The Q&A Archives: The Difference Between Annuals, Perennials & Bulbs

Question: I don't know the difference between annuals, perennials, & bulbs. I'm trying to grow a garden and these terms are confusing to me. Can you tell me what they mean?

Answer: Sure ! Annuals are plants whose life cycle (vegetative growth, bloom, seed set) is completed in a single growing season. The plant dies at the end of the cycle and a new generation begins with seed germination.

Perennials are plants that usually grow foliage the first year and bloom the second, although some may bloom the first year. They live for several or many years and as they grow into large clumps can be divided to produce more plants.

"Bulbs" is a term commonly used to refer to all plants with underground storage systems, including true bulbs, corms, tuberous roots, rhizomes, and tubers. Tulips, daffodils, iris, dahlia, and gladiolas are all bulb-type plants. The bulbs basically store energy for the plant to push out new growth and bloom. After bloom, allow the foliage to die back naturally, as it is storing nutrients to the bulb for the next season's growth. Hope this helps!

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