General Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

What are the major types of flowers?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4354 points ) July 5th, 2012

For instance perennials, annuals, geraniums are the only ones I know about. What are there functions and differences? Thanks in advance!

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3 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

An annual is a flower with a life cycle that lasts a year or less. It grows from a seed, to a plant and then dies. So annuals might be pansies, zinnias, marigolds. You will often find these in little punnets at the garden store. Great for adding some colour and filling gaps temporarily. Or they could be lettuce or vegetables of that type that won’t keep growing and providing produce.

A perennial is a plant that may last for more than two years but may last for many, many years. A tree is a perennial. A geranium is a perennial too. So your shrubs and the plants that will form the foundation of your garden are perennials – shrubs, trees and the like. Some vegetable plants are perennial too. They will keep providing produce year after year.

According to Wikipedia there are 422 different species of geranium. In my experience they are very hardy. You can grow them in plants or in your garden.

LostInParadise's avatar

There are many ways of classifying plants. One way is by using the species identification system that covers all living things. You can look here to see geranium classification For people identifying plants, usually the bottom three classifiers are of interest – family, genus and species. Geraniums form a genus having many different species.

Notice the part of the geranium classification on the right that lists “eudicot” between division and order. There is a major split of flowering plants between monocots and dicots/eudicots. You can read about it here

This is a good site for leaning the most common plant families Actually, these are just the most common families in the U.S. Conspicuously absent is the orchid family, which only has a small number of species outside of the tropics, but overall has the largest number. The other very large family is the sunflower/aster family.

Finally, you mention annuals and perennials. Annuals and perennials are characteristics of plants that are not part of the official classification system. There are additionally, bi-annual plants that live for two years.

I am no expert in this area. There are others on this site who can tell you more. I hope though that this is enough to get you started.

gailcalled's avatar

Here are my two bibles, both available used at Amazon.

Taylor’s Guide to Annuals

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials

To be accurate, there is both an annual geranium (pelargolum) and a perennial one (cranesbill).

Start reading; start admiring your neighbors’ gardens; start to talk to other gardeners, dig a small bed and plant something or several somethings.

Your sunflowers are annuals and planted yearly with seeds.

I found some perennial sunflowers, growing wild by the side of the road and adopted a few. Now I have hundreds and have to weed them.Here

I find myself on the verge of rewriting and illustrating a garden book so will reluctantly stop.

One of my perennial spring gardens here

Sunny spring garden here and here and here

Front garden in early summer: here

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