Annual, Biennial or Perennial

Plants can be annual, biennial or perennial.  They are classified this way because of how long they live:

  • Annuals – live one growing season, produce seeds then die
  • Biennials – live for two growing seasons, produce seeds then die
  • Perennials – live more than two years

Perennials are great.  You make the effort one year of planting the seeds and they come back for more than two years all on their own.

Curly Leaf Parsley – So Self-Sufficient

Parsley, another favourite herb of mine is actually a biennial. But my parsley has been coming back since 2011.  Apparently it has been self-seeding – I love this perennial.

I made a one meter by one meter patch for the original seeds and it has come back each year and has already started to sprout again this April:

curled-leaf parsley

Used Around the World
Parsley is a biennial herb that is used around the world.  It smells great and can be used for decorating and flavouring so many dishes. Curly leafed parsley is often used to decorate dishes, whereas the flat leaved parsley is often used for flavouring.

Benefits of Biennials and Perennials

For a full list and more detail on the benefits of Perennials, read this article on Small Footprint Family. These are the benefits I see with my parsley:

  • they do not require a lot of maintenance
  • they are cold hardy so they extend the season before and after summer
  • they can be ornamental and help with pollination of crops and wild plants
  • they can help the soil food system, provide habitat for animals, build soil naturally, and as they mature they build topsoil and help the atmosphere

Drawbacks of Perennials

Like most things even perennials have some drawbacks.  For a full list and more details on drawbacks have a look at this website Small Footprint Family by Dawn Gifford.

However for me my parsley does not have drawbacks. It even self-seeds, which I appreciate because it is less work for me.

Do you have any perennials that have worked well for you, year after year?

Dawn Gifford,, 2016.
Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rurual Affairs,, 2012.
National Gardening Association,, 2002.,, May 14, 2016.
The Herb Gardener,, 2008=2017.