Chances are your garden typically contains a vibrant mix of annuals and perennials. But how do you choose an appropriate place for each type of plant? Follow along as we dive into the individual needs of annuals and perennials.

We’ll keep it simple. But there are some primary differences that are important to understand.

And once you’ve got that down, helping both types of plants thrive is easy. So let’s get down to the basics. 

Annuals vs Perennials

All flowers don’t have the same lifespan. So what is the difference?

Annuals are meant to grow vibrantly and beautifully throughout the season. But once the first frost hits, the lifecycle for that plant is over. These plants live for one growing season and then they die. 

Perennials may have a shorter window for blooming during the season. However, they will bloom for many seasons, meaning a longer lifespan in the long run. 

Annuals allow for more variety in your garden. And they can bloom for a longer period within the season. However, perennials create more stability in your garden. So many gardeners will plant a combination of the two.

Planting annuals

There are a few basic tips that are vital for healthy annuals

First, pick a cloudy day for planting. This protects against sun scorching as they adjust to a new environment. If you must plant on a sunny day, make sure to create some type of artificially shading for their first day or two.

The root balls must be moist at the time of planting. You never want to remove the plants from the pots when they are dry. So water well before you remove them to plant. 

Gently squeeze the pot to remove the plant. Now dig a shallow hole, large enough for the root ball and place into the ground. 

You’ll want to water your plant a second time after planting as well. The soil should be soaked. Then place a thin layer of mulch to slow evaporation. 

Make sure not to skimp on hydration with these. Additionally, keep them in rich, well draining soil for optimum health. Choose options like clay, peat moss, or light clay. 

Finally, you want plant annuals in nutrient rich soil. But additional fertilizer is also important. Use a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer about once a week. 

Planting perennials

First, the prep work for these plants is heavy on soil conditions. When you plant annuals, the soil only needs to last a single season. With plants that bloom for many years, you want many organic, nutrient dense ingredients for long term plant health. 

Let’s look at the season. The best time to plant perennials is spring or fall. You plant in cooler temperatures for root health. It is easier for the plant to settle into its new space and grow roots before the sun becomes scorching and you offer the plant ideal growing conditions. 

If you miss this window, it is still possible to plant in the summer heat. However, this will involve some extra care, especially when it comes to watering. Make sure to water frequently. And follow these ten additional steps for perennials:

  1. Buy the plants – time to visit your local garden store!
  2. Add organic material to the soil – think old leaves, compost, or composted manure.
  3. Stage a test run – try your garden design before you go to plant to test your layout.
  4. Water, water, water – make sure to hydrate before placing in the ground.
  5. Prep your hole – dig a place for the plant and add some organic matter for health. 
  6. Break the base of the root ball – this will help your plant for new roots.
  7. Don’t bury your plant – you want your plant about as deep into the soil as it was in the pot.
  8. Add organic matter – fill the hole halfway, add water, and then fill the rest.
  9. Water some more – just like annuals, you want to soak the soil. 
  10. Mulch – cover with a two to three inch layer. 

Combining annuals and perennials

When you plant perennials, they will stay in position from season to season. So as you design, you need to think carefully. This design will define your garden for years to come. From there you can add annuals for a unique creative design.

Plant annuals with the entire season in mind. For instance, mix flowers that bloom in early spring (candytuft, catmint) with flowers that bloom late spring and early summer (peony, coneflower). That way your garden is lush through the season.

Annuals tend to be the pop of color in your garden. Perennials aren’t as vibrant, but are reliable from season to season. Pick annuals from a similar or complimentary color family, to have a colorful garden that is eye-catching. 

Here are some winning combination of flowers that grow well together

  1. Flowering herbs and perennials.
  2. Tropical plants like impatiens and coleus.
  3. Red roses with purplish-blue irises.
  4. Shrubs for the border of your garden with vibrant color flowers inside.
  5. Colorful vegetables to add pop with your annuals and perennials.
  6. A vibrant border with different colors of the same species plant. For instance, a mixture of flowering cabbages.
  7. Herbs to compliment annuals and perennials.
  8. Colorful vines to add color to areas like fences that are missing color.
  9. Groundcovers to help protect against weeds.
  10. Plants that do well in dry conditions to prepare for draught.

Stockslagers has a full selection of annuals and perennials

Create your own perfect garden design. Stockslagers can help. We have a full variety of plants and seeds to design your perfect garden. Get your creative juices flowing and plant a vibrant, beautiful garden that will be the foundation for colorful combinations for many years to come.

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