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Do perennials come back every year?

So do perennials come back every year?

In short, yes. Perennials do come back every year.

There are some factors that contribute to the life of a perennial plant. Factors that influence the life of a perennial include some of the following:
    • Your USDA growing zone
    • The planting location and soil conditions
    • Amount of sun exposure
    • How much water the plant needs to succeed
    • Presence of disease, bacteria, and pests, as well as the plants’ resistance to these
    • How crowded the root zone is

Perennial vs. Annual vs. Biennial

These are terms are thrown around by many gardeners and can confuse those who are new to outdoor gardening. To add to the confusion, a plant that is perennial in one location may not be in another location.

But let’s set the record straight. Here are the simple definitions for annuals, perennials, and biennials:

An annual is a type of plant only survives for one season. It grows, flowers, sets seeds, and dies in the span of a single year.

A biennial is a type of plant grows vegetative growth the first year, and then flowers, seeds and dies the second year.

A perennial is a plant that has vegetative growth, flowers, seeds, and returns year after year. To be considered a perennial, a plant has to live for at least two years or more. However, most perennials live for far longer than that. 

So yes, perennials do come back every year.


Zone importance

It is essential to know what USDA zone you live in if you are a gardener. A zone is the area you live in and is based on average high and low temperatures as well as other climate-related factors. 

Some plants can tolerate icy conditions in winter, while others cannot. Plants that can tolerate frost are often referred to as ‘hardy.’ Whereas plants that cannot tolerate frost are referred to as ‘tender.’

Some plants that are considered annuals in Maine may be considered perennials in Texas because of the difference in the climate. Knowing your zone means that you can purchase the plants best suited to your location. 

We have a tool on our website that will inform you of your zone. Just click this link that takes you to our home page, type in your zip code, and we will tell you your USDA growing zone. There is no sign-up required!

How tell if a plant is perennial?

The best way to tell if your plant is perennial and will come back every year is by identification. There are plenty of ways you can identify plants:


    • Research online using plant identification websites
    • Go to your local library and research plant identifications (the best books are those geared toward your state or region)
    • If you are having a difficult time identifying a plant, call your local Extension Office; Master Gardeners are volunteers who are educated to field a variety of garden-related questions
    • Some universities offer plant ID services; this is the most accurate form of identification

The easiest way to tell if a plant is perennial is whether it comes back the following year. Because perennials come back every year, you can tell if a plant is perennial by its regular return. 

Even if the plant seems to die in the winter, the roots may still be alive and well. Herbaceous perennials have vegetation that dies in winter that will regrow in spring or summer. These are still considered perennials.

Why plant perennials?

All types of flowers make for a beautiful garden, whether they be annuals, perennials, or biennials. Each has its place in a garden. 

The benefit of perennials is that they come back every year! With plants that have a long life, you will be required to do less work digging and planting. This frees up your time to plant other plants or do whatever else your heart desires.

Aside from starting your own seeds at home which is time-intensive, buying perennials is the most cost-effective way to create a garden. Unless, of course, you have friends who give you plants for free. But they did have to get their perennials from somewhere!

How to take care of perennials

Each plant has different care requirements. Here are some things to consider when shopping for perennials: 

    • How much sun does the plant need?
    • What soil conditions can this plant tolerate (clay, sand, etc.)?
    • How often will the plant need water?
    • Will the plant need to be divided in later years to maintain full growth?
    • Will the dead vegetation need to be removed in the fall or spring? 

Before you begin to feel overwhelmed, let me tell you that plants are resilient. Many plants have been grown with little consideration for their needs and have done just fine. And, most beginner gardeners have learned by trial and error.  

However, for the best results, it is recommended that you have a general idea of what your plant needs so that you can have the best possible outcome. That way you can rest assured knowing you’ve put the right plant in the right place.

5 of the most versatile perennials to add to your garden:

This is a short list of a few garden staples. These plants are praised for their beauty, their blooms, and how much food they provide to pollinators. These plants are resilient and consistent bloomers. Plus, they can fit into many garden styles.


What makes the yarrow such a versatile perennial is how much it benefits pollinators and people! The yarrow is a bee magnet that can grow in a wide range of conditions. This perennial also has edible leaves that can be used in salads or to make teas. 

