Annual vs Perennial Plants
* Annual plants complete their life cycle in one year: Perennial plants have a longer life cycle.
* However, some plants that are perennials in their native land are treated as annuals in a different region.
Annuals and perennials are two kinds of plants that show enormous differences between them. An annual plant lives just for one year only and then it dies. It has to be planted again in the next spring. On the other hand a perennial plant lives year after year. Once planted successfully, it is likely to live for several years and quite possibly for ever.
It is quite likely that any proud home owner would like to have both the varieties, namely, annuals and perennials in his garden. One of the main differences between annuals and perennials is that the perennials are characterized by the quality of being bushy whereas annuals tend to be less bushy. Annuals are in fact showier than the perennials. Some examples for annuals are marigolds, zinnias and petunias.
Perennials grow to attain more height than annuals, which are characterized by a normal height of about 10 to 15 inches. Some of the annuals grow up to a height of even 35 inches.
Annuals and perennials show another big difference between them. Annuals flower pretty fast and wide. They branch out nicely too. They produce many flowers till they reach their maximum size and finally they die due to cold weather. Perennials on the other hand do not flower regularly. They produce fewer flowers or sometimes put on one good show in a year. The best examples of perennials that flower only once in a year are tulips.
Since perennials are likely to long last they certainly need more care than annuals. They need to be protected during winter by ample covering. They need more fertilizers than annuals for better growth. Perennials have to be safeguarded during their dormant stage so that they get a firm grounding in the soil. Once they are built up firm they are sure to survive the biting cold of the winter season.
There are some plants that are more weather sensitive; they are treated differently in different regions. That is, some plants that are perennials in tropical lands behave as annuals in colder climates. Some Examples of such weather sensitive plants are Lantana, Osteospermum and snapdragons.