Annual & Perennials Combos For New England Gardens

Annual & Perennials Combos For New England Gardens

Add Charm to Your Garden with Annuals & Perennials Combos

If you want to add some color and vibrancy to your garden or outdoor space, then there’s no better way than planting the perfect annual and perennial combinations. While living in New England you get to enjoy three seasons of blooms, which makes choosing the right planting combinations a little tricky. However, with careful planning, you can create stunning garden arrangements that will thrive throughout the blooming season. In this post, we’ll be discussing some of the most popular annual and perennial combos for New England gardens.

What Is The Difference Between Annuals and Perennials?

Are you a budding gardener looking to spruce up your yard? Understanding the difference between annuals and perennials can make or break your garden dreams, especially in the ever-changing climate of New England.

Annuals are plants that typically only last one season, but with proper watering, fertilization, and deadheading blooms (for some varieties), they will continue blooming until the first frost.

Perennials come back year after year with only one bloom cycle lasting about 2-3 weeks (typically). This means that if you want to add pops of seasonal color to your garden each year, annuals are the way to go. However, if you want a more sustainable and low-maintenance option, perennials may be the better choice.

Planting Annuals To Fill In Between Blooming Perennials

When starting or adding to a perennial garden bed, do some research as to what month will the perennial bloom. As most perennials (bleeding hearts, tulips, daffodils etc.) only bloom once a season, for about 2 weeks, it’s important to plan your design so something is in bloom in your garden all season long. Although, some perennials, like hydrangeas will bloom in mid-late summer, and last until frost. Others like the popular hosta, will bloom for 2 weeks around mid-July, but they still keep their leaves and shape until frost.

With that said, you can plan on larger perennials that still keep there shape and leaves after bloom time (like hosta), whereas perennials like tulips, bleeding hearts etc. will completely dye off and will need to be cut back. If you draw out on paper first and plan your perennial design around bloom time and the “extended life” of the perennial, then you can map out where each plant should be planted within the bed to maximize a colorful garden all season. And then you can decide where to add your season long annuals into the gaps to really maximize a full blooming garden.

One more thing to think about with adding annuals to a flower bed is do they need to be deadheaded.

Annuals like marigolds, petunias and zinnias continually need to be deadheaded, which means you have to snap off the dead blooms to set the next bloom below it to start the next bloom. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to be bending over to the ground to deadhead these plants. I prefer to use these type of plants in a hanging basket or large pots so you can easily just bend slightly over to deadhead.

Perennial And Annual Combos

Pansies & Tulips

This combination is perfect for the early spring months when temperatures are still chilly. Pansies are a hardy annual that can withstand the cold, and their bright and bold colors will cheer up your garden during those gloomy days. When planted with tulips, these annuals create a striking contrast against the pastel colors of the tulips. Moreover, the pansies will extend the blooming time of your garden, providing color until the tulips fade away.

Black-Eyed Susan & Salvia

This combination is perfect for the summer months, and these two plants make a beautiful contrast. The striking blooms of the Black-Eyed Susan and the bright blue of the Salvia make for an impressive combination. The black-eyed Susan is a native perennial popular in New England and is very low maintenance. The Salvia, on the other hand, is an annual that can reseed, which means you will not have to replant it year after year. It is also a pollinator-friendly plant, drawing hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.

Coreopsis & Zinnias

For a stunning late summer and fall display, try combining yellow or gold coreopsis with hot pink or red zinnias. These two plant varieties make great companions, and they both attract pollinators, which is a bonus for your garden. Coreopsis is a perennial that is drought-resistant, while zinnias are annuals that will bloom all summer long. Together, they’ll create a beautiful and vibrant display in your garden.

Astilbe & Caladiums

For a bright and vibrant display, you can pair the delicate-looking astilbe with caladiums. Astilbes are shade-loving perennials that produce fluffy, pinkish, or white blooms. Caladiums, on the other hand, are annuals famous for their large, brightly colored leaves. Caladiums come in various colors and patterns, which make them perfect for adding some boldness to your garden combination. Both of these plants prefer moist soils, so remember to water them properly.

Daffodils & Pansies

This combination is magnificent and works well in early spring. Daffodil bulbs are planted in the fall, and their blooms will emerge before any of the other perennials, adding a pop of yellow to your garden. After they fade, pansies can be planted, filling your garden with colorful cheer, and extending the bloom time. Having these two plants together in your garden, you’ll have all eyes on your beautiful, serene space, even if it’s the first sign of spring.


Annuals and perennials are a winning combination in any garden, and in New England, where we experience all four seasons, creating the perfect annual and perennial combo is a necessity. By incorporating these combinations, choosing the plants for their bloom time and extended life cycle you can create something special, adding pops of vibrant colors and texture that will continually evolve throughout the season. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting, these tips and combinations will make your garden look like a professional’s design. So, what are you waiting for? Start planting, and watch your garden come to life.