What Does Perennial Plant Mean


When someone asked me, “What does perennial plant mean?” I had to give them an answer they would remember, not just a lecture on the difference between an annual and a perennial plant. As a nursery grower and plant lover in Nova Scotia, I want to offer an easy explanation.

Understanding Perennial Plants

The meaning of “Perennial,” according to Collins Dictionary, is:

  • Lasting or existing for a long time.
  • Continually recurring.

Let’s translate that into plant talk, especially focusing on native plants in Nova Scotia. Perennial plants are those that always come back to life after a long winter, such as:

  • Trees
  • Garden flowers
  • Native plants

Plant Zones and Perennial Growth

It’s important to consider different plant zones, ranging from 1-7 and 8-13, especially in regions like Nova Scotia. Here, the winters are cold and snowy. Some garden plants die each year, some look like they die but are really just going dormant, and deciduous trees lose their leaves. Native flowers succumb to the harsh environment, including snow, ice, rain, and freezing temperatures.

Perennial Plants in Different Climates

Observing plants in various parts of the world, including warmer climates, can be intriguing. For example, my mum in Australia grew a tomato plant for two years, making it a perennial plant there. However, in Nova Scotia, the tomato is an annual plant. It gets killed by frost in the autumn, and every spring, gardeners have to start anew by planting seeds.

Perennial vs. Annual Plants

It’s crucial to recognize which plants aren’t perennial, as these are the ones that won’t grow back each year. In Nova Scotia, understanding the distinction between perennial and annual plants is vital for gardeners, especially when they’re looking for tree seedlings or considering a fruit tree nursery in Nova Scotia.

Perennial Trees in Canada and Nova Scotia: Examples

In Canada, and more specifically in Nova Scotia, several perennial trees thrive due to their adaptability to the local climate. For example:

  1. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum): Famous for its vibrant fall colors and as the source of maple syrup, the sugar maple is a quintessential Canadian tree that grows well in Nova Scotia.
  2. White Pine (Pinus strobus): This evergreen tree is valued for its tall, straight growth, making it a popular choice for both landscaping and timber.
White pines - Little Tree Farms
White pines – Little Tree Farms


In summary, whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, recognizing and choosing the right plants for your garden, particularly native plants in Nova Scotia, is crucial. If you’re wondering where to buy tree seedlings in Nova Scotia, or looking for a reliable fruit tree nursery in Nova Scotia, remember that choosing perennial plants suited to our climate can make a significant difference in your gardening experience.

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