Mix and match perennials, annuals for the best wallet-friendly garden.
Sketching out a garden budget each spring presents an age-old dilemma: annuals or perennials? Annuals, which grow from seedlings, bloom and die within one growing season. They tend to bloom throughout the warm months and are generally less expensive than their perennial counterparts. Perennials generally grow for three or more years but only bloom for part of each summer season. The best solution — for your budget and your blooms — is likely to be a well-planned mixture of annuals and perennials. Consider these tips from the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service when you’re choosing which varieties of each type to plant this year:
• Perennials will tend to grow large, since they live longer. And they come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes and textures. Because they bloom for shorter periods, combine several perennial species that bloom at different periods so your garden always has color throughout the summer. Among the most popular garden perennials are daylilies, peonies, hostas and garden mums.
• Annuals, inexpensive and short-lived, will give you maximum color and bloom. Many varieties will provide flowers from spring to fall. For maximum effect, plant these among the perennials to balance out color. Everyone’s familiar with petunias, geraniums and other common colorful annuals. To make your garden stand out, consider more-exotic annuals like spider flower, gazania, vinca or lisianthus.