A Beginner's Guide to Basic Garden Lingo

By Amanda Pollard, Houzz

Would you like to know the difference between annuals and perennials? Or perhaps you’re wondering what deadheading is? Check out our rundown of essential gardening terms that you’ve probably heard but may not have understood.

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Chris Snook, original photo on Houzz

Annuals, biennials and perennials. Some plants spring up once and never again, and others bloom over and over. You can tell what each plant will do by identifying whether it’s an annual, a biennial or a perennial. So what’s the difference?

An annual is a plant that performs its whole life cycle within one year. It germinates, flowers and dies — that’s it. A perennial, in contrast, is a plant that lives for more than two years.



Biennials (like many foxgloves, shown here) are a little more complicated — they stick around for two years but usually don’t flower until the second year. The first year, they typically have only foliage.