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The Difference Between Annuals, Biannuals, and Perennials

Are you thinking about some new flowers for your backyard? You may envision a gathering of bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers in one area or a bed full of blooms with delicate white petals in another. When you’re deciding on what types you want to grow, it’s a good idea to consider a flower’s life cycle. If you wander through a farmers’ market, you’ll find that there are annuals, biennials and perennials. But which is best? The answer is that each type has its own merits. The main difference between these three types of plants is their life cycle. Considering a plant’s life cycle can help you fulfill your vision for the look of your backyard.


Annuals are plants that are around for just one season. Having said that, there are different subgroups of annuals. For instance, some annuals can tolerate cold weather better than others. Annuals are great for filling in empty spaces around the border of your home. Some examples of colorful annuals include marigolds, pansies, petunias, sunflowers, and zinnias. Orange, yellow, and red marigolds are especially beautiful if you want a blast of color in your backyard. If you have an issue with deer and rabbits showing up in your backyard, I suggest planting some fragrant marigolds. These animals don’t like the pungent fragrance of these flowers, and it may be enough to keep them away from your vegetable garden or other tasty flowers.


Biennials last for two growing seasons. If you want flowers that are slow to bloom, then biennials are an option for you. During the first growing season, these flowers establish their roots and foliage. The second year is when these flowers show off their colors and really add vibrancy to your backyard. Some popular biennials to consider include Canterbury bells, forget-me-nots, foxglove, and hollyhock. Because they use that first season to establish themselves, biennials are not a good choice for a flower bed that is the focus of your backyard, as they won’t bloom until the following year. For that flower bed, it’s best to stay with flowers that bloom right away so you can enjoy them.


Perennials are a popular choice because they return every year and can sometimes flourish for several years. This is why you see them around apartment buildings, businesses, and townhouses. They are planted once and come back every year, saving property managers time and effort. Evergreens are one example of a perennial plant to consider for the landscape of your backyard. Evergreens change only subtly throughout the year. If you’re looking for flowers, there are many beautiful perennials that would be a pleasure to admire every spring. Some suggestions for perennials that would look good in a garden include coreopsis, irises, poppies, salvia, and Shasta daisies.

I hope this information helps you to choose the right flowers for your yard. You may even decide to get a combination of annuals, biennials, and perennials to give your yard more character and color. Thanks for reading. – Alan

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