Annuals given winter care can become perennials

Published 2:52 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

By Eddie Smith
MSU Extension Service

During my Southern Gardening travels across Mississippi, I have observed how plants grow differently across the state. For example, several perennial plants that typically grow in some areas act as annuals in other areas due to colder winter temperatures.

However, by planting these plants in containers and bringing them inside during the winter, they can be enjoyed for many years, no matter where you live in Mississippi.

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One of my favorites, Crossandra Orange Marmalade, is a prime example of a perennial plant that may act as an annual in areas of Mississippi. This plant, also known as firecracker flower, flourishes in the hot and humid summers of Mississippi but struggles to survive the cold winters.

This is a resilient plant that has clusters of frilly, vibrant orange flowers that captivate attention. Its glossy, bright green foliage adds to its allure.

Gardeners have the option to plant Crossandra Orange Marmalade directly in the ground for a single season of dazzling display or grow it in containers. This makes the plant portable for easy transport indoors during the winter.

Regardless of its lifespan, this easy-to-grow plant never fails to captivate with its long-lasting blooms and lush foliage.

Vincas are one of the most beautiful and versatile plants I have ever come across. But did you know they are a perennial plant? With their vibrantly colored petals, drought tolerance and low-maintenance nature, these plants will grow for many years if planted in containers and brought inside during the winter.

Vincas can thrive in a variety of soil types, making them adaptable and easy to grow. They produce small, five-petaled flowers that come in an array of colors such as pink, purple, white and red.

They are an ideal choice for adding color to an outdoor or indoor space.

Another noteworthy perennial plant posing as an annual is the Golden Yellow shrimp plant. Primarily treated as an annual in most of Mississippi, it can transition into a perennial if grown in containers and sheltered indoors during winter.

This plant showcases yellow bracts followed by slender, tubular, white flowers, each measuring between 1 and 2 inches long. While the yellow bracts are the main attraction, the surprise of the white flowers adds an extra layer of beauty.

Butterflies and hummingbirds are particularly drawn to this plant, making it an ideal addition to any garden.

You may be surprised by how many plants you thought were annuals that are actually perennials.

Find more information on annual and perennial plants at