annual or perennial in the garden

If you are just starting a garden, or new to filling containers for flowers or shrubs, the choices can seem overwhelming. A walk through the garden center has rows and rows of colorful flowers being sprayed with the occasional watery mist from above.

The first step is to know if you want to choose an annual or a perennial. An annual will grow for one season until the first frost. There are some annuals that can be potted up to be brought inside for the winter but that’s for another post. We’re here all month!

An annual provides a continuous display of color. These are good for pots, borders and hanging pots. For hanging pots you want to look for something that has what is called a trailing habit. This means it will naturally grow to hang over the sides of a hanging basket.

Perennials bring a bigger commitment as they will return year after year. They have a bloom cycle so you want to check on each plant’s cycle for your needs. Are you placing the plant in a spot where you would like to see color in late spring or early fall?

Also check the plant’s height at how tall it is now and what the estimated height is. Are you placing the plant in a location where you want something that is low or a plant with tall sturdy stems?

One of the wonders of gardening is having  perennials like foxglove. An early summer star, foxglove produces graceful bell-shaped flowers in June in all sorts of eye-catching colors. As they go to seed for the season, they will blow around and re-seed themselves in and around your yard and garden.

It’s always a nice surprise in the spring to see where new foxglove plants have taken hold. We’ve dug them out of cracks in the sidewalk and moved them to a better place to flourish. And they always do.

Annuals can sometimes return unexpectedly too. We planted a chartreuse colored plant at the base of our potted blueberry bush that we picked up one spring. It was labelled as an annual but it has returned each spring for the last four years. Surprises like that are always nice.

See you tomorrow!

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