Plant Life Cycles

The difference between perennials, annuals, and biennials

Here are a few simple terms that are essential if you want to make sure you are getting the kind of plant you expect.

Annual: A plant that grows from seed, flowers, sets seed, and dies, all in a single season. (If you keep the dead flowers picked off you can fool many of these into flowering all summer which makes them great for container displays.)

Perennial: A plant that will come back year after year, getting larger as years pass. Some perennials do not flower in their first year.

Biennial: A two year plant - biennials spend their first year growing stems and leaves, and flower in the second year. These are not great plants for instant gratification.