Would a frost blanket keep Annuals alive throughout the year?

I covered my annuals and perennials this weekend to protect them from the first frost. I uncover them during warm afternoons.

I often keep my annuals and perennials alive until Thanksgiving.

What if I did that all winter? It’s a lot of work and I have always stopped using the frost blankets in December. The top of perennials die but the plant in the ground lives through the winter.

Would a frost blanket keep these flowers alive year around? Would they bloom next spring?

I know annuals are intended to be replaced every Spring.

I always feel sad and a little guilty when a frost kills my flowers.

Are all the gardeners hibernating for the winter?


There’s usually several here that respond to gardening topics.

There are more experienced gardeners than me here, but I’ll post my answer as a stopgap:

No. Annuals are meant to live for one year. They flower and then, when the light wanes, they die. A frost blanket won’t change that.

A frost blanket might protect a tender perennial, though. These plants are often sold as “annuals” because they can’t survive a cold winter, but the plant’s life cycle is to live for multiple years, so just a reduction of light won’t kill it. If you protect it adequately, from cold, wind, and wet, it might come back.

Thank you Sattua

You confirmed my own thoughts that annuals will die every season; regardless of the temperature.

I guess that’s why they are fairly inexpensive. It’s the work replanting them I’d love to avoid. :wink: I love sitting on my deck and looking at flowers (in bloom). I look forward to the Spring flowers every year.

It’s worth the work.

Go for perennials, then. I don’t do annuals at all–like you say, too much work!

Annual flowers do not last a year. Some last longer than others, but its always a matter of months. They differentiate themselves from perennials by being in a flowering stage or pre flowering stage when you buy them. As they age, many annuals get leggy and become less attractive.

Perennials are sold either in their flowering or dormant stage and can grow for years.

People buy annuals because they want color NOW. Annuals often offer a more spectacular display of flowers.

People buy perennials because they don’t mind waiting for the flowers and people know that if they take care of the plant, it will reward them with flowers for years to come.

Cyclamen is an excellent plant for winter flowers. They do well on a sunny indoor window sill. Technically, they are a perennial, but they hide beneath the soil during summer. When they emerge again, they are never as beautiful and vigorous as they were when you bought them. In other words, buy a new one every fall.

You mention the high cost of perennials. It’s true, sticker shock is a thing. Lots can be grown easily from seed, though, if you have patience. Or you could take advantage of online nursery clearance sales happening !!!right now!!! to buy some cheap baby perennials that will flower next summer.

In California cyclamen rebloom and look good for years planted outdoors, because they come from the Mediterranean, the same type of climate as the west coast of North America. Even more technically, they are a corm.

There are florist’s cyclamens and hardy cyclamens, too. The hardy kind do well outdoors in certain grow zones. The florist ones never will.

What’s sold as annuals can include: true annuals, plants that are gonna complete their whole life in one year regardless; tender perennials, which could live years if they were kept frost free; and what I think of as half-assed perennials, which look good for a year, then just sort of hang around, not dead, but not doing anything much, for a few more years.

It also depends on your area if keeping the tops frost-free would be enough to keep tender perennials alive, if that’s what some of your ‘annuals’ really are. Round here, the winter cold and wet can often kill the roots if plants are left outside in the ground, even if the tops are protected from frost.

And there are a whole bunch of cyclamen species- until I moved away, I used to grow Cyclamen hederifolium, and that gets bigger and better every year outside in the right spot, and self seeds. Cyclamen persicum, the common florist species, or at least the cultivars generally sold, generally looks crap if it survives for more than a year.

I take my potted impatiens inside with the first frost. Some of them don’t survive the winter, but some do. I’ve kept some alive for as long as 5 or 6 years.

I’ll try potting a few impatiens next spring. They’re one of my favorite partial shade annual. I always buy Celosia. It does well in pots.

I have some perennials. I have one small flowerbed of garden phlox that comes back year after year. Lavender is an easy plant to grow. I like to order from the varieties from internet nurseries. My favorite is Coreopsis. I grow the moonbeam variety that has yellow flowers. Lamb’s ear is an easy plant and flowers ever year. It does require regular watering in the summer.

I have one bed of roses. They struggle because it’s in a shaded area. They were an impulse buy that I got at the grocery. They’ve done better since I started spreading manure fertilizer on them every winter.