As attached as you may be to your perennial iris flowers, more gardeners have begun to realize the benefits of using annuals in their yards. While annuals have a reputation for being finicky plants that require a lot of maintenance only to die at the end of each season, they’re actually a lot easier to care for and integrate into your garden than you might think. Here are the top seven reasons to consider using annuals in your yard.

Zinnia elegans with Bombus by Simon KoopmannPhoto by Simon Koopmann

1. They’re often more colorful. Tulips are certainly vibrant, but the vivid hues of annuals usually last longer and appear earlier. reports that the blooms are likely more colorful because they need to attract as many pollinators as possible to reproduce before the season ends.

2. Annuals can beef up gardens that are just starting out. Horticulture Magazine points out that if you just started a garden with perennials, you won’t have much color or foliage until they’re well settled. Annuals can easily fill in the gaps, as they grow fairly quickly.

3. They can take over in the summer. Many perennial bulbs bloom early in the spring – think daffodils, day lilies and tulips. Once those blossoms have faded, annuals can step right in without interfering with next year’s batch of blooms, according to Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

Cleome (Spider Flower) by  Mike JamesPhoto by Mike James

4. Annual plants are often less expensive than perennials. For a couple dollars, you can usually find a whole tray of blossoms that will quickly spread. Horticulture Magazine reports that some annuals even self-sow after a season, leaving their seeds to cultivate next year.

5. They’re very versatile. recommends using annuals in all areas of your garden, whether in a border, flower bed, container or hanging basket. They’ll thrive nearly anywhere, unlike their perennial counterparts.

6. You don’t have to see the same flowers year after year. With annuals, you can try out new trends in garden design whenever you feel like it, while perennials limit you to a certain type of blossom every season.

7. There’s no dividing or pruning necessary. Perennials often require you to separate the roots, otherwise they’ll get too big and start dying off as they compete for water and nutrients. They also need regular pruning to ensure even, healthy growth. None of this work is necessary with annuals, giving you more time to enjoy your garden, not tend to it!


Header photo by by Dwight Sipler