Annuals and perennials both have advantages and disadvantages. Follow this guide to see where they fit best in your landscape.
What are Annual Plants?
Simply put, an annual is a plant that lasts for one season. Annuals do not overwinter. They will die when the cold weather comes and they will not come back the next season.
Annual Plant Pros
*Instant Gratification- When you purchase an annual it is most likely already in bloom. All you have to do is plant your annual and you have instant color. If you’re looking to add instant color to your patio, deck, hanging baskets or landscape, annuals are a quick way to do it.
*Long Bloom Periods- Annuals tend to bloom for a long time. Often times they will bloom throughout late spring all the way to early fall. This guarantees you season long color in that location you planted it.
Annual Plant Cons
*High Maintenance– Annuals require a lot of maintenance, especially watering. Since these are small plants that are temporary, they never get a solid root system. This causes them to dry out very quickly.
If the plant begins to dry out the flowers are going to suffer and your annual plant will lose a lot of its appeal. A couple of missed waterings during a stretch of hot weather can cause your annuals to die.
*New Annuals Needed Every Year- Since annuals die at the end of every season you will have to be prepared to purchase, plant, and keep plants healthy every year. This means investing money, and time, every year.
What are Perennial Plants
Perennials are plants that live for more then two years. Usually, they die back in the fall and winter, and regrow from the ground in spring. However, there are some evergreen perennials that retain there foliage throughout the winter depending on you location.
Perennial Plant Pros
*They Come Back- A major benefit of planting perennials is you don’t have to replant every year. Instead plants will emerge from the ground where they were last year.
*Less Maintenance- Perennials require less maintenance, especially watering, since their root systems are established. They can tolerate longer periods of dry weather and overall tolerate more stress.
*Larger Size- Since perennials usually live for several years they have time to get bigger.
*Overall Stronger- A plant that is more established is going to do a better job fighting off mother natures ugly side. Periods of drought or wet, heat, cold, and disease are all more likely to be fought off from a more established plant.
Perennial Plant Cons
*Shorter Bloom Period- Most perennials don’t bloom for as long as annuals do. Perennial blooms generally last for 2-6 weeks.
If you’re looking for season long color in your perennial gardens you will have to strategically plant different perennials next to each other that have different bloom periods.
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