Perennials and annuals, these are words that a gardener, especially a newbie, often hear, see, and read. But what do they really mean?
Simply said, annual plants only live for a year and usually die in the winter. If you plant annuals in your garden, you will have to replant them every year. True annuals only have one growing season. Annuals produce a lot of flowers, more than perennials because they have only one growing season to bloom and produce seeds.
On the other hand, you need to plant perennials only once. They are sturdy and can survive throughout the winter. Furthermore, perennials plants usually survive for more than 2 years. They usually take a year to mature and fully establish. It is only when they are mature that their flowers start to bloom.
Examples of perennial plants that are popularly used in gardens are black-eyed Susan, day lilies, bleeding hearts, peonies, and hostas, to name a few. Some examples of annuals are zinnias, sunflowers, petunias, marigolds, and morning glory.
A discussion on annual and perennial plants is not complete without talking about biennials, though. These are plants that only live for two seasons. They are characterized by growing purely foliage or leaves on the first season. It is only in the second growing season that flowers are produced. After which, the biennial plant produces seeds and dies.
However, biennials reseed by themselves so you can expect new plants growing in the spring. Examples of biennials are forget-me-not, foxglove, hollyhock, and dianthus.