Do you know the difference between annuals and perennials? What about a biennial? Annual plants have a life cycle of just one year. They grow and bloom, shed seeds, and die. Therefore, they need to be replanted each year. However, they do bloom for a lengthy period of time from spring through the fall. Their blooms contain a plethora of brilliant colors which gardeners enjoy. Some specific plants that are annuals include petunias, marigolds, zinnias, phlox, and watermelons. Although annuals are less expensive than perennials, they do require more work and attention.

On the other hand, perennials are plants whose tops die after they bloom, but their root system allows them to come back in the spring. They can be divided into two types: deciduous plants that grow part of the year and remain dormant for the remainder, and evergreens, such as Pine trees, that grow the entire year round. The blooms of perennials live for a short time, only one to three weeks, each season. However their advantage is that they do not have to be replanted each year. Perennials do best when planted in the fall around mid-November at least 6 weeks before the first freeze or in the spring. Examples of perennials are asters, black-eyed Susans, and strawberries. Perennials are used in flowering gift baskets and can be replanted. Some blooming plants that display their beauty in pots are hydrangeas, hyacinths, lilies, and tulips. It is interesting to note roses are also perennials that will come back year after year, if they receive the proper care.

Biennial plants take two years to complete their biological life cycle. They grow foliage, form flowers and drop their seeds, and then the mother plant dies. During the first year, they grow stems and roots, and remain dormant throughout the colder months, but during their second year, they reach full maturity. Some examples of biennial plants are onions, leeks, cabbage, carrots, parsley, fennel, and Sweet Williams. Two well-known flowers that are biennials are Canterbury bells, and foxgloves.

If you are interested in gardening with blooming plants, try a mixture of annuals, perennials, and biennials. In this way, your garden is blooming the entire season, and can be enjoyed for months on end. For just a small amount of time, money, and effort, you will be rewarded with a mixture of blossoms bursting with color and fragrance. Have fun and enjoy!!!!


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