What is the Difference Between Annual and Perennial Flowers?

Annual flowers grow for one long season, often into the fall, then die with the onset of freezing weather. With perennials, the above-ground portion of the plant dies back in freezing weather, but re-grows from the base and rootstock the following spring to bloom again. Annuals are a great way to change the look of your garden from year to year, and they tend to have a longer flowering period than perennials.

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. Whichever type of annual you choose, you'll have the best chance of success when you start with premium quality flowers from the Miracle-Gro® Brilliant Blooms collection*. With over 60 varieties of annuals—literally, from A to Z (angelonias to zinnias)!—we've got just the right flowers to complement your style. Plant them in container or landscape beds, or just grab a ready-to-go hanging basket.

Foliage Over Flowers

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

Try Perennials, Too

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, your flowers will grow best and give produce the most glorious blooms when planted in premium soil and given regular helpings of just the right plant food. Start by mixing a few inches of Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil in with the existing dirt to improve the soil environment for vigorous root growth. This soil also contains continuous-release plant food to get plants off to a strong start. About a month after planting, boost the amount of nutrition your flowers are getting by starting to fertilize regularly with Miracle-Gro® Shake 'n Feed® Rose & Bloom Plant Food. With natural ingredients like kelp, earthworm castings, and bone meal, it feeds above and below the soil for strong plants and vibrant blooms.


Whether your fill your garden with annuals, perennials, or a gorgeous mix, you'll have vivid color in your future!


*available exclusively at Lowe's