When this favorite shrub is blooming outside, a quick snip brings the garden inside.

Flowering Quince Blooms
Credit: Hector Sanchez

Flowering quince owes its long-term prominence in Southern gardens to two main factors. First, its late-winter and early-spring flowers are flat-out jaw-droppers. Second, you can't kill the dang thing, even if you want to.

Native to China and Japan, flowering quince thrives on neglect to the point of abuse. Some forms grow tall and rangy, while others grow short and wide. Flowers can be single, semidouble, or double in colors of red, blush pink, rose, salmon, orange, or white. Though it isn't prized for fruit like its cousin, common quince, a few selections do bear quinces good for making jelly.

This survivor is a true harbinger of spring, needing only a few mild days in January for its blossoms to pop. Although you can force budded branches to bloom indoors, it's easier just to clip branches already in bloom from a shrub outside and stick them in water. No hassle, no waiting—just lots of color