Flowers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The tiny flowers of sweet alyssum are half the size of a pencil eraser, while the blossoms of the tree peony are over 12 inches in diameter. Flowers grow on plants no more than a few inches high such as lobelia, or on trees more than 30 feet tall. No matter how tiny or grand your landscape there is always room for flowering plants.
Annuals are plants that grow for only one season. The seeds germinate, grow into seedlings, mature and flower. The plant dies when the first frost comes. Most vegetables are annuals. Vegetables that flower a set fruit include peppers, squash, peas, beans and tomatoes. Use these colorful plants in your flower garden as well as annual flowers such as cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, stock, sweet peas and snapdragons.
Biennials are plants that grow from seed the first year and blossom and die the second year. Hollyhocks are an example. Parsley is also a biennial, better known as an herb than a flower. The flower the second year resembles Queen Anne's lace.
Perennials live for several years or longer. They go dormant after blooming or when the first frost hits but start growing again in the spring. Some perennial flowers, such as lantana, bougainvillea and cannas, are tropical. They grow all year long in warm climates. When planted in cold winter areas, they die in the fall so they're treated as annuals and must be replanted every year. Common perennial flowers include columbine, Echinacea, delphiniums, foxglove, carnations, Shasta daisy and candytuft.
Bulbs, Corms and Tubers
Bulbs, corms and tubers hold the genetic code to reproduce the plant. Spring bulbs include daffodils, crocus, iris, hyacinth and tulips. Summer-flowering bulbs include oriental lilies, Asiatic lilies, day lilies and amaryllis. Corms include freesias, ranunculus and gladiolus. Tubers include begonias and bearded iris.
Trees that are cultivated for fruit production must flower first to form fruit. Deciduous trees include apple, pear, cherry, peach and plum. Evergreen fruit trees include lemon, lime, orange and other citrus fruits. Some trees are planted solely for the aesthetic appeal of their flowers rather than fruit production. These include dogwood, orchid tree and crape myrtle.
Flowering bushes include roses, of course, but also hydrangeas, forsythia, mock orange and numerous others. Bushes may be either evergreen or deciduous. Some like roses are evergreen in warm winter areas such as California, Florida and Arizona but deciduous in cold winter areas.