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Selecting plants for a particular situation is often dependent on how long the plant lives. Have you ever been asked this question or wondered: Which needs planting every year, an annual or perennial?
You can answer this question by understanding life cycles. Flowers are divided into three life cycle categories: annual, biennial, and perennial.
See the following for more information on how the life cycles differ:
One of the most critical factors in selecting flowering plants for your garden is to ensure that they are well-suited to their environment. Knowing your hardiness zone is one way to help ensure that the odds of overwintering a biennial or perennial will be successful. Similarly, knowing your heat zone helps ensure that your annuals, biennials, and perennials can tolerate summer or year-round heat. Hardiness and heat zone maps are useful in the flower selection process, but they are not a be-all-end-all criteria for determining whether a flower will survive in its environment. Other factors, such as rainfall distribution, humidity, soil characteristics, water availability, and duration and intensity of light help determine if your plants are well suited for their environment.
A few years ago, a new hardiness map was released. It was not approved by the USDA. It was controversial because it showed us in warmer zones, reflective of the past few years. Another draft is in the works that will be based on more years' data. Extension and the USDA continue to make recommendations using the older 1990 map.
Find Your Heat Zone:
For some, the design process is the most rewarding part of gardening; for others it can be a daunting task. Garden design with annuals and perennials is an art and a science. Visit and review the following to learn about the design process: