The Main Difference Between Annual And Perennial Grass Seeds

By Brian Mounts | Jul 03, 2020
Difference Between Annual And Perennial Grass Seeds

You must have heard of the words annual and perennial plants quite a number of times. You most likely have even come across them in some your text, but unfortunately, you either skipped or can’t tell much the difference anymore.

But now you’ve taken into gardening and to excel at your game you need to at least know what you’re going into. Never mind, we’ll be helping you with everything you need to know about annual and perennial seeds. Hopefully, this will help you in starting your gardening voyage on the right foot.

What Are Annual Grass Seeds

Annual grass seeds are grass seeds with a lifecycle lasting not more than a year. This means that they grow from seed, they bloom, they produce seeds themselves, and they die eventually. It is important to note that all of these happens in the planting year.

Annual plants have to be replanted each year. One particularly astounding quality common in annual grasses is that they bloom for extended periods. They often bloom in attractive colors from spring all the way to fall.

Annual grass seeds execute their entire life cycle and full transition in a single growing season notwithstanding how favorable growing conditions or temperature may seem.

Categories Of Annual Grasses

Examples of annual grasses include annual ryegrass and bluegrass. We could broadly group annual grasses under two headings. Winter annuals or cold-season annuals and summer annuals, otherwise known as warm-season perennials.

#1. Winter Annuals:

This type of annual grasses falls under the cold-season species. They normally germinate during late summer and into the fall season.

#2. Summer Annuals:

This type of annual grasses falls under the warm-season species. They seed during late spring into early summer.

What Are Perennial Grass Seeds

Perennial grass seeds are grass seeds whose lifecycle exceeds two years. Perennial plants keep returning yearly, and they remain this way until they reach maturity. Maturity span varies with each plant, but on the average, it lasts for about three to five years.

Unlike annual grass seeds, perennial plants do not have to be replanted year in year out. However, with some perennials, the longer they fruit, the more reduced their yields become. And it is for this reason that most lawn owners and gardeners replace them.

Although, you might begin to notice wilting at the top portion during winter. But this really nothing to worry about as regrowth always occurs when spring comes. Most perennial grasses thrive best when the soil pH is just a little acidic. Maybe somewhere around 6.5 to 7.0. They also grow best when there are about six to eight hours of sunlight daily.

As usual, you must irrigate deeply and less frequently. This is necessary because this method of irrigation promotes deep and dense rooting and also helps ward off insect pests and diseases.

What Are The Main Differences Between Annual And Perennial Grass Seeds?

Perhaps, the most obvious difference between the two grass types is the length of its growing season. While perennials regrow every spring, annual grasses live only for one season before dying off. Also, when compared to annual grasses, perennials grass seeds have a shorter time of blooming.

Another thing that might pique your interest is the fact that annual grasses take only about a few weeks to grow. On the other hand, perennials take about the whole year to begin growing. A resultant effect is that annual plants produce faster, while perennial grasses produce slower. Annual grasses are also short-lived, whereas perennial grasses live longer in terms of lifespan.

Advantages OfAnnual Grass Seeds

#1. Blooming Season

Annual grass seeds, unlike perennials, enjoy a long blooming season. They are usually grown to cover up bare spots and color gaps that are caused by garden perennials.

#2. Cost

They are usually cheaper when compared to perennials. When bought as beddings and seeds, annual grass seeds are way cheaper.

#3. They Produce Faster

Annual grass seeds produce faster and provide more blossom per plant than is common in perennials. This is especially a good thing if you want a quick way to produce colors in your garden. But the downside here is that they die as fast as they produce.

#5. Fights Erosion

Annual grass seeds have a well-established, soil compacting root system. They are usually cover crops, and because they are easily established in rocky, wet and even poor soils, they tolerate flooding well. Its best for grass waterways and exposed locations.

#6. Helps Build Soil

Annual grass seeds usually have a shallow root system which helps to improve the filtration of water as well as improve the tilth of the soil. Its vigorous above-ground growth serves as a good source for the supply of organic matter.

#7. Forage during Emergencies

Annual grasses like the ryegrass serve as a very good forage. If you so wish, you could even extend the period meant for grazing from late fall and into early spring. Since annual grasses sprout quickly, it produces sufficient forage within a short time.

Advantages of Perennial Grasses

#1. Improves the quality Of the Soil

The deep roots normally associated with perennial crops enhances the plant’s ability to reach deep into the soil to access water. This invariably means that less irrigation would be required, making them less susceptible to drought.

#2. Saves time, Labor and Energy

Perennial grasses require less upkeep. They use less fuel, labor, water and even fertilizers. We can go on to rightly conclude that you will expend less resource when growing perennial grasses.

#3. Reduces Green House Emission

How does it do this, you may ask? Perennial grasses dissolve carbon into the soil. When this happens, the soil quality goes a notch higher while at the same time mitigates the effects of climate change.

When Is The Best Season to Plant?

For perennial grasses such as fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, the most vigorous time of growth falls within late summer and enters into the month of early fall. If you can stick to fall, even better.

While annual grasses prefer the warm season weather. Warm-season grasses such as the Bermuda grass, Centipede grass and Zoysia grass thrive better when it warmer. This is usually around late spring and early summer.

Should I Go For Annual Or Perennial Grasses?

Well, this question greatly depends on you. If you’re looking for a quick fix, then annual grass seeds are the way to go. But if you a steady and long term growth, then perennial grass seeds should be worth considering.

The truth is, annual grass seeds are less valuable than their perennial counterpart as they quickly boom and fade. Whereas, perennial grass seeds grow during spring and fall and do not stop growing after only one season.


The age-long dilemma that all grasses are the same has hopefully been cleared. Annual grasses complete their life cycle in a year, and this isn’t a problem if that’s what you’re after.

Whereas, it might take perennials about three to five years before you might begin noticing noticeable changes. But the good news with perennials is that even into the years, you’ll be fine without having to worry about constant replanting.