Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle from seed to flower within one growing season. Perennials will commonly bloom more than once and return for consecutive growing seasons. Biennials are plants that take at least two growing seasons to develop, flower and then die. Most shrubs and trees are perennials in terms of completing a flowering cycle and continue growing throughout additional seasons.
Ideal soil conditions include minimal compaction and additional amended soils containing fertilizer. Annual planting beds should be planted by mid-Spring and removed by late summer. The next group of plantings should be hardy annuals blooming from late winter to mid-spring. Perennials and biennials may be grown with annuals, creating waves of color throughout the year.
Planting your annual, perennial, and biennial gardens can create lasting color throughout the seasons in your landscape. Minimal maintenance routines will extend the bloom time of your landscape.
Perennials and annuals can be placed in colorful flower beds, formal walkways, or grouped for massing. Everything depends on the final design complimenting your current landscape. Creating a plan for your annual and perennial beds will greatly enhance the overall cohesiveness of your landscape. Annual beds may require more maintenance due to their short life-span, but you can mix areas with annuals and hardy perennials, complimenting your landscape throughout the year.
Basic care for annuals, perennials, and biennials:
1. Watering: New plantings will need appropriate water consumption monitoring. They should be soaked to a minimum of one inch in soil depth. Once the plants are established, watering requirements are minimal. Try not to water your gardens too frequently, as this may encourage shallow root growth.
2. Mulching: Using mulch will protect new plants from extreme temperatures and retain much of the moisture applied during watering. Be sure to choose from pine straw, bark nuggets, finely ground bark, and shredded leaves. Choosing the right mulch for your plants will also help seal in nutrients needed for successful growth. Check your soil pH and plant needs before purchasing any new mulch.
3. Fertilizing: A slow release nitrogen fertilizer will benefit new growth for younger plants and should be applied annually to established beds.
4. Grooming: Deadheading is the most important maintenance routine for annuals and perennials. By removing spent blooms, you will encourage recurring bloom growth. Plants should also be pruned according to growth habits to increase new foliage growth.