Aside from being different species, all flowers are basically the same, right? Wrong! Certain flowers live longer, and spring out of the ground at different frequency, than others.

There are really only two main classifications of flowers you need to know: annuals and perennials. Here, we explain the difference between the two.

Annual vs perennial with woman gardening

Annual vs. perennial

Simply put, annual flowers and plants are those that only thrive for a single season. Whether you grew them from a seed in your garden or purchased them from your local florist, annuals only go through the life cycle once before they die. With these types of flowers and plants, it is also important to note that this cycle all happens within the same year hence the term “annual.”

Perennials, on the other hand, live for more than one season. They actually consist of those flowers and plants that live for three or more seasons think of those bulbs you plant once in the fall and watch them come back spring after spring.

Why plant annual flowers?

If you want a garden that’s bright and colorful, then annual flowers are the way to go. One benefit of annuals is that they are usually cheaper than their perennial counterparts. Also, you don’t need to commit to caring for them for too long since they only require one season’s worth of work.

Why plant perennial flowers?

The biggest benefit of perennials is that they stick around year after year. Although they may be more costly at the time of purchase, you don’t have to buy more of them every season since they will bloom again the following year. Perennials also don’t require much work at the beginning of each season, since you don’t have to worry about re-planting. Instead, with perennials, you will spend more time on maintenance, such as watering and fertilizing.

annual vs perennial with bouquet of sunflowers

Types of annuals

Here are a few kinds of popular annuals to choose from:

  • Petunias
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Morning glories
  • Larkspurs

When planting annuals, make note of where you plant them. Although they are known for only completing the life cycle once, some are self seeding, meaning you could experience new growth elsewhere in your garden the following year without having to plant again.

Types of perennials

If you’re considering perennials for your home, look into the following:

annual vs perennial with orange chrysanthemums

Keep in mind that perennials have a shorter blooming period than annuals, so you’ll have to be strategic about where you plant them and what you plant them with so that your garden doesn’t ever look bare.

In the end, there is no right answer in the eternal debate of “annual vs. perennial.” Both are great options for any garden — you just have to decide which blooms you want to dedicate your time and money to.

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