A Guide to Perennial and Annual Flowers

Before poking around in the backyard, gardeners need to know how long a plant will last around the garden. Savvy gardeners understand plant life cycle basics. They can identify a plant as an annual, perennial, or biennial. Even savvier gardeners can characterize winter annuals from tender perennials. They can differentiate between long - and short-lived perennials. A plant's life cycle goes from the time of germination until its eventual death. Some plants complete their life cycle in a matter of weeks, while others can take years before they die. Knowing these essential basics will equip gardeners with the know-how to select, plant, and maintain their gardens.

Perennial Flowers

Perennial flowers, non-woody plants that live for three or more years, add a vibrant color to any garden. Some perennials have a life cycle of three to four years, while others complete it after many years. As with other flowering plants, perennials die over the winter and regrow when spring weather arrives. Perennials differ from annuals in that gardeners do not have to replant them every year. In addition, perennials require little fertilizer to flourish. Many gardeners plant perennials for their interesting form and foliage. If planted correctly, they can create a beautiful landscape mixed well with rocks, fences, borders, and other features. They also blend well with other flowers.

Annual Flowers

Annual flowers complete their life cycle in one season. Gardeners plant seeds during the spring or early summer. Annual flowers blossom and grow through the summer months before dying in the fall. Unlike perennials, annuals do not regrow the following season. Many gardeners choose to plant annual flowers because they are relatively inexpensive. They are also easy to grow if planted correctly at the right site. Annuals also provide leeway for experimentation, since they last for only a single season. Annuals compliment perennials well, making them great to fill in empty spaces. Gardeners can literally choose from hundreds of species of annuals. Each of these species differ in their color, size, resistance, and other characteristics.

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