Annuals, Biennials and Ephemerals.Uncategorized
Iris Flowers are Perennial plants. These may be either rhizomes or bulbs,
showing up with all the other annuals in spring, but they are actually
perennial plants growing for a few years to many years. Any plants with
underground storage storage systems such as bulbs are perennials. Scroll
down for a List of Perennial Flowers which are easy to grow, and don’t
forget to check out the List of Perennial Flowers from A to Z.
There are four groups of Perennial plants: Herbaceous, Woody, Deciduous and
Evergreen. Scroll down to see them. On this page the main types are the
Annuals, Biennials and Ephemerals.
The other types of flowering plants besides the perennials are the
annuals, the biennials, and the ephemerals.
The annuals complete their cycle from seed to flower in just one season.
Then the whole plant dies leaving only the seeds behind in the soil (or on
the plant itself) to grow new plants or to be gathered by eager gardeners.
Biennials such as Foxgloves and Hollyhocks (we just call them annuals) and
even onions complete their whole cycle in two years. They produce their
roots, stems and leaves in the first year, then in the second year they
produce their flowers. Then they die completely. They are very easily
confused with perennials because ‘bi’ means two, but these flowers don’t
continue to flower past their allotted two years.
Other Biennial plants are Queen Anne’s Lace (which is actually a wild
carrot), Canterbury Bells, Sweet William, some kinds of Evening Primroses,
and Lunaria. The Forget Me Not Flower has to be one of the most outstanding
little garden gems. It comes in Biennial, Perennial and even Annual forms
Lunaria annua detail
The sweet Lunaria or Honesty is a Biennial.
So we must keep re-planting the annuals or rely on their seeds to spring up
annually. Fortunately, most of them keep self seeding so we can treat them
as perennials and enjoy them each year. I know for certain that Forget Me
Nots always come up each year without any help at all.
In the first season, the Biennals produce their roots, stems and leaves and
in the second season they produce their flowers and seeds. Then they, too,
die back. So, as with the annuals, we need start all over again. But then
you can hope that they self-seed in the right place or you can move the
seedlings around and put them where you want them.
Plants with underground food storage can survive without problems through
the harshest winter, making them true perennials. Find out about the
different types of bulbs and others on the Spring Bulbs page.
The Ephemerals are short-lived plants which take advantage of the right
conditions eg. enough rainfall or sunlight, to bloom with a vengeance
because they don’t know when their next chance will come again. Desert
plants and wildflowers are good examples, although others are scattered all
over the world in many locations.
The Perennial Flowers. They Just Keep Coming Back.
Peonies, like the ‘Hesperus’, produce gorgeous rose-like blooms and are
perennials. Although they look like roses, and are often called peony
roses, they are not roses. They belong to the Paeoniaceae family.
Perennials really are the mainstay of any garden and may take a bit more
planning as to where you want to show them off because they’re virtually
here to stay. They offer season after season of beautiful blooms, even if,
to them, the blooms are simply there for one reason – to attract
pollinators and so complete their need to reproduce. A word of caution:
exercise a bit of restraint here! These plants don’t just go away so that
we get a whole new lot next season like the annuals. Perennial plants are
here to stay.
Perennials will need to be carefully selected or you could end up with
‘beginner’s bad luck’ – at the most you’ll have a stuffed garden and at
worst you’ll be broke. This comes from me after several experiments. It’s
best to start with just a few and fill up the spaces with annuals, rather
than spending quite a lot of money on ‘the ones you just have to have’ –
especially if you’ve been looking through catalogues all winter.
The beautiful blue and white Agapanthus is a perennial which looks
beautiful in just about any kind of garden. It comes in three sizes and is
a good choice for spring through to autumn blooms. And the delicate Iris
Flowers also add beauty to any perennial garden.
The reliable and hardy Evolvulus.
What you need are Perennial plants which are fairly tough, don’t require a
lot of water, only need average soil, and can tolerate a bit of ‘ignorance’
ie. neglect, on the part of us, the gardeners, whose job it is to keep our
plants happy. If you want perennials for your rock garden or for a hot
spot or even a hanging basket, and which will also give you lots and lots
of flowers every year with little maintenance, you might like to try
Portulacas. Often called Moss Roses, they are definitely not a rose. And
And speaking of Portulacas, if you can get hold of the plant in the picture
above – the Evolvulus – it makes an excellent perennial plant which flowers
for most of the year. I grew these two together – Portulacas creeping out
from in between the dense mats of Evolvulus in a border rock garden in
thick clay soil in SE Qld. Neither minded the tough conditions and survived
many years together with very little care. Ground cover you can count on.