A Beginner's Guide to Annual and Perennial Flowers (and the People Who Plant Them)
Annual vs. Perennial ... Wha?
You stand in the nursery paralyzed. Flowers surrounded you from every side. Red flowers, purple flowers, yellow flowers ... Big flowers, medium flowers, tiny little flowers ... Fragrant flowers in all stages of bloom.
These colorful flowers are probably divided into two distinct categories: Annuals and Perennials. You've likely heard both terms thousands of times. But have you ever really thought about this garden variety, and how it applies to your own garden?
If you're new to gardening, planting flowers or you're curious about the pros and cons of annuals and perennials during Spring and Fall gardening seasons, you're not alone. Many first-time gardeners have encountered this flower-filled dilemma.
Read on to for some basic differences between the two types of plants, and to find out if you are an annual person or a perennial person.
Are you an Annual Person or a Perennial Person?
In This Corner: The Annual
An annual is a plant or flower that lives for only one growing season. In other words, annuals enjoy their entire life cycle during that season: They germinate, blossom, produce seed and ... alas ... die.
Pros of annual flowers
- Beautiful colors will fill your garden all year long – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – as long as you replace the flowers after each blooming season.
- You will never get sick of your flowers or your garden because you're changing them out on a regular basis.
- These flowers are good in containers or garden beds.
- They add a bit of brightness and color to any location where they're planted.
Cons of annual flowers
- These flowers are a bit more high maintenance since they need to be replaced every few months.
- They will die season to season and will need to be removed from your garden. So don't get too attached!
Examples of annual flowers
In This Corner: The Perennial
A perennial plant or flower has a life cycle of more than two years. Perennials stick around. They survive winter and drought, re-blooming during growing seasons.
Pros of perennial flowers
- Low maintenance with a long lifespan.
- They will re-bloom for several years.
- You won't have to constantly plant and replant.
Cons of perennial flowers
- Perennials often reproduce, which may cause overcrowding, so they may need thinning.
- They won't necessarily provide color all year long.
- Once their roots are established, it's best to leave them where they are.
Examples of perennial flowers
- Baby's Breath
And the Winner is ...
A little from column A, a little from column ... P.
Life is too short to take sides, especially when it comes to gardening. So why not mix and match? You will have a beautiful garden all year round, and you'll also be able to customize a bit from season to season.
That, my friends, is the power of the flower!
© 2012 Aleza Freeman
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