Identifying Plant Types

Knowing what to expect from annuals, biennials, perennials, shrubs, climbers, trees and other types of plants can help you create the garden of your dreams.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
  • garden design requires proper planning

    Garden Design

    Does your garden lack color or structure, and would it benefit from more glitz or a greater sense of permanence? Different types of plants have different roles to play, and understanding what each one can bring will help you make your garden more beautiful and create year-round interest.

  • annuals provide color for one year only


    These plants germinate, grow, flower, set seed and die all in one year. They're bold and colorful and quickly gone, although hardy ones may self-seed and appear the next year.

  • biennials take two years to bloom


    Much like annuals, biennials are short-lived, but spread their time over two years, growing in the first, flowering in the second. They too are used as colorful bedding plants.

  • perennials bloom year after year


    Perennials are the mainstays of flower gardens, producing their flowers and foliage year after year. Most die down in winter and produce a fresh crop of leaves every spring.

  • ornamental grasses are evergreen and keep leaves


    Some ornamental grasses are evergreen and keep their leaves all year, while others die back. They create movement and light in the garden, and many have striking winter skeletons.

  • deciduous shrubs create permanent structure


    Deciduous or evergreen, these plants form the backbone of the garden. Shrubs have a woody framework and create a permanent structure. Many also produce attractive flowers and berries.

  • trees give character to a yard and garden


    For privacy, enclosure and a sense of permanence, plant a tree. Evergreens provide color all year, while deciduous species bring young spring leaves and blossom, autumn color and a wintry outline.

  • climbers give garden a cottage feel


    Scrambling up walls and across trellises, climbers soften the sharp lines of hard landscaping, and they can also be grown through shrubs and trees. Many have beautiful flowers and some are scented.

  • aquatic plants have ornamental foliage and blooms


    If you have a pond, there's a wide range of plants to consider, from marginals with ornamental foliage or flowers that thrive in shallow water to spectacular deep-water aquatics, such as water lilies.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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