Choosing plants for a new garden can be overwhelming, though many gardeners know that they at least want to include shrubs and flowers in their yard. There are many different types of shrubs and flowers from which to choose. It helps to know a few basics before heading out to the nursery. Always check before purchasing a new plant that it's suitable for your gardening zone, and that's not invasive to your area.
Annuals are plants that only live for a year, dying off with the first hard frost. Annuals are commonly used for brightly colored flowerbeds, window boxes, or indoor containers. Popular nursery annuals include the colorful and low-growing pansy (Viola x Wittrockiana), the bushy and heat-tolerant moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora), and the cheery common sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
Perennials have a longer lifespan than annuals, typically living for three years of more. Perennials that have a lifespan of between one to three years are often referred to as "short-lived perennials" or as "biennials." Flowering perennial shrubs include the wildlife-attracting butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), the red-and-white flowered bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) and the hibiscus of the swamp, giant rose mallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus).
Evergreens don't lose their leaves, even during the bitter frosts of winter. Evergreens are commonly thought of as shrubs and trees, though there are also evergreen vines and grasses. Though often grown for their everlasting foliage, there are many flowering evergreen shrubs. Flowering evergreen perennial shrubs include the popular Christmas poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), the purple flowered princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) and the fragrant Cherokee rose (Rosa laevigata).