Zones: 3 to 9
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: up to 3 feet
Water: average to moist
Best for pollinator gardens, borders, and cottage gardens

Check out the Yarrow product page here

Brown Eyed Susan

Black eyed Susan is a joyful flower. In addition to attracting pollinators, it gives any garden a cheerful look. There are few who wouldn't recognize its iconic blooms. It is a favorite among children and makes for an excellent cut flower. It also has a long blooming season and will flower throughout summer.

Zones: 3 to 9
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: up to 3 feet
Water: average to moist
Best for pollinator gardens, borders, and cottage gardens

Check out the Brown Eyed Susan product page here

Orange Daylily

The orange daylily is another flower that will return to your garden year after year. While each flower only lasts a day, it is generous with how many blooms it puts out in a season. It is easy to grow, low-maintenance, and an excellent plant to fill in spaces. 

Zones: 3 to 9
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: up to 3 feet
Water: average to moist
Best for pollinator gardens, borders, and cottage gardens

Check out the Orange Daylily product page here


No pollinator garden would be complete without the vital milkweed. This plant is an essential habitat and food plant for the Monarch Butterfly. In recent years, it has skyrocketed in popularity due to how beneficial it is for pollinators.

Zones: 4 to 9
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: up to 3½  feet
Water: average to moist
Best for pollinator gardens, borders, woodlands edge, and cottage gardens

Check out the Milkweed product page here

Oxeye Daisy

Like the black eyed Susan, the oxeye daisy is an iconic, timeless flower. It is a symbol of peace and simplicity. This beloved perennial draws in beneficial insects. Plus, it's low maintenance and easy to grow. What more could you ask for?

Zones: 3 to 9 
Sun exposure: Part sun to part shade
Mature height: up to 8 inches
Water: Average to somewhat dry
Best for woodland gardens, alpine gardens, containers, and shaded borders

Check out the Oxeye Daisy product page here


We hope this list answered your questions. Remember, perennials come back every year so they are a great investment. If you have any other garden-related questions, feel free to reach out! Whether you are a customer or not, we love talking plants with anyone!

Oxeye Daisy - TN Nursery

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy is a perennial wildflower with white, daisy-like flowers featuring yellow centers and deeply lobed leaves, often found in meadows and fields, adding charm to natural landscapes. It's known for its radiant white petals and sunny yellow center. It is a charming perennial with numerous landscaping benefits. Its innate qualities make it a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers alike. Delight Your Yard With Large, Round Flowerheads Of Oxeye Daisy Oxeye Daisy, which blooms single or in clusters from May through September, can reach a height of three feet on their tall, thick individual stems. The flowers they produce are actually multiple flowers in one. 15 to 35 white (ray flower) petals surround the flower head, which consists of 400 to 500 yellow disk flowers. This flower's distinctive feature is its enormous, spherical blossom head. Each bloom can reach up to three inches in diameter. When full-grown, these plants can get up to two feet wide. Once established, you'll likely never run out of daisies since they are so good at self-seeding. Make Your Yard Unique With Spoon-Shaped Leaves Of The Oxeye Daisy This plant has dark green, spoon-shaped leaves that taper into narrow, serrated ones as they grow up the stem. Leaves that are the biggest appear around the plant's base; they are about six inches long and two inches wide and have as many as 15 lobed edges. The top leaves are thin, alternately placed, and sometimes clasp up against the stem. These clasping leaves, which are one to four inches long, also have lobed edges. Typically, the number of teeth or lobed edges on a leaf increases as it grows higher on the stalk. Add Biodiversity to Your Yard Oxeye Daisy Nectar-Rich Plants The oxeye daisy is the largest type. Pollen and nectar found in these flowers are essential for the survival of several pollinating insects, such as moths, beetles, butterflies, hoverflies, and beetles. The male disk flowers emit a ring of yellow pollen around the periphery, while the many tiny flowers that compose the flower's yellow center contain nectar. Adding these flowers to your yard or garden is a perfect way to lure pollinators and increase their biodiversity. Oxeye Daisy Are Perfect for Pest and Wildlife Control These plants are magnets for good bugs, such as pollen-feeding beetles, which eat bad bugs like aphids. Animals like cattle stay away from areas with these flowers because they irritate the wildlife's lips, nostrils, and legs. These characteristics make the plant an excellent form of pest and wildlife control.

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