A Beginner's Guide to Annual and Perennial Flowers
Annual vs. Perennial
If you're new to gardening and unclear about the pros and cons of annuals and perennials, you're not alone. Many first-time gardeners have encountered this flower-filled dilemma during fall and spring planting seasons.
Read on to for some basic differences between the two types of plants, as well as a third type called the biennial.
With just a little bit of planning and planting, your garden will bloom with flower power.
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 lifecycle during one season: They germinate, blossom, produce seed and ... alas ... die. Although their lifecycle is short, they are bright and colorful.
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. That means your perennials will stick around for awhile, spread and add substance to your garden. That's because perennials survive winter and drought, then re-bloom during growing seasons. Perennials may even attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
Pros of perennial flowers
- Low maintenance with a long lifespan.
- They will rebloom 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
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Curveball: The Biennial
Biennials are a bit like short-lived perennials. They grow and grow, but will not bloom until two years after being planted. They will only bloom once, then die.
Two years may seem like a long time to wait for one blooming cycle, but if you plan your garden accordingly, it's worth it. Think of it like waiting for a Scotch to age or making an investment.
Some examples of biennials include:
- Canterbury Bells
- Sweet William
And the Winner is ...
A little from column A, a little from column B, a little from column ... P.
Life is too short to take sides, especially when it comes to gardening. So why not mix and match? Plant annuals, perennials and biennials. You will have a beautiful garden all year round, and you'll also be able to customize a bit from season to season.