When I first got serious about gardening several years ago, the terms annuals and perennials were seen and heard a lot. I was pretty confused at first, and some days I still have to think about which is which. What is the difference between annuals and perennials anyway?
If you have been gardening for a year or more, you will start to notice that some plants last longer than others. I used to think this was because I unintentionally was killing some plants, but found out later it was because some plants die off after blooming for a season.
Some plants only last one season, while others can be enjoyed for many years with the right love and care. So, what is the difference between annuals and perennials? Let’s take a closer look…
What is an Annual?
An annual, as its name entails, lasts only one growing season. I use to think I was doing something wrong when I bought certain plants that would die soon after they flowered. They were probably annuals and I just didn’t know it!
Annuals are usually very colorful and stand out among other plants. They are also generally less expensive and don’t need as much care as other plants.
Annuals are great plants to use in pots or in borders to add some color to a specific spot in your garden. I’ll get into more details about types of annuals below.
What is a Perennial?
Perennials can last a few years or longer, depending on the type of care they get, location, and how well they do in your area. Perennials can start off as seeds or bulbs. You can even buy perennials as young plants if you prefer to start with something small.
Perennials usually don’t bloom as long as annuals. Many gardeners mix perennials with annuals, so that there are plants constantly blooming in their garden throughout the year. Plant perennials in the main part of your garden to enjoy for many years.
Below are some popular perennials you can experiment with, along with some annuals. Mix and match them for a garden that will bloom all year long!
Below are some popular annuals that grow well in containers here in Southern California. Many of these grow in other parts as well. If you are not sure, check with your local garden center to see what annuals grow in your area.
Here are some popular perennials you can enjoy growing in your garden!
There is also a third group of plants called biennials. These plants will grow for two seasons, but you have to wait for the blooms to appear during the second season. Colorful poppies are one great example of biennial flowers.
Designing a Garden with Both
With the right planning, you can enjoy blooms all year long in your garden. Mix up your outdoor space with annuals and perennials in your garden to enjoy flowers and other plants throughout the entire year.
Plant some festive annuals in pots in front of your perennials that match the season you are in. For example. grow mums with other fall plants or alone in containers on your front porch as part of your fall decor.
Annuals and Perennials
Can you easily spot the difference between annuals and perennials? Do you have a mixture of both in your garden? Let me know in the comments section below!