Annuals vs. Perennials: What You Need to Know

Nov 19, 2020 | Landscape Supply, Uncategorized

Are you trying to decide what to plant in your Ohio yard, but the terms annuals and perennials have your head spinning? You’re not alone! From perennials like Black-Eyed Susans, Coral Bells, Daylilies, Roses, Daisies, and Peonies to annuals like geraniums, marigolds, sunflowers, and poppies, it is important to know what you are getting into when you plant flowers. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about annuals and perennials.

What are perennial plants?

Perennial plants are those that come back season after season without having to be replanted. Though the top portion of a perennial will die back in the winter, new growth will pop up in from the same root system that was safe and protected under the soil. In most cases, perennials can be expected to come back every year for between three and five years.

What are annual plants?

Annual plants are plants that flower and die all in one season. These plants do not come back year after year. You will plant them in your garden during spring and they will grow, bloom, seed, and die before winter.

Annuals vs. Perennials – Are there other differences?

While the regrowth status of annuals and perennials is the main difference, there are some other factors to consider. Perennial plants are typically seen as a low maintenance option for gardeners, since they come back year after year and do not need to be replanted. They are a great option for beginner gardeners. However, it is important to note that perennials typically have less flashy flowers, and they will bloom for just two to six weeks, which is much shorter than annuals.

Annuals, on the other hand, require more care and maintenance. You will need to purchase seedlings or seeds from your local landscape supply store every year and replant your plants or flowers. You might wonder why anyone would want to go through that hassle, but there are a few benefits to annuals. First, these flowers provide more rich, vibrant colors than perennials. In addition, they also bloom longer. Those with green thumbs also love the freedom annuals provide to change up the look of their garden every year. With perennials, once you plant something it is there to stay unless you dig it up, which can be difficult with fully grown root systems. Annuals, on the other hand, can be planted over the next spring.

Annuals vs. Perennials – What is best for your garden?

Now that you know a little bit more about annuals and perennials and the differences between them, you still might be wondering which option is best for your Ohio garden. Here are a few things to consider when making your choice: 

  • Skill Level: Are you an avid gardener or just getting started with your green thumb? For beginners, perennials are often a good place to start because they come back year after year and require less maintenance. If you are well-versed in all things plants, annuals might be the better way to go for you!
  • Budget: You will also need to consider your budget. Perennials come back year after year, so while your upfront cost might be slightly higher, you will not need to shell out for new plants or seeds year after year. On the other hand, annuals can often be cheaper, but you will need to buy new plants next year since they will not come back. Over the lifespan of the plants, perennials are more cost-effective, but it depends on how you view the expenses.
  • Appearance: If you are going for the wow factor, annuals are the way to go. Not only do annuals have more vibrant colors, but they also bloom longer so you—and any visitors—will be treated to stunning colors all season long.
  • Flexibility: Do you want the ability to change up your garden from year to year? If so, annuals are the way to go. Perennials will come back year after year, so the only way you can change them out is to dig them up by the roots. Alternatively, swapping out annuals in spring is easy because they die off during winter.
  • Maintenance: You will also need to consider your time. Annuals require more pruning, deadheading, and fertilizing. They will also need to be replanted every year, which can be time-consuming and costly. Perennials, however, can be planted once and they will come back for up to five growing seasons. That makes them easy to manage and doesn’t take up too much of your time.

Tips for Planting – Annuals vs. Perennials

Now that you’ve decided which type of flowers to plant at your house, it’s important to read up on how to best plant them. One of the most important things to do is give your plants some help getting established. Water them deeply after planting and continue to water them regularly, especially during dry spells. You can also feed them a slow-release general-purpose fertilizer that will give them all the nutrients they need to grow and flourish.

It is also important to pick the right spot when planting. You should read the label of whatever plant you purchase to determine whether your plant needs full sun (6-8 hours of sun per day), part shade (3-6 hours of sun per day) or full shade (3-4 hours of sun per day).

At the end of the season, you should also do some maintenance. Clean up your leaves to ensure diseases and pests don’t affect your plants over winter. Some perennials spread, so you may also want to divide them up every three to five years to stop their spread.

When it’s time for spring landscaping, visit Kurtz Bros., to get started with your next planting project!

When it comes to gear up for planting season, Kurtz Bros., has you covered! From soils and mulch to fertilizer and gardening tools, we have everything you need to make planting your annuals and perennials a success.


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Expertly Reviewed By:
Matt Malone, Vice President Operations
Matt Malone
Matt is an accomplished business professional with over three decades of experience in the green industry. As a graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelors of Business Administration, he has put his extensive education and training to work in his nearly 15 years with Kurtz Bros., where he currently serves as Vice President of Operations.

Learn More About Matt

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