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Technically, yes. If you have shopped for plants, you have seen them tagged as an annual or a perennial. The difference between the two types relates to whether the plant grows back the following year. Annual plants die after the season. Perennials, typically, come back each year.

The Perennial Life Cycle

While an annual’s life cycle is one growing season, a perennial’s roots survive through the winter. Their hardiness allows perennials to come back for many years – depending upon the plant and the harshness of the winter weather. During the winter, the plant goes dormant with the above-ground part of the plant dying back to the ground. The roots tend to stay safe during these cold months. Some perennials, however, may not survive the cold season. This could be due to extreme temperatures or the plant being one that is only marginally cold hardy for the zone. For the perennial to survive and sprout again the following year, it must be able to tolerate the year-round conditions in the area in which you live.

A Perennial’s Lifespan

Even in optimal growing conditions, perennials do not live forever. The lifespan of perennial plants varies. Some perennials, called short lived perennials, only live for a few years. Brown-Eyed Susan, Shasta Daisy and Malva are some popular short lived perennials. Others may live 15 or so years, and some, such as Peonies, can live a lifetime. So, while perennials may last longer than annuals, and can come back the following year, they do not live forever.

Keep Perennials Looking their Best

While perennials may be hardy, they do require a bit of maintenance to keep them thriving. We recommend:

  • Fertilizing once a season
  • During dry seasons, watering deeply and trying to avoid getting water on the leaves
  • Using mulch to keep weeds at bay and retain moisture
  • Pinching back growth to produce a denser plant with more blooms
  • Deadheading spent flower to stimulate reblooming
  • Staking plants that appear to need support
  • Dividing plants that are overgrowing the space

When you retain Curti’s Landscaping for landscape design, installation and maintenance, we will help you select perennials that are appropriate for the Rockland County, New York / Bergen County, New Jersey hardiness zone and keep them looking lush and inviting.