basic flower gardening for newbies: annuals

Flower gardening can be confusing when you first jump in. There are words like: annuals, perennials & biennials. It’s like a secret code “The Gardener’s” have. We’re going to quickly cut through exactly what these terms are in a simple, easy to understand, way.
It’s really all about the sex, the true birds and bees. Yes, like everything else sex is about world domination. World domination? All species try to find ways to continue their species and take out the competition. Plants are no different. Annuals, biennials and perennials have found optimal methods to compete and dominate their space. Learning these methods is how smart gardeners make gardening easier.



Annuals are plants that grow only for a year. Yep, that’s it one little year. That means they need to make as many seeds as they can because their life is so short. They are trying to dominate with sheer numbers by getting as many plants on any bare soil they can find.

The advantage of this, for a gardener, is you can cut these flowers and bring them in your house. The plant will make more because it is only going to live a year and it knows it needs to make more blooms before it can develop seeds. Once it has a bloom the bees will come and help pollinate the flower so the plant can develop seeds. You can continue to cut the flowers until the snow flies. Some gardeners let the last of the flowers in the fall stay so that they can reseed or self sow. This way, the flowers will be coming up naturally the next year although, they don’t always grow where you want.


Annuals come in seeds and plants and can be found at most garden centers and nurseries. Most are well marked as annual. They are normally the first ones available, come in flats of colors and are the best ones to just play with, experiment with or involve the kids with.  I love using them in container gardens, playing with different color combinations.



How do you remember what an annual is compared to the others? Your school yearbook/annual came out every year, so you had to buy a new one every year. It’s the same with annual flowers; you have to buy new ones every year.



annual advantages

  • live 1 year
  • can cut blooms regularly
  • easy for beginners
  • container plants
  • kids garden projects
  • plant rows for a cutting bed
  • some self sow
  • not expensive for beginners
  • many start from seed easily

Get ready! If your local plant dealer hasn’t got the annuals out yet they are coming!


Next week we will cover biennials. Try something nutty and try growing something besides gray fuzz on your leftovers.


basic flower gardening for newbies save time and money learn what a annual is and how to use them in your gardening
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