Ideas & Inspiration

Know the Difference Between Annuals vs. Perennials

Know the Difference Between Annuals and Perennials
Colorful flower bed with annuals and perennials

If you’re new to flower gardening, you’ll need to know the difference between annuals and perennials. Planting both gives your garden color throughout the season.

It also lets you try out new and different flower varieties that can give your garden a unique look each season.

Once you know the difference between annuals and perennials, you’ll be prepared for what to expect of your flowers, and how to choose what’s right for you and your garden before digging in the dirt. 

That way, you can enjoy your garden to its fullest potential.

Learn About Annuals
A container with annuals

An annual is a plant that produces colorful blooms all season long until frost sets in. They must be replanted every year. Sometimes plants that are technically perennials in warm climates are treated as annuals in colder climates. Some annuals, such as pansies, grow best in the cooler seasons of spring and fall.

Because annuals are like fashion, and last for just a season, you can change them out as often as you wish to bring a new look to your outdoor space. For this reason, annuals work well in containers, at the edge of a border or in a mailbox garden.

Top 5 Annuals:

  • Petunias
  • Impatiens
  • Pansies
  • Vinca
  • Marigolds

More other easy annual varieties gardeners love to grow include nasturtiums, lobelias, caladiums and zinnias.

Learn About Perennials
A colorful perennial flower border in a front yard

You plant perennials once and you’re done, because perennials return year after year. On the other hand, perennials may cost a bit extra, but they offer a great return on investment. 

When you plant perennials, your garden blooms through the season, but tends to need less maintenance, once established.

Top 5 Perennials:

  • Coneflowers
  • Daylilies
  • Daisies
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Coreopsis (Tickseed)

To care for your perennials, add mulch to insulate, hold moisture and protect and to prevent weeds. Be sure to water perennials in the early morning hours when the soil is dry, especially during drought or extreme heat. Container flower gardens will require regular watering.

When you know the difference between annuals and perennials, you can plan a garden that will give you blooms at least three seasons of the year.