Types of Plants

If you are not a gardener, or even if you are, it can be confusing when purchasing plants as to what it is that you are actually buying and how you should be looking after it. There is nothing like the disappointment of paying up for a plant you love and then being saddened the following spring when it doesn’t reappear.

The care that plants needs varies but knowing the type of plant you are buying can give you an indication of how long a plant should live for, the seasons you can expect it to perform in and how much protection it needs. Planning the planting, using a carefully selected variety of types, allows for year round structure and interest in the garden, within the level of maintenance you are prepared to give.

Below is chart explaining and summarising the different types of plants available to help demystify your next plant purchasing trip:

 

Type of Plant Definition

Life Length

Present

Annual Life   cycle lasts one growing season

Within 1 Year

Spring to Autumn

Hardy   Annuals Can   withstand cold so can be sown outside in Spring

Within 1 Year

Spring to Autumn

Half-Hardy   Annuals Sow   indoors in Spring and then can be moved outside after the last frost

Within 1 Year

Spring to Autumn

Biennual Takes   two growing seasons to complete life-cycle, flowering in second growing   season

 2 Years

Spring to Autumn

Perennial Lasts   longer than two growing seasons

More than 2 Years

Can be evergreen or herbaceous

Hardy   Perennial Plants   that stay out in the garden all year round

More than 2 Years

Half-Hardy   Perennial Plants   that last longer than two years that cannot withstand frost and so require   indoor protection during the winter

More than 2 Years

Herbaceous Dies   back in winter

Varies

Spring to Autumn

Herbaceous   Perennial Non-woody   plant that lasts more than two year which dies back in winter and has new   growth each spring.

More than 2 Years

Spring to Autumn

Shrub Woody   plant with multiple stems generally less than 6m in height

More than 2 Years

Can be evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous   but will provide year round form

Subshrub Woody   plant with multiple stems generally less than 2m in height

More than 2 Years

Can be evergreen, semi-evergreen or   deciduous but will provide year round form

Tree Woody   plant generally with single trunk that splits into branches above the ground

More than 2 Years

Can be evergreen, semi-evergreen or   deciduous but will provide year round form

Bedding   Plants A   plant that has already been grown to near- blooming and then planted to   provide a temporary seasonal display

One to Two seasons (for example,   Summer Bedding)

One to Two seasons

Bulbs An   underground storage structure for a plants complete lifecycle. Die back to   ground at end of each growing season.

Varies

Varies

Climbers A   weak stemmed plant that needs support to grow

Varies

Varies

Evergreen A   plant that retains its foliage throughout the year

N/A

All Year Around

Semi-Evergreen Will   lose their leaves in cold winters but will keep them in a mild winter

N/A

All Year Around

Deciduous Loose   leaves in autumn and produce new leaves in spring

N/A

All Year Around Structure on bare   stems/branches

Hardy Can   withstand winter outside

N/A

Varies

Half-Hardy Will   not survive frost and so will need indoor protection during the winter

N/A

Varies