Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants

March 29, 2022

As the April showers come our way to bring May flowers, many are getting the itch to spruce up their outdoor spaces and curbside appeal. Landscaping, depending what flowering plants, shrubs, or trees, they are not always maintenance-free. In fact, some take a lot more work than others. If you want to start beefing up the beautiful blooms around your home, then it is a good idea to know the difference between annual and perennial plants. That way you make a fiscally wise choice based on realistically knowing what it will require to make them flourish.

 What’s an Annual Plant?

An annual plant is just what the name entails,  it has a life cycle of one year, which means that they are not only seasonal, they are meant to last just one calendar year. Typically, they are viable from early spring until the fall, depending on the species and the region. Annuals require that you put seeds in the ground in early spring and the seeds sprout to produce flowers usually in early summer lasting until the fall. During the end of the growing season, the life cycle is complete and the seed will not lay dormant; it has done its job.

What is a Perennial Plant?

A perennial differs from an annual because its life cycle is more than just one year or one season. Perennials are also grown from seed, but they typically do not flower well the first year you plant them. The perennial makes up for the wait by providing blooming flowers for years without having to be replanted. Perennials typically have a shorter blooming time than annuals as well. This means that they will pop up and fade much more quickly than the average annual. A Biennial is a variation of a perennial because it requires a minimum of two seasons for it to complete just one life cycle. In the first year, the seeds produce roots and green foliage, and it isn’t until the second year of the life cycle that you see blooming and flowering.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are times when a perennial might not make it more than one season, but often, an offspring will replace it. So you might not even notice. Also, some annual plans will self-seed, which means that they will reappear year after year. It is possible for some annuals to be mistaken for perennials when that happens.

Which One is the Better Investment?

When I am asked which is a better investment, my answer is that it is a personal choice. Most garden centers sell perennials in pots individually, while annuals come in a six-pack or more. The cost of perennials also tends to be more, because they are longer-lasting and require less maintenance overall. So it depends on your overall goal and objective. If you want long-lasting blooming that goes throughout the seasons, then for just a year, annual plants are your choice. Perennials have a shorter life span for blooming, but they come back again and again, meaning that they require a lot less hassle.

Therefore, I recommend that you combine the two for the prettiest display. The annuals you plant will continue to bloom, while the perennials are better to strategically place because even if they are not blooming all year round, their foliage remains. That makes them more suitable for overall landscaping throughout the year, and a great way to hide things like your HVAC equipment and foundation.

Budgets can vary greatly when it comes to having a landscape plan and design, and no two homeowners desire the same thing. Before you spend money trying to do it yourself, make sure that you have an actionable plan that works all year. So that your time and resources are used for maximum effect. At Rollins Landscaping, our focus is finding the right solutions to make your outdoor spaces appear just as you want them to. Contact us today to discuss your next project and let’s get blooming!


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