Raise your very own flowers from a young seedling – It’s fun to experience the whole growing cycle as you watch baby seedlings grow into sturdy plants that reward you with colour and fragrance. It is important for you to understand the difference between a perennial, annual and biennial, so that you can provide the best care for your plants.
A perennial is a plant that will come back year after year. That means once you plant it, you can expect it to live for years. Perennials vary in the amount of care they need from varieties that you can completely ignore to varieties that require some maintenance, but many perennials don’t have as long of a bloom season as annuals.
An annual is a plant that lives for one season. The best thing about annuals is that they are serious bloomers and come in all kinds of styles and colours. They are exceptional for pots and planting in beds. The downside is that when the first hard frost comes, they are done.
A biennial is a flower that tends to live 2 years. They generally, but not always, grow up in the first year and bloom best in the second year. Because of this, biennials are best planted in the Spring to get a full year of growing in during the first year. Biennials tend to bloom very well and may seem more like a perennial.
It’s a great idea to include all types of flowers in your garden. The perennials and biennials can give you all kinds of blooms for little effort while you showcase your annuals in specific spots and large pots around the garden for full-season colour. Ultimately, whether a perennial vs. annual vs. biennial is the best choice for you really just depends on what kind of maintenance you accept and what kinds of flowers you really want to include in your garden.
Seed Propagation : Some plants lend themselves to home germination better than others. Reliable annual flowers are alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias. Perennials include Shasta daisies, columbines, and hollyhocks. Many seeds are simple to grow. Simply scratch up a patch of open soil, scatter the seeds, and there you go. But other seeds will do best under more controlled conditions, or with special treatment that mimics the conditions of their native habitats.
Factors that affect seed germination vary from plant species to species. But there are a few that are standard. If the seeds that you are growing are not germinated in what is considered a standard way, the seed packet will state this in the directions. Factors that affect seed germination are: moisture, salinity and heat. Contrary to popular belief on how to germinate seeds, sunlight is not a standard factor that influences seed germination (unless otherwise stated on the seed packet). In fact, sunlight can do more harm than good, as it may overheat the seeds and seedlings, killing them.
Read the packet back instructions for each variety – the packets provide you with specific info on the right time to sow each kind of seeds. If you do not feel confident about timing ask for help at a our garden center. Start small seeds in seed starting containers and then transplant them into the garden when they get big enough to thrive easily and happily. Sowing in starting containers ensure that you don’t loose seedlings from weeds, birds, slugs and snails and that you plant healthy seedlings into each garden bed at the perfect spacing for best growth. Be sure your starting containers are large enough (small containers dry out too quickle and don’t have enough room for roots.
Remember, it is easy to over-plant the trays when the seeds are very tiny (eg petunia) ending up with dozens of seedlings you don’t need. Sprinkle them gently on top of the soil, using only a small pinch of seeds.
Transplant the seedlings into individual pots once they develop two or three true leaves, preferably in the late afternoon or on a hazy or cloudy day to minimize stress. Firm the soil around the plants and water well. Keep your young plants moist but not soggy. Mulch them with a good thick layer of compost, well-aged manure, straw or other organic material.