Annual plants are plants with a life cycle that lasts only one year. They grow from seed, bloom, produce seeds and die in one growing season. They then need to be replanted each spring.
Most annuals bloom for a long time. They provide beautiful colors from spring through fall and are popular with flower gardeners. Some favorite annuals are petunias, marigolds and zinnias.
Perennial plants live for more than two years. They return year after year and continue growing until they reach maturity, which varies by plant but averages three to five years.
The term “perennial” refers to herbaceous (“green”) plants since woody plants, such as trees, are perennial by definition.
Unlike annuals, perennials tend to bloom for just a short time — one to three weeks — each year. Examples of popular perennial flowers include tulips, asters, black-eyed susans and lilies.
Perennials generally do not have to be replanted each year. However, some gardeners choose to replace certain perennials, such as the perennial flowers mentioned above, every three to five years if they start to decline.