By JOYCE ARLEEN CORSON
The lifespan of flowers are different according to the species they represent.
Annuals grow from seed, to fruition, and if pollinated takes place, produce seed and die. These plants in our zone 5b may be petunias or marigolds. All leaves, stems and roots die annually. The dormant seeds may be started in- side using an artificial setting created with lights or left to lay on the ground and sprout in spring as the weather warms for Northern Indiana, around May 15 (end of frost ) or later.
Perennials grow, bloom over spring and summer then go dormant in fall and winter. They return the following year from herbaceous, strong , sturdy, rootstock that does not die. Black-eyed Susan and Hosta are common perennial flowers. Often a warm winter, or a southern exposure, an annual plant may surprise you and return to say hello!
Biennial plants take two years to complete their cycle. These may be Parsley, Foglove and Lunaria or Sweet Honesty. Honest flowers are also called “Money plants”. The vegetative structure grows the first year, becomes dormant in the colder months and early in spring, often before May 15 they begin to grow and flower. The rest of the spring and summer season their time is spent making seeds. Because the plant becomes invisible, we over look, not recognizing the new growth that took place over the summer. Often this new growth takes place in the shelter of companion plants such as lilies that produce leaves for shade and moisture.
Unusual plants are special and do not fit any of the classifications above. Often a lover of plants or horticulturist becomes interesting in exotic plants that are different than the seasonal plants outside, but inside our homes they adapt well to a constant temperature. As the seasons warm and the outside atmosphere reaches inside temperatures, the plants may be taken out and enjoy summer as we do.
Often the biannual plants are mistaken for perennials. This happens because the plants grew well with perennials that have the same habit and likes, such as shade or sun. If we are not careful we can destroy their friendship unnecessarily by not recognizing growth habits.
Money plant and Hosta both love the shade. By having them grow together they become perfect companions. Flowering early in spring gives us the chance to see the beautiful blue flowers of Money plant, by fall you see the circle of Hosta surrounding the beautiful silver money shaped flowers for another show of beauty. Beneath the wide leaves the new growing seedlings are waiting to bloom in spring. Money plant is native to south western Europe but it has naturalized itself around the world.