Horticultural Plant Types

We are going to focus our attention just on the ‘Herbaceous Group’ of plants which are the most common seeds that you will buy to grow as cut flowers… 

Herbaceous Plants (what does that mean?)

Herbaceous plants do not develop a woody stem or structure and their stems usually die down in winter…

Plant Types

When choosing cut flower seeds to grow you will often see these symbols or abbreviations, they really help when telling the difference between Annual and Perennial Delphiniums for example.


Here is a quick guide to what they mean:

HA = Hardy Annual 

An Annual is an Herbaceous plant that completes its life cycle in 1 year…

Annuals are divided into ‘Hardy’ and ‘Half Hardy’

HHA = Half Hardy Annual

Half Hardy Annuals will not tolerate Frost and cannot be planted in the garden until the all danger of frost has passed (5-9th May for us here in Buckinghamshire)

B – Biennial

Sometimes shown as Bi or HB – Hardy Biennial

A biennial is an herbaceous plant that completes its lifecycle in 2 years, making vegetative growth in the 1st years and usually flowering in the 2nd.

HP – Hardy Perennial 

A  Perennial is an Herbaceous plant that has a life of more than 2 years

The term ‘perennials’ usually mean hardy perennials which are those that can survive a winter outdoors… however some perennials are Tender.

TP – Tender Perennial

Sometimes shown as HHP – Half Hardy Perennial

These plants will need winter protection in cooler climates like the UK.

One final one you might see is

SP -Short-lived Perennial

Some perennials only last for a few years before they need replacing, so if they suddenly give up the ghost after blooming lovely… it’s nothing you did, they just got old!

Want to know more?
Why not attend our Cut Flower GARDENING Workshop…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely simple guide! I remember finding all this a bit confusing when I started gardening.

    1. Swan Cottage Flowers says:

      Thank you so much for the encouragement xxx Zoe

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