your home, and add beauty to your special occasions. Spring is a busy time for these producers, who make up the largest share of Connecticut’s agriculture.

In this blog, we explore how Connecticut’s greenhouses, nurseries, farms, and garden centers are excellent places to visit during the spring. Whether you’re looking to improve your home or simply want a memorable experience, you’ll find something that’s right for you.

Greenhouses, nurseries and garden centers

Throughout the winter, Connecticut’s greenhouse and nursery producers have been busy sowing seeds, potting plants, and preparing to assist customers in the new growing season. By visiting a CT Grown greenhouse or nursery, you’ll receive:

Dzen Farms in Ellington

There’s no shortage of products available at greenhouses and nurseries to get a jump on the year’s gardening plans, including:

Walk-through flower experiences

Some farms in Connecticut give visitors an up-close look at the returning floral landscape by offering walk-through experiences. Visitors can stroll through the fields and marvel at the spectacle of thousands of flowers in bloom together. 

In a relaxing, meditative experience, visitors are surrounded by the visual beauty and delightful scents of a sea of flowers. These scenes are also a popular photographic backdrop for everything from family portraits to engagement shots.

Walk-through flower experiences are often paired with pick-your-own options that let you take home a beautiful bouquet. Some options in Connecticut include:

Cut flower CSAs

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs go well beyond the traditional shares of fruits and vegetables, and Connecticut’s thriving floriculture businesses mean that there are plentiful options to find cut flower CSAs. Farms may offer these options either on their own or as an optional add-on to another CSA.

Spring flower CSAs are an excellent choice for people who can’t wait to get fresh flowers back into their home after a long winter. These feature seasonal flowers such as alliums, anemones, canterbury bells, daffodils, hyacinths, narcissus, ranunculus, and tulips. Farms often grow specialty varieties that aren’t usually found in stores, allowing each farm to create bouquets with a distinctive look.

Cut flower CSAs continue into summer and autumn, with each new share changing based on what’s in season. Some farms may also offer these CSAs into the winter, featuring greenhouse-grown flowers.

To find a cut flower CSA near you, visit the CT Grown map.

The spring season brings a welcome return of color to the Connecticut landscape, with warming temperatures signaling the start of a new growing season. We’re taking off our winter coats, starting preparations for our home gardens, and marking our calendars to get a bouquet for Mother’s Day.

It all makes for a busy time for CT Grown greenhouses, nurseries, and flower and sod producers. Across Connecticut this spring, you’ll find cut flowers, potted plants, bedding plants, hanging baskets, and more to make your home and garden beautiful this year. 

This guide will share some of the amazing flowers grown locally, and give you tips on where to find them.

Perennial flowers

Perennials are a favorite among gardeners because they return year after year and don’t need to be replanted. An underground structure, such as a bulb, allows them to stay dormant over the winter and regrow in the spring.

Popular options for spring-flowering perennials in Connecticut include:

Once the risk of a final spring frost has passed, you can also plant bulbs for perennial flowers that will bloom in the summer. Some options include begonias, dahlias, and lilies.

Annual flowers

Annual flowers grow for a single season and need to be replanted each year. They work well alongside perennials, which usually have a shorter flowering period, and allow gardeners to experiment with new and interesting flowers each year. Some flowers are technically perennials, but are grown as annuals due to their shorter lifespan.

Some popular options for annuals that can be planted in the spring include:

Flowering shrubs

Flowering shrubs are large, woody perennial plants that are well-suited for landscaping purposes. They can be used not only to make your home more attractive, but also as a natural way to define property lines and create a privacy screen.

Some popular options for flowering shrubs in Connecticut include:

Flower farms

Some farms in Connecticut specialize in growing cut flowers, and spring allows them to start hosting pick-your-own occasions and other events.

One example is the “Dancing Daffodils” field at Halfinger Farms in Higganum, where visitors can collect the bright yellow flowers for 70 cents apiece. At Wicked Tulips in Preston, a ticketed pick-your-own event lets you stroll through the fields and collect 10 tulips; the farm also hosts Yoga in the Tulips events during the spring.

Farms may also grow flowers alongside their other crops, and these blooms have become an increasingly popular option for CSAs. These programs let you regularly pick up bouquets of freshly cut flowers, bringing a bright and aromatic addition to your home for several weeks. Traditional CSAs may also offer an add-on option for flowers.

Plant and seedling sales in Connecticut

While early spring is typically too cold to begin growing plants outdoors in Connecticut, you can get a head start by planting seeds indoors and transplanting them once it gets warmer. You can also find seedling and plant sales across the state that have already started this process for you.

Plant and seedling sales offer annual and perennial flowers as well as seedlings for herbs and vegetables. Some give a special focus to native plants — species that occur naturally in the region and thus are beneficial to the local ecosystem.

Sales are sometimes hosted by farms to help generate revenue early in the season. They are also a popular fundraiser for organizations like garden clubs and arboretums.

Some upcoming plant and seedling sales in Connecticut include:

Connecticut flower festivals

The Connecticut Flower and Garden Show, which occurs annually in late February, attracts upwards of 40,000 people. Flower festivals, hosted by garden clubs and other organizations, continue into the spring. These are some of the upcoming events that herald the return of spring:

Nurseries and greenhouses

Dzen Farms in Ellington

Greenhouses, nurseries, and flower and sod producers represent the largest farm sector in Connecticut, accounting for more than half of the state’s agricultural production as measured by gross sales. They also have a considerable add-on impact to the state’s economy, supporting additional businesses such as florists and landscaping services.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, greenhouses and nurseries serve separate purposes. Greenhouses shield plants from the elements under glass or other protection, allowing for year-round cultivation. Nurseries don’t necessarily use this protection, and primarily serve to grow plants to a mature size. However, greenhouses can still be considered nurseries if they are used for this purpose.

