Types of Flowers and Plants

Flower Image

If you’re just getting started with gardening, you are likely to hear the terms annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs and biennials. For seasoned gardeners, these terms are perfectly clear. But for you as a newbie, this jargon can make walking into a plant nursery or trying to plan your garden a stressful experience. To lower your stress level, check out the guide to flower and plant types below.


Annuals are plants and flowers that last for one year and then die out, such as impatiens. Grown from seed, many annuals are large-blooming and thrive on the proper soil. Petunias are a kind of annual that can grow well on any soil. An important advantage of annuals is that they will flower for a long period –often several months. You will need to replant them from seed each year, so if you enjoy a lot of variety in your garden design, then annuals are a great option for you. Annuals are also good to plant in hanging baskets and container gardening.


Perennials are flowers which come back year after year without replanting, for at least 3-5 years and often much longer. Shasta daisies, black-eyed Susans, and geraniums are some of the best-loved examples of this type of plant. Each year they brighten the landscape with their beautiful presence. Perennials are a convenient option for getting started with gardening because they don't need to be replanted each year. Most perennials grow best in slightly acidic soils (pH 6.5 to 7.0) and prefer six to eight hours of sun per day.


Biennials are plants that take two years to grow from seed to fruition. In the first year, the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots (vegetative structures). Then it enters a period of dormancy over the colder months. A biennial will bloom and produce seeds during its second spring, completing its lifecycle. Examples of biennial plants are parsley, Lunaria, silverbeet, Sweet William, colic weed and carrot.


Shrubs are woody plants smaller than trees, having a short stem with branches near the ground. There are two main types of shrubs: flowering and ornamental. Many shrubs look like common bushes. Shrubs used for gardening generally include broad-leaved plants, though some smaller conifers, such as Mountain Pine and Common Juniper, are also shrubby in structure.


Bulbs are known for their amazing blooming abilities. Bulbs are perennials and are low maintenance. Two favorite flowers grown from perennial bulbs are tulips and daffodils. Many bulbs are hardy and reliable, meaning you can "forget" about them... and they'll present their beautiful blooms reliably every spring after being dormant over the winter months. Just like other types of perennials, you can plant bulbs according to flowering times for a constant array of color. For a garden that is full of color all season, plant a number of bulb types with successive flowering times.

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