Episode 8: What's The Difference Between Annuals And Perennials?


About This Episode

In this episode of Ask Grumpy, Steve Bender, also known as Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener, explains the real difference between annuals and perennials. Plus, he shares a list of plants that deer love, which will cause challenges in your garden.

Question: Why are some plants called annuals and others called perennials?

Grumpy Gardener Answer: It's real simple. An annual is a plant that completes its entire lifecycle in one growing season, so it germinates from the seed. It grows into a plant, if it's a flowering plant, and it makes a flower. The flower makes a seed, and then at the end of the growing season, it drops all the seed to the ground and then that plant dies, and the next year it comes back from the seeds that it dropped. A perennial is a plant that comes back year after year. Now, with perennials, you have to take into account where you live, because a lot of things, whether they're perennial or not, depends on how cold it gets in the winter. You can grow them from year to year if they're not winter-hardy in your area, by just potting them up and then bringing them inside for the winter. But an annual completes its lifecycle no matter what you do in one year, and then it just dies. So you have to buy new ones the next year.

The thing about annuals is the reason that they're popular is because when you buy them, they're usually in bloom and they'll be in bloom every single day from spring all the way through the fall until they get killed by that frost. Perennials, some of them bloom continuously, but most of them bloom in waves. They'll bloom some, and then they'll have a little rest period, and then they'll bloom again, have a little rest period, bloom again, and have a little rest period.

Tip Of The Week

Problem Plants For Deer, According to Grumpy

  1. Roses. Deer love roses. Now you wouldn't think that would be so, because roses are thorny. Why would something want to bite and swallow something that's thorny? I have no idea what goes on in a deer's mind, but they don't care. They will chew your roses down to the ground. so that's one plant that's not good.
  2. Hydrangeas. We all love the hydrangeas, with the blue, pink, and white flowers. Well deer love them just as much as you. So, that's another one you're gonna have to watch out for.
  3. Hostas. Hostas are deer dessert, they will eat an entire bed in one night.
  4. Daylilies, They'll eat all the blooms off, they'll eat the stems, they'll eat the leaves, you can't have that.
  5. There's a couple of evergreens that you really can't have like arborvitaes, which people plant around their houses for screening, and they also love Leyland cypress, which is used as a fast-growing screening plant. The funny thing is that when it comes to Leyland cypress and arborvitae, these grow really tall (I mean, they'll go 20 or 30 feet tall), and the deer will only eat as far as they reach. So they'll be eaten down to the trunk for about eight feet, they'll be naked down there, then the top is going on, growing, so it's really a funny look. Okay, so that was some plants that are going be problematic if you have deer.

About Ask Grumpy

Introducing Ask Grumpy, a new podcast featuring Steve Bender, also known as Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener. For more than 20 years, Grumpy has been sharing advice on what to grow, when to plant, and how to manage just about anything in your garden. Tune in for short episodes every Wednesday and Saturday as Grumpy answers reader questions, solves seasonal conundrums, and provides need-to-know advice for gardeners with his very Grumpy sense of humor. Be sure to follow Ask Grumpy on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen so you don't miss an episode.

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors.

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