Biennials, easy enjoyment in every garden

Foxglove, shown, is one of the easy biennials

Get ready to sow wonderfully cute bellflower, nasturtium, daisy, pansy and forget-me-not flowers among other wonderful summer blooms. These easy biennials are a must-have in the garden!

Flowers can be either of the following:

  • perennial,
  • annual,
  • or biennial.

Here is what sets them apart:

Perennials bloom every year, again and again.

Annuals will bloom only for a few months after planting or sowing. They’ll only last a single season and die off afterwards.

Biennials are special in that they have a two-year cycle. During the first year, they only grow leaves and roots. They bloom in the second year.

This is the case for instance for wallflower, carnation, viola cornuta (similar to pansy), cyclamen, spurge, foxglove, larkspur, hollyhock, honesty, sweet pea, borage… which are all very easy biennial bloomers to plant and care for.

In the vegetable patch, a great many easy biennial vegetables help space harvests over two years. These include delicious red beet, silverbeet, broccoli, celery, endive, cabbage, spinach, fennel, lettuce, corn salad, parsnip, leek and salsify.

Biennials, easy plants to maintain

The foremost advantage of biennial plants is their hardiness. Living through a cold winter is actually useful for their development.

They can often simply be sown directly in the ground at the beginning of summer (June-July-August). It’s also possible for them to be planted in fall. In that case, they’ll sprout in the following spring.

The only disadvantage of biennials is that they require a little foresight. Indeed, you must purchase and plant seeds early in spring to make sure they have time to grow over the first season. That’s why nurseries often sell simple biennials as ready-to-plant seedlings. It’s perfect for gardeners in a hurry!

  • Carefully remove them from their nursery pot. Dunk them in water for a few minutes.
  • Make sure the water is at ambient temperature.
  • After the soaking, transplant them to a hole in the ground, cover with soil, and press down lightly.
  • The last step is simply to water.

Biennial plants usually love full sun exposure and very rich soil amended with compost.

Give them space to spread. The more space they have, the more spectacular their blooming and harvest! Certain species such as the delicate Myosotis can even grow into a beautiful flowered ground cover. They don’t require any care at all, simply adequate watering and eventually a layer of protective mulch in winter.

Pansy, the early bird

Pansy is the only easy biennial flower that already starts flowering during the first fall season.

  • This depends on the variety. In any case the seeds must have been sown early in July.

These are among the easiest flowers to grow from seed overall. Overcome any fear and start sowing them now!

Pansy comes in countless varieties with an amazing flush of colors.

Claire Lelong-Lehoang

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Easy foxglove biennial by tee2tee under Pixabay license