Connecticut has almost 600 greenhouse growers, primarily specializing in cut flowers, flowering plants, and garden plants. Greenhouses shelter nearly 13 million square feet of cultivation space, and Connecticut ranks 15th in the nation for total greenhouse area.

Greenhouse operations are often paired with outdoor acreage to grow more flowers and plants during the warmer seasons. Connecticut has a mix of both small businesses and larger wholesale nurseries, which distribute plants throughout the world. 

Gardeners may have the option to visit a nursery or greenhouse directly to browse the available selection. However, some businesses only deliver their products to landscapers, wholesalers, or garden centers.

Garden centers

Garden centers receive a selection of flowers and other plants from producers. They are also set up as one-stop shops for all your gardening needs. Some garden centers operate independently, while others are an on-site feature of greenhouses and nurseries.

Van Wilgen’s Garden Center in North Branford

In addition to flowers and plants, garden centers provide items like soil mixes, gardening tools, seeds, fertilizers, and garden decor. They can also offer services like landscape design and installation, as well as clubs and events to provide gardening advice.

As an added bonus, Connecticut garden centers may partner with local farms to sell CT Grown items like fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, honey, and eggs.

CT Grown flowers at local retailers

Connecticut farms, greenhouses, and nurseries often supply both local businesses and major retailers with freshly cut flowers and other CT Grown plants. You can find the CT Grown label on flowers sold by florists, supermarkets, and chain stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. 

Additional resources for Connecticut flowers

The following organizations can provide additional information and resources on flowers in Connecticut:

February 23, 2023 @ 10:00 AM 7:00 PM

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center! Explore exhibits overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden equipments & much more. View beautifully landscaped gardens full of greenery and stop by the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut design & horticulture competition. We also offer over 80 hours of seminars and demonstrations across a variety of topics.

$5 – $20
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, Connecticut 06103 United States
+ Google Map

“I don’t think I need a box of vegetables every week.”

It’s a leading concern we hear from people who aren’t sure if they’ll benefit from joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. They worry that their CSA will have more vegetables than they can use each week (or that it won’t have the kind of produce they’ll use), resulting in wilted vegetables and lost money.

Rest assured, CSAs aren’t just limited to boxes of vegetables; there are options available for a wide variety of products, including meat, flowers, and seafood. Just like traditional CSAs, they allow CT residents to enjoy fresh food, get to know their local farmers and producers, and enjoy member perks while supporting Connecticut’s agricultural economy.

CT Grown farmers have also improved the flexibility of their CSAs in key, innovative ways. Read on to find out about the different types of CSAs that can fit your lifestyle.

Meat CSAs

Across Connecticut, livestock farmers are raising thousands of animals from the traditional beef, poultry, and pork to a bit more exotic such as bison and emu.  

While traditional CSAs provide different types of vegetables, meat CSAs offer a variety of meat cuts such as chops, sausages, ribs, roasts and ground meat. The program may provide a few pounds of meat every week, or monthly pickups with a larger selection.

CT Grown livestock producers are open to sharing the sustainable practices they use to raise their animals. Some practices include grass-fed diets, pasture-raised practices which are said to yield a higher nutritional value and better taste. 

Meat CSAs can work particularly well for those who are worried that their CSA shares will be inconsistent or that they will let food go to waste. Since meat CSAs are based on weight, you’ll be guaranteed a set amount of food with each share. Any meat you don’t use can be stored in the freezer until you need it.

Community Supported Fisheries (CSF)

Similar to meat CSAs, Community Supported Fisheries (CSF) programs let you enjoy fresh seafood soon after it has landed on Connecticut’s shores. In exchange for your upfront payment, you’ll get regular shares of aquaculture products like fish, shellfish, and kelp.

CSF programs work to make these products available to the consumer as quickly as possible. Seafood is purchased from local fishermen, then processed and made available for pickup.

While traditional CSAs help farmers cover the costs of each new growing season, CSFs help CT Grown aquaculture producers to pay for expenses like boat repairs and the purchase of new gear.

Flowers and seeds

Countless families have picked up locally produced flowers to add beauty and fragrance to their home. If you want to keep these displays as a more consistent part of your home decor, you might consider a flower CSA.

Flower CSAs offer bouquets of flowers with an ever-changing variety based on what’s in season. You may have the option of picking your own flowers, and some CSAs even provide seed packets so you can grow additional lovely blooms in your own garden.

This type of CSA gives you the freshest flowers possible, since you’ll be getting them directly from the farm. It can also be a good option for those looking to try out a CSA for the first time, as flower CSAs tend to be less expensive and cover a shorter span of time.

Subscriptions and customizable shares

Farms can offer programs that are similar to CSAs but provide more opportunities for flexibility and customization. Vegetable subscription boxes let you choose how frequently you receive your produce and how many weeks your subscription will run. CSAs also may have a “market style” setup, allowing you to pick and choose what you’d like to take home.

Programs may involve collaborations between multiple producers in order to provide a range of goods. Some Connecticut dairy farms have started subscription delivery services that not only bring milk to your doorstep, but also goods like eggs, granola, and breads.

If you frequently use a certain commodity, you may find a farm offering a CSA exclusively for this item. These specialty CSAs include items like bread, cheese, eggs, honey, maple syrup, milk, and mushrooms.

CSAs sometimes invite you to pick your own produce as part of the experience. Instead of getting a preselected portion of fruits or vegetables, you might be invited to head into the fields to take your pick of items like berries, flowers, herbs, hot peppers, snap peas, or tomatoes.

To learn more about how CSAs work, visit our previous blog. To find a CSA near you, visit this map.