Perennials vs Annuals – what is the best choice for your garden?

 In Commercial Property Care, Container Gardening, Container Plants, Plantings & Pruning, Residential

The short answer is both. Perennials are plants that lose their leaves each year but their roots and sometimes stems stay alive through the cold winter. In the spring, they regrow without replanting. Annuals are plants that die in the fall and winter and must be regrown from seed each spring.


You might think that perennials are the best, most cost-effective choice, but they have a much shorter blooming period. Some varieties can last as little as two weeks per year. They also require repeated pruning to keep their growth from overtaking the rest of the bed. With some strategic planning, you can choose plants that bloom at different times to keep your garden full of color through the summer. They are also an environmentally-friendly choice because they require less water once they are established because their roots grow deeper than annuals.

Favorite New England Perennials

  • Russian Sage – This vigorous, hardy, heat-loving and drought tolerant plant resists deer and pests
  • Nepeta – Sensational periwinkle blue flower spikes adorn the fragrant, compact mound of finely textured, gray-green foliage
  • Peonies – Absolutely stunning, with huge, fully double, fresh pink blooms are backed by a lush mound of glossy green, deer resistant foliage. A crowd favorite.


Annuals are beloved by many a gardener because of their bright colors that can last up until the first fall frost. Most nurseries carry a wide selection because they have a long blooming period and there is something for everyone. They are also more cost effective and don’t require annual maintenance since they only live one season.

Favorite New England Annuals

  • Lantana – Vibrant multi-color orange, yellow and pink flower clusters bloom from spring to late fall on this variety prized for its improved cold hardiness and compact growth habit. Attracts butterflies.
  • Sunpatiens – Garden success has never been simpler with easy-to-plant, easy-to-grow SunPatiens. The thicker petals and tough foliage are less prone to disease, and their strong sturdy stems tolerate high heat and humidity, rain and adverse weather conditions
  • Calibrachoa – Like a tiny petunia on steroids, calibrachoa (also called Million Bells) grows and flowers at an amazing rate. These extremely vigorous plants make for colorful, cascading accents in containers or hanging baskets, along walkways, and on garden walls

The answer is: Use both

We love designing gardens that use a mix of both, in addition to knowing which varietals work best in full or partial sun and shade. We can create plans that work for formal to country gardens and everything in between. It can be challenging to determine which plants work best in specific settings, and we are here to help. Now is the best time to start planting so let us know if we can help fill your garden with color. We also build beautiful containers to brighten your front door or walkway.

Contact us today to learn more