What’s the Difference Between Annual and Perennial Flowers?


From L-R, Clockwise: alstroemeria, black-eyed susan, camellia, carnation, gardenia, gerbera daisy, geranium, iris, rose, sunflower, tulip and zinnia

Now that is spring, you will want to choose plants for your garden. If you walk into a garden center or nursery, you will noticed two different types of plants: annuals and perennials.  But what do these terms means?


An annual is plant that completes its  life cycle in one growing season. In other words, annuals have to be re-planted each year.

Annuals give gardeners the freedom and the creativity to change up the look and design of the garden each year. With their limited life  span, annuals make the most out of their time,  growing quickly and blooming profusely. Annuals tend to be more showy than perennials, producing more flowers per plant than the average perennial.

They are perfect for creating a carpet of colour and covering up bare spots in the garden. Annuals are versatile plants that do well both in a garden bed and in containers.

At the garden centre, the annuals starter plants are sold by the tray, called flats, and are generally less expensive than perennials.

Examples of annuals: geranium, petunia,  impatiens, begonia, marigold, nasturtium, snapdragon, sweet pea, sunflower zinnia


A perennial is a plant that can live over two years. Perennials, especially smaller flowering plants will bloom over the spring and summer and then die back every autumn and winter, returning in the following spring. In colder climates, some perennials are often treated as annuals.

Perennials are perfect for gardeners that want don’t want to replant each year and still be rewarded with beautiful flowers in the garden. Generally, perennial flowers start off small and sparse in the first year, and with each growing season, the blooms will be bigger and more abundant.

For beginner gardeners, perennials would be the best choice, as they are easier to grow and take less effort. They are hardy plants and some of them can survive harsh temperatures and conditions. Plus, there are thousands of different plants to choose from to suit your gardening needs!

Perennials are sold individually and are a bit more expensive than annuals, as these plants have a longer life expectancy.

Examples of perennials: daffodil, daylily, black-eyed susan, peony, iris, delphinium, hollyhock

Still can’t decide between the two? Many gardeners fill their landscape primarily with perennials and add annuals sparingly, to add colour and interest to the garden. Annuals can also be purchased in planters for display on decks, patios, and porches.

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About Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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6 Responses to What’s the Difference Between Annual and Perennial Flowers?

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