Annuals, Biennials, Or Perennials: What’s The Difference?

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When you are planting your vegetable, herb, or flower garden don’t forget to look at what kind of plants you are getting. They will be annuals, perennials, or biennials. You need to know the difference so you know where you want to plant them.

Annuals are a one time only. You need to replant them every year. Most of these you plant the plants or sow the seeds every year. One exception that I know of is the amarylis. It is a bulb, but does need to be dug up at the end of every growing season.

When talking about herbs, they may be called annuals, but they could act like perennials. If they flower and go to seed, they will reseed themselves. So while they are new plants every year like an annual, they can come up in the same spot like a perennial will. I have basil that does this. As does my cilantro and dill.

Asparagus is an annual that reseeds itself, so it could also be thought of as an perennial.

Biennials mean that they will fruit or flower every other year. They don’t need to be dug up. The plants will green up every year, just will not produce much, if at all.

Perennials come back year after year. Flowers, such as rose, tulips, and irises are perennials. Flowers that are perennial usually are bulbs and need to be dug up every 4 or 5 years. Divide the bulbs and replant. The bulbs just seem to multipy.

Herbs that are considered perennial are sage, thyme, and rosemary. They grow up from the roots every year.

Some vegetables that are perennials are rhubarb and you will need to divide the roots when the stalks start to get spindly.

Knowing what kind of plants you have and how long they will last will make planning your landscape easier.


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