Biennial plants and flowers complete their life cycle in two years from growing as a seed, producing a stem and leaves, blooming, and then dying to re-seed. Then the process starts itself all over again. Many popular biennials include forget-me-not, hollyhocks, wallflowers, black-eyed Susan, pansies, and even many vegetables and herbs. Here is a guide to planting and maintaining biennials in your garden inside or out.
Depending upon the hardiness zone, some plants in warmer climates may actually be annuals or perennials because the weather is warm enough and the life cycle is completed faster. Biennials are very adaptable and expect that they will have to be dormant over a winter period to survive. If winter months don’t kill off the plants then they can be converted into annuals or perennials.
Biennials can be grown starting in late spring and early summer to give the plants plenty of time to take root before their flowers pop next year. You will certainly want their root systems completely developed independent of any frost in colder zones. Roots need to be ready for winter so the next year they can bloom to complete the life cycle of the plant.
Biennial flowers need a little extra patience when starting your garden. Mix in some annuals and perennials so you can at least enjoy some color your first year. The rewards for your patience will pay off next year when you see vibrant shades of yellow, orange, pink, and even blue with your biennial flowers.
One advantage to biennial plants is that their flowers have intense color or fragrance. They only have one summer season to pollinate and finish their life cycle to biennials are trying to garner the attention of birds and insects. To do so they have deep colors like the hollyhocks or wonderful fragrances like the rare giant lily.
Feel free to start any biennial gardening from seeds using the appropriate depth and width apart for the plants. Hollyhocks are skinny and can be closer together as opposed to forget-me-not which spreads out as a bed plant. Follow the instructions of the seed package or your local nursery for starting your biennial plants.
Watering is fairly simple as many biennials are used to colder climates. Don’t let the soil get overly dry but surely keep the soil wet during overly long dry periods. Try to let biennials rest in the winter as the dormant period is vital to their life cycle. If you want to stagger your biennial garden to have blooms each year you can plant one set the first year and plant again the year after to maintain the same colors each year in your garden.