One distinction that budding gardeners need to get their head around are the differences, advantages and disadvantages of perennials and bedding plants.

While both have their own charm, their lifespans and maintenance needs paint distinct pictures. Understanding which type of plant should go where in your garden can be what separates an outdoor that looks its best year-round with minimal maintenance and a barren-looking garden that needs constant upkeep.

Bedding plants – Live fast and beautiful

Otherwise known as annuals, bedding plants are the vibrant stars of the gardening world.

They live by the idea of a flame that burns brightest burns the shortest, completing their entire life cycle within a single season. Popular choices like marigolds, petunias, impatiens and lobelias bring bursts of life to containers, hanging baskets and containers, turning them into stunning focal points.

But while bedding plants might offer relatively quick and beautiful returns, their fleeting nature requires dedication. Seasonal planting, watering, feeding and dead heading are essential to maintain their bloom, and they are unfortunately susceptible to pests and diseases.

With that said, the rewards are undeniable.

  • Their rapid growth allows you to quickly create a vibrant display, adding colour and texture to your garden (almost) overnight.
  • With a vast array of colours, shapes and sizes available, you can easily tailor your bedding scheme to your unique styles and preferences.
  • Bedding plants allow you to embrace the changing seasons – Swap out summer's vibrant hues for cool autumnal tones with viola and pansies, or introduce some festive cheer with cyclamen.


Perennials – Does slow and steady win the race?

If bedding plants are the sprinters of the garden, perennials are the marathon runners.

Once planted, perennials will return to grace your garden year after year with vibrant blooms and captivating foliage. Think sun-loving lavender, lush ferns and colourful daylilies.

While perennials are comparatively low-maintenance compared to bedding plants, they are not a simple fire-and-forget solution. They take time to establish themselves and reach their full potential, and typically cost more than inexpensive annuals – especially if you need to fill out a larger bed.

However, if you have an eye on long-term ‘forever' plants, perennials will offer:

Low-maintenance gardening, saving you the annual chore of replanting and demanding only occasional pruning or division
Varied looks, with some perennials blooming for a specific period while others offer year-round aesthetics with foliage.
A cost-effective garden in the long run, with potentially years of enjoyment offsetting the higher initial cost.

So, which one is the best choice for you?

As you've just read, both perennials and bedding plants have their own advantages and disadvantages. Before you get started planning or planting, consider these three practical factors:

Garden Centre in Kent and Rainham


Garden Centre in Kent and Rainham


Desired Bloom Time

Bedding Plants

If you crave a continuous explosion of colour throughout the summer and into the autumn, bedding plants are your champions. Their rapid growth and vibrant blooms ensure your garden remains a dazzling spectacle from spring to autumn. Popular choices like petunias, marigolds, and impatiens offer a non-stop visual feast, transforming your space into a colourful wonderland.


While most perennials boast stunning blooms during specific periods, their charm extends beyond their flowering season. Their attractive foliage often provides year-round visual interest, even in winter. However, to maintain a constant display throughout the year, strategically combine perennials with different blooming times. This ensures your garden is always adorned with floral beauty, creating a tapestry of colour that unfolds throughout the seasons.


Maintenance Time


Time-pressed gardeners, rejoice! Perennials are your low-maintenance allies. Once established, they require minimal upkeep, thriving with occasional division or pruning to maintain their shape and encourage healthy growth. This translates to less time spent on planting and replanting, allowing you to enjoy your flourishing garden with minimal effort.

Bedding Plants

While bedding plants offer undeniable visual rewards, their fleeting nature demands more frequent attention. Seasonal planting, watering, dead heading and feeding are crucial to maintain their stunning blooms throughout the season. Additionally, their susceptibility to pests and diseases requires a watchful eye to keep them thriving.


Garden Design

Bedding Plants

Think of bedding plants as the temporary bursts of colour in your garden's artistic expression. They are ideal for adding seasonal flair to specific areas, like filling containers, hanging baskets, and creating vibrant borders. Their quick growth allows for easy experimentation and seasonal changes, letting you transform your garden's look throughout the year.


Perennials are the building blocks that provide structure and stability to your garden design. They are perfect for creating borders, foundation plantings, and naturalised areas. Their enduring presence ensures a consistent visual framework, offering a sense of permanence and grounding your garden throughout the seasons.


Remember, the best garden design often lies in a harmonious blend. Combine the vibrant bursts of bedding plants with the enduring beauty of perennials to create a garden that reflects your unique style and flourishes with minimal effort.

Ready to bring your garden to life? Visit Gardening World Limited!

We offer a wide selection of stunning perennials, vibrant bedding plants, and expert advice to help you create the perfect garden for you. Let's work together to transform your outdoor space into a thriving haven that brings you joy for years to come.