Spring Gardening – Annuals vs Perennials

Knowing when you can safely start planting your annuals and perennials can be tricky with our unpredictable Canadian weather. However, based on the annual average, it looks like we can expect our last spring frost around May 10th, so after that gardeners should be good to go!

What is the difference between an annual and perennial? An annual plant lives for one growing season and must be replanted every year. It germinates, matures, blooms, seeds and dies all in one season. A perennial may be less work as they return year after year, with their roots going dormant in the soil during the winter. They are a cost-effective option for gardeners. Based on this, you may be wondering why we would bother planting annuals? While annuals may only last for one growing season, they do produce more flowers and bloom from spring until the first frost. While perennials usually only bloom for a single season. Many gardeners plant some of each in their gardens!

When selecting your annuals, determine the light exposure it will receive in the area you plant it. They are also great for container gardening! A few examples of popular Ontario planted annuals include geraniums, marigolds, pansies and impatiens.

The majority of perennials grow well in partial shade and well-drained soil. Perennials come in various colours and can easily be planted within shrubs, bulbs and annuals, however it’s important to keep proportion in mind. A few perennial examples include black eyed susans, Russian sage, purple coneflower, and forget me nots.

We’ll be counting down the days to that last frost so we can get working on the gardens and get our hands dirty! Happy gardening!

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