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The Difference Between Annual, Biennial and Perennial Plants

Know the difference between flower types to achieve your gardening goals.

Annual flowers complete their lifecycle from seed to death in one growing season. Some plants grown as annuals in cold climates are actually perennials in milder locations. 

Tender annuals like impatiens and coleus are sensitive to frost. Half-hardy annuals like ageratum and lobelia can tolerate cool air and soil, but can be damaged by frost. Hardy annuals like alyssum and pansies tolerate cold soil, cold air and frost. Adjust planting times based on this.

Biennials like hollyhocks and foxglove just form leaves the first year. The second year the plant forms more leaves, flowers, sets seeds and dies. Many reseed, making them appear as perennials.

True perennials hardy to your location live for multiple years in the garden.

A bit more information: Some growers and gardeners start biennials indoors early. The early start encourages biennial plants to bloom and die the first year in the garden.

Upcoming Webinars & Appearances


Oct. 14-16
NARI Milwaukee
Home & Remodeling Show

Oct. 26

Webinar: Year-round Perennial
Garden Maintenance


Nov. 2
Webinar: Boosting the Beauty of
and Propagating Houseplants


June 3 – 11, 2023
“Castles & Gardens” Adventure in Ireland with Melinda Myers
Includes the Bloom Festival in Dublin!

CLICK HERE for more information on Melinda's 2022 Wisconsin State Fair presentations on
Affordable Food Gardening 

CLICK HERE for pollinator gardening webinars, videos & DIY projects

Watch Melinda's past webinars ON DEMAND

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