When it comes to adding color to your landscape, you will soon notice when shopping for flowers that they are described as annuals and perennials. So, what is the difference between annual plants and perennial plants? Much of the difference has to do with the length of their life cycle as is explained in more detail below.  

20130529_185806 Annual Plants are plants that last a year in their native climates.  Once these annual plants have completed their life cycle, they are removed and then replaced with new ones. So why in the world would you ever want to plant annuals since that would mean you to have to remove and replant them every year or season? The advantage that annuals have over perennials is that they tend to produce more flowers and have a much longer blooming period than perennials.


Because of mild winters in South Florida, a plant that may be considered an annual in northern climates may be considered a perennial here. Because of the higher temperatures here in summer, an annual you may have planted in the summer up north would be better suited to South Florida’s cooler winter weather.  

With that in mind our plants section breaks up the annuals into Summer Annuals and Winter Annuals. Because some annuals can be considered both winter and summer annuals and South Florida can be a little unpredictable when it comes to seasons, be sure to check the descriptions of each individual flower for specific planting dates, ideal planting locations and other useful information that can help you decide which annual plants are right for your landscape.

20140408_104750Perennial Plants are herbaceous plants that live for more than one year. Once established, perennial plants require less maintenance than annuals other than occasional pruning and fertilizing. A key difference between annuals and perennials is that perennials go through bloom cycles, which mean they will not give you consistent color year round, and generally flower less often during South Florida’s cooler weather.


So, annual or perennial, which one is right for you? The bottom line is that perennials require less work because you only need to plant them once. Annuals on the other hand have to be replanted every year but they tend to produce more flowers and bloom for longer periods of time than do perennials.  If you’re going for less maintenance, perennials are the way to go. If you’re going for more abundant blooms, annuals are the way to go. The best advice is that in order to achieve year round color, be sure to use a combination of perennials and annuals throughout your garden beds so there is always something beautifully in bloom.

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