What Is The Difference Between Annuals & Perennials

What is the difference?

What is the difference between annual and perennial flowers?

Annual flowers grow for one season, then die with the onset of freezing weather. The above ground portion of perennial flowers die off in freezing weather, but the plant returns from the base and rootstock the following spring. Some annuals behave like perennials in southern climates however. Annuals are a great way to change the look of your garden from year to year.They also tend to have a longer flowering period than perennials. Perennials are also beautiful, and give you the most value for your money as they keep returning. As their flowering season is usually shorter, make sure to plant different varieties to keep color going through the season.

Which Annuals Should You Plant?

Popular annual flowers include petunias, marigolds, zinnias and impatiens. If you're looking for something a little more exotic than these traditional bedding plants, try spider flower (cleome), gazania, vinca and lisianthus.

Foliage Over Flowers

Some annuals are grown for their attractive foliage rather than flowers. Try coleus, Joseph's coat (Alternanthera) or dusty miller.

Try Annual Vegetables, Too

Add some edible interest to your annual garden with plants like ornamental peppers, flowering cabbage and okra.

Perennial Ideas

Perennials come in an endless array of colors, textures and sizes. Some of the most popular perennials include daylilies, hostas, and peonies. For a spikey show of blue, try blazing star. Or, for a delicate bouquet of yellow, try the coreopsis variety called 'Moonbeam.' For dramatic late-season color, try black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower.

Weighing Your Options

Happily, there's no need to pick one or the other for your garden. Annuals and perennials can be combined in your planting design to reap the best of both. Annuals are hard to beat in terms of showy, season-long color, while perennials will give you the most value for your money. Since the perennial flowering season is usually shorter, make sure to plant different varieties to keep color going through the season. Whichever you choose, you'll have vivid color in your future.