How to remember what a perennial is.

There are so many questions for a new gardener.  One of my main was what is a perennial and why do I care?

I remember them this way…Perennials Provide Plenty of Plants.   Say it a couple of times.

Annuals – one and done.

The benefits of annuals are that for a couple of bucks you can have a whole row of yummy goodness.  They produce seeds that you can use for years to come.  Not a bad investment.

The benefits of perennials are that you get a head start on your harvest, whether it is flowers or vegetables.  They can cost anywhere from two to seven or eight times as much as a pack of seeds and you only get one plant.  But next year it will be bigger, or there will be two or more if you are taking good care of them.

Vegetables are mainly annuals.  You will have to start new plants every year.  The main perennial vegetables are asparagus and rhubarb.  You do a good job planting these and they will reward you for years to come.

There are three generally recognized plant groups.

  1.  Annuals – Plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season.  They produce a flower and then a seed.  You gather the seed, store them, and then plant them the following year.
  2. Bienniels – Plants that grow for one season and spend the winter sleeping.  They wait until the second season to produce their flower and produce seeds.  My favorite of these is foxglove.  There are newer varieties that will flower the first year, but I have not tried them yet.
  3. Perennials – Plants that survive the weather in winter and come back from an original planting for many years.  They will produce babies or spread their roots so you will gradually build up more and more plants.  They also produce seeds that you can grow plants from so you get a double whammy!

Do you want to dig in deeper?  Here is what Wikipedia has to say.

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