The key difference between annual and perennial plants is that annual plants complete their life cycle in one season, especially during one year, while perennial plants grow and spread for more than two years, showing a longer life cycle.
Any proud homeowner would like to have both annuals and perennials in his or her garden. An annual plant lives just for one year only and then it dies. It has to be planted again in the next spring. However, a perennial plant has a longer lifespan. Once planted successfully, it is likely to live for many years.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Annual Plants
3. What are Perennial Plants
4. Similarities Between Annual and Perennial Plants
5. Side by Side Comparison – Annual vs Perennial Plants in Tabular Form
What are Annual Plants?
Annual plants are a type of plant that lives only one season or one year. During one season, they complete all the processes, starting from germination to production of seeds. Once they complete their short life cycle, they die. Hence, we need to replace them every year. Annual plants tend to be less bushy, but they are showier than perennials. Moreover, they flower pretty fast and wide. They branch out nicely as well.
Furthermore, they produce many flowers till they reach their maximum size, and finally, they die due to cold weather. It is necessary to prune annual plants and apply fertilizers efficiently throughout their short lifespan.
What are Perennial Plants?
Perennials plants are plants that live for more than two years. In fact, they live for many years. Moreover, perennials are characterized by the quality of being bushy, unlike annual plants. Furthermore, perennials grow to attain more height than annuals, which are characterized by a normal height of about 10 to 15 inches. However, perennials 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. Besides, they need more fertilizers than annuals for better growth. Most importantly, 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. In addition, some plants that are perennials in tropical lands behave like annuals in colder climates. Some Examples of such weather sensitive plants are Lantana, Osteospermum, and snapdragons.
What are the Similarities Between Annual and Perennial Plants?
- Annual and perennial plants are two groups out of three groups of plants.
- They produce flowers and seeds.
What is the Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants?
The key difference between annual and perennial plants is that annual plants live only one season, especially one year while perennial plants live more than two years. Another main difference between annual and perennial plants is that perennials are bushy plants, whereas annuals tend to be less bushy. Moreover, annuals are showier than perennials.
Some examples for annuals are poppies, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias, and petunias while some examples for perennials are lilies, salvia, cranesbill, peonies, hydrangea, campanula, delphiniums, alchemilla, kniphofia, roses, peonies, and daffodils. Furthermore, perennials grow to attain more height than annuals, which are characterized by a normal height of about 10 to 15 inches. This is also a difference between annual and perennial plants.
Summary – Annual vs Perennial Plants
The key difference between annual and perennial plants is that annual plants live only for one year while perennial plants live for many years. Thus, annual plants die annually. We need to replace them every year. In contrast, perennial plants, once established, live a longer lifetime. Only the top portion of the plant dies and regrows. Moreover, perennial plants are bushy and grow into higher heights than annuals.
1. “Doperwt rijserwt peulen Pisum sativum” By Rasbak – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cykoria podroznik pokroj” By Agnieszka Kwiecień (Nova) – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia