Warm weather brings about my favorite pastime and passion, Gardening! I could just spend hours upon hours in my yard. Creating a feast for not only my eyes but for all who past by. I delight in seeing the bugs either crawl about the warm earth or the bees that bounce from bloom to bloom.
Recently I was enjoying a June day on the deck of a friend, when she pointed out her recent purchase of two beautiful Poppy plants. Her intent was to plant them in a container on her deck. I mention that she should plant them in the ground when I told her that they were Perennials. This is when I realized the need to know the difference between annuals, perennials and biennials.
Annuals are not frost hardy, they also make the perfect choice for your containers that you place on your decks and patios. They tend to bloom continously during the warm season and provide you with lots of color. After years of living in the Salt Lake valley, I know the growing season there. Rule of thumb was to plant no earlier than Mother’s Day weekend. But since moving to the mountains of Park City, it’s a whole new game and one that I have much to learn.
Axious to plant my hanging baskets, especially since my growing season has been shortened. I knew that by planting annuals, I need to keep an eye on the weather conditions. There were many days when I gathered my containers together and covered with a sheet. It protected them and I didn’t lose a one! When it comes to annuals, if your night time temps hit in the 30’s you must take care and cover, or you run the risk of losing plants to frost. Just like the name Annuals, they only last for one season and don’t return the next year.
Perennials are much hardier and should be planted in the ground where the root ball is more protected. Perennials do come back year after year. With perennials, you should read the tags as some will bloom at different times of the growing season. Spring, all summer and early fall. Like Pansies, they love the cooler temps, so they are available during the spring and look great around your Tulips, as well as the Fall. You never see them for purchase during the summer months. If you plant them in the shade part of your yard, you could get them to last during the heat of the summer. Poppies bloom in the late Spring and Oriental Poppies will look like they died after their done blooming. Not so, don’t dig them up as they are just regrouping and will produce a green plant but not bloom again until next Spring.
Biennials, they tend to bloom every other year. Sometimes as they gather strenght and mature they could bloom more often, but if you are looking for color year after year, you may wish to stay clear of them. Foxgloves produce gorgeous blooms and are enchanting like garden fairies, but are one of those biennials. Best to buy biennials are plants instead of planting by seed.
Hope this help to explain the differences!