What Is The Difference Between Annual And Perennial Flowers?

What Is The Difference Between Annual And Perennial Flowers?

Perennial vs. Annual Flowers

The difference between annual and perennial flowers is quite simple: Perennial flowers get planted once, and return year after year.

picture of an annual flower, the geranium

Annual flowers are planted in the spring or summer, and die when the winter comes. Perennials are more expensive, but require less overall maintenance. Annual flowers are cheap, and give great color to your garden or flower beds.






Best Direct Sunlight Annuals

picture of an annual flower, the marigold

Before we dive into annual flowers, here are a few of the best full sun annuals to plant in PA. These flowers need at least six hours of direct sunlight.

  • Geranium
  • Mairgold
  • Verbena
  • Rudbeckia
  • Morning Glory
  • Zinnia
  • Sweet Potato Vine


Partial Shade Annual Flowers

Partial shade annuals require 3-6 hours of indirect sunlight, and will struggle in direct sunlight areas.

picture of a viola, a partial shade annual flower
  • Violas
  • Alyssum
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Lobelias
  • Creeping Zinnia

Full Shade Annual Flowers

Full shade annuals are flowers that need less than three hours of direct sunlight. While not as visually appealing as the direct sunlight annuals or the partial shade annuals, there are some great full shade annual flowers.

  • Wax Begonias
  • Polka Dot Plant
  • Rex Begonias
  • Angle Wing Begonias
  • Caladiums

Annual And Perennial Flowers

Annual flowers can be a great addition to your flower beds. If you plan on planting a lot of small flowers like geraniums by yourself, we recommend planting them in a five sided dice pattern. Basically, give the flowers enough room to be apart, and plant them like the pattern we have shown below. Annuals will require more attention and care than perennials will. Each year we recommend tilling your garden and adding in top soil in order to ensure the soil is rich. Annuals normally are not harsh on soil, but in order to make sure they thrive, more care is needed than perennials.

the five side on a dice pattern used to demonstrate how to plant annual flowers

One of the biggest benefits of annuals is the basic fact that they bloom shortly after being planted. A big disadvantage of perennials is they might not bloom the first few years. Perennials require more establishing time. When you purchase an annual from a dealer, they are already almost close to maturity and will bloom in a few weeks. If you would like your garden to stand out this spring and summer, planting annuals are the best way to go. For the patient few out there, planting perennials and waiting a few years may be a great, low maintenance option.

Perennial Full Sun Flowers

panicle hydrangeas best shrubs to plant in pennsylvania


Most gardeners are familiar with the most common perennial flowers like hydrangeas or hostas. Hostas will make your garden and flower beds look great, but will attract an entire family of deer to feast on in the middle of the night. Unless you plan on being diligent with spraying deer repellent, if you live in a neighborhood full of deer, hostas are not the best choice. Deer tend to dislike scented shrubs like hydrangeas and lavender. Not only do these perennials smell great, but they are low maintenance. Below are some of our favorite full sun perennial flowers.


Perennial flowers and shrubs should be the anchor of your garden. Perennials are reliable, and some may live for decades, growing more beautiful by the year. Perennial shrubs and flowers can sometimes be deer bait, so plant them wisely. In our area of South Eastern Pennsylvania, almost every homeowner has asked us about deer resistant annual and perennial flowers. We recommend a mix of perennial and annual flowers, with perennial shrubs anchoring the garden ends, or the middle. The outside, or ring of the garden should be filled with smaller annuals that are bright in color.



If you have any questions about annual and perennial flowers, get in contact with us today!

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