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The Differences Between Annuals and Perennials

For the beginning gardener, putting the different pieces of the gardening puzzle together can be confusing. This blog will highlight the basic differences between annuals & perennials.

One thing both annuals and perennials have in common is that they both need to be planted in the right place – different annuals and perennials prefer sun or shady conditions.


  • are planted yearly, hence the name ‘annual’
  • die in the winter from exposure to cold
  • are prolific bloomers all season long
  • many require deadheading to continue blooming
  • work great in hanging baskets, planted containers, and flowerbeds with continual color


  • live through the winter as long as they have been planted in the correct horticultural zone, hence the name ‘perennial’ which actually means “lasting an indefinitely long time, recurring again and again” (Webster’s online dictionary)
  • have different life spans – perennials live anywhere from 3 years to over 70 years – and most land in the middle of the spectrum
  • generally have a season of bloom – either spring, summer, or fall
  • have a few players that bloom all season – the list is short:  Achillea, Campanula, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Geranium, Rudbeckia, Pervoskia, Shasta Daisy, Stella D’Oro Daylily
  • have some application for hanging baskets and containers, but their season of bloom must be taken into account
  • must be planted in the ground to over winter in our Edmonton area