The difference between annuals and perennials is determined by the length of their life cycle. When planning your garden, it is important to consider this factor because both types have their own set of pros and cons.
The essential difference between annuals and perennials is that annuals are one-season plants, completing their life cycle with the first killing frost, whereas perennials live through multiple growing seasons. Examples of common annuals include impatiens, pansies and petunias, while some favorite perennials include butterfly bushes, daisies and hostas.
Annuals are labor-intensive and require more fertilizing, weeding, deheading and watering than perennials. Annuals are best used as colorful filler in established gardens and can be easily grown in containers and hanging planters. Soil preparation is more critical for perennials, and be sure to choose plants that are well-suited regarding sun/shade balance to the planting site.
Pros & Cons
Annuals are more expensive than perennials over time because they need to be replaced every year; however, with proper care, annuals provide season-long blooms. Perennials are better choices for gardeners who prefer lower-maintenance gardens because once planted, their care is minimal. Depending on climate, some annuals function as perennials in frost-free areas, and some perennials are classified as annuals in warmer areas because of longer growing seasons.
- Acme DYI: What's the Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants?
- Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Selecting, Buying, and Planting Annuals and Perennials
- Wildflowers in Bloom: Annual, Perennial, Biennial?
- Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Selecting Perennial Plants for the Garden
- Grow Astilbe From Seed
- When Do You Plant Lilac Bushes: In the Fall or Spring?
- Look After Geraniums
- Are Dahlias Annual or Perennials?
- Which Annual Plants Are Deer Resistant?
- What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
- Spring Flower Planting Guide
- Care for a Gerbera Daisy
- The Average Size of the Venus Fly Trap
- Care for Perennial Snapdragons
- Fertilize Shade Plants
- Plant Fertilizer Facts