South Florida grows the most amazing flowers. Our climate is great for a multitude of colorful, fanciful flowers of all shapes and sizes. Fragrant flowers mixed in a blooming garden that changes every week is exciting to plan and grow. You will enjoy hours of delight in a well organized and thought out landscape designed garden. Be creative and brave and have fun.
Annuals are the easiest and the most affordable. Those are the ones you see for sale at the grocery store or outside the home improvement stores. They are simple to plant, go just about anywhere and make it through the summer well into fall usually, blooming continually. The drawback is they will not return next year. There are some that return each year, but those are not true annuals, rather perennials that cannot survive our cold winters normally. Therefore they get called “annuals”, yet if there is a mild winter or two, they may surprise you. But even with those, you could just as well pull them up in the fall when they wilt and replant next year in early spring. Marigolds and Petunias are examples of annuals.
Biennials are similar to annuals except they live for the second season, then die. Biennials are somewhat uncommon. Carrots are biennials.
Perennials on the other hand are plants which live more than two years. Shrubs and trees are woody perennials because they have a woody body above ground which survives the winter. The herbaceous perennial is what we generally think of as perennial. They grow in the warm months, then only the above ground portion dies while the below ground portion lies dormant until the next warm season. Iris and Peony are perennials.
Most perennials do not bloom as long as annuals and are more expensive. They generally bloom for a 2-3 week period. However they grow larger each year and establish clumps which show as beautiful displays the following year. Like the annuals they require little care once planted. If you plant with the future growth in mind, you should only have to separate perennials every 3 years or so. If you like huge dramatic displays, you may have planted your perennials close together. In that case, you may have to separate ever year. If you find that many aren’t blooming, it may be a clue they need separating.
Bulbs differ from other perennials in that they cannot be moved around as often. Bulbs should only be moved when the bulbs themselves are dormant, late summer or early fall. Also different from other perennials, bulbs loose their above-ground foliage after the bloom during the summer, whereas the other perennials retain the green foliage. Common bulbs include tulips and daffodils.