Annuals Vs. Perennials – Which Should You Grow?

By John Ehrling Posted on 10/5/2018

Everyone gardens differently – everyone has their own preferences, their own guidelines and rules of thumb, and their own visions. And then, there is always the constant question, “should I grow annuals or perennials?” This question is then commonly followed by, “what is the difference!?” While the difference between the two is fairly clear and apparent, the choice between which ones to grow takes a bit more contemplation.

For instance, when deciding between annuals or perennials (or both!), there are several factors that should be taken into account, with the most important factor being your level of commitment to ensuring your plants are healthy, bright, and lively. While annuals can be cycled out with every growing season, they do allow for a bit of experimentation. Perennials, on the other hand, will grow back on their own for two or three growing seasons, forcing you to make a larger commitment to maintaining their health. While planting perennials in your garden can be a bit more labor-intensive, they can help to serve as the foundation from which you can use annuals to experiment with and try out new varieties of color within your garden.


What are Annuals?

Annuals are the types of seeds/flowers that can be planted yearly, however they will only survive one growing season. Once annuals are planted, they will grow, sprout, flower, and then die. There is always the possibility that seeds could spread and then re-sprout the following season, but they will almost never be in the same location. Some popular annuals include zinnias, marigolds, impatiens, and other bright, colorful flowers.

While they typically only survive one growing season, they serve as a flexible option if you’re looking to change things up from year to year. With annuals, you can always experiment with different color patterns, planting patterns, and landscape layouts from year to year, without having to worry about last year’s plants invading your new design. In addition, they can often be used to supplement a collection of perennials.


What About Perennials? Should I Plant Them Too?

Certainly! While annuals are easy to care for with regular watering and sunlight, perennials do require a bit more care. Perennial plants typically last two to three growing seasons and can be planted as bulbs or seeds. They typically grow back in the exact same spot every year, and can help to maintain a healthy, flourishing garden as they bloom for short periods of time throughout the year.

Many gardeners see perennial plants as the very foundation of their garden, acting as the anchor that holds the garden in place throughout the year, while supplemental annuals maintain their vibrant colors throughout the spring time.

Some popular perennials include roses, daylilies, and peonies. Each of these perennials bloom at different times throughout the year and can help your garden maintain its health and character all year round!

So, What Should I Plant – Annuals Or Perennials?

The answer to that question will come right from you! Many gardeners recommend planting a mix of both annuals and perennials, but both have their benefits. If you’re looking to constantly change up your color scheme or garden design layout from year to year, annuals are the way to go. If you want to maintain some consistency from year to year, try a mix! Whichever way you go, there is never a bad decision!