Distinguish the Difference Between Annual Vs Perennial Plants

7 min read

Whether we talk about ornamental flowers or vegetables, plants have a defined life cycle, unless there is a specific accident that causes them to die unnaturally. Thus, there are two categories of plants: annual plants and perennial plants. We also have biennial plants, and their appearance changes with the seasons.

Annual plants, such as poppies, only survive in warm weather. Leaves, stems, and roots disappear at the beginning of winter. Only the released seeds resist the cold. In the following spring, they can germinate and produce new seeds.

Perennial plants can live for several years. In autumn, deciduous trees (for example, plane tree) and shrubs, such as vines, scattered their leaves, leaving buds on their branches that are well protected from cold and rain by their scales. Other plants (such as tulips, dahlias, irises, etc.) lose their leaves and stems and retain only their resistant underground parts, bulbs, rhizomes, or tubers, which bear shoots. In spring, the buds of perennial plants develop; stems and leaves reappear. Thus, perennial plants continue to live year after year.

As you read this, you can discover the following:

• Description About Perennial Plants
• Perennial Plants Care
• Description About Annual Plants
• Annual Plants Care
• Biennial Plants

Description About Perennial Plants

Perennials live a long time. Most of them bloom every year. A perennial is a plant that can live for several years. It survives the winter in the form of specialized underground organs protected from the cold and stored in reserve (roots, bulbs, and rhizomes). It is a perennial and non-woody plant that comes back every year and does not make wood, unlike trees and shrubs. The term “perennial plant” is more often used by gardeners to refer to a herbaceous plant that can withstand the rigors of the wrong season, whether it is winter frost or the drought of hot summers. In horticulture, this term can be contrasted with “annual” or “biennial.” However, many “annual” plants can be perennial in certain climates or their native environment. All woody plants (trees, shrubs, or bushes) are perennial.

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Their flowering and seed production does not lead to their death since they are perennial.

We should make a distinction between :

• Ephemeral perennials: these are the weakest. They are treated as annuals or biennials and are therefore uprooted at the end of their flowering period when the frost has killed them (Foxglove and Thunbergia).
• Herbaceous perennials: these perennial plants wilt when autumn arrives, remain at rest during the winter thanks to their survival organs (bulb, rhizome, or tuber), then reappear in spring. They multiply by the seeds they produce or by asexual reproduction resulting from fragmentation (a cutting or division.).
• Woody perennials: these are trees and shrubs that lose their leaves, overwinter but do not die and resume their growth in spring, as soon as the good weather arrives.

Perennials can retain their foliage in the wrong season. More often than not, the leaf dries out, and the plant survives due to the stump left in the soil. Some perennials can survive under the climatic conditions adapted to their original habitat. Thus, perennials of tropical origin can only be grown in temperate or cold climates as annuals or as greenhouse plants, sheltered during the cold season.

Some examples of perennials: asparagus, cardoon, mint, strawberry, periwinkle, valerian, iris, daisy, lily of the valley, lily of the valley, tulip, and dahlia.

Perennial Plants Care

Season after season, learn to take care of perennials so that their strain grows and brings you more flowers and a more massive clump every year. You can plant perennials throughout the year. The only drawback is frosty periods. It is advisable to do so in early autumn on well-drained soil. Follow our advice to take good care of your perennials.

Caring for perennials in spring:

• If you did not do this in winter: remove all the dried parts of the plant (leaves and stems).
• Carefully weed around the base of the perennial plant to prevent it from competing with weeds when the plant starts to grow again.
• Incorporate well-decomposed compost by scratching the soil at the roots.
• Keep the stem clear to give the new shoots all the light they need.

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Caring for Perennials in summer:

• Water young perennial plantings.
• Continue weeding.
• Remove wilted flowers regularly.

Caring for perennials in autumn:

• Weed at the foot of the perennials.
• Take advantage of the prolonged flowering of summer perennials by continuing to remove wilted flowers.

Care of perennials in winter:

During the cold season, perennials disappear from the soil surface. They overwinter as a strain, so it is important to mark their location with a tag.

• Always weed the area to keep it clean and free from competition with the roots of your perennial plant.
• Remove all aerial parts of the plant: dried leaves and stems. Unless you wish to keep them to provide shelter for auxiliary insects (ladybirds) for the winter.
• Generously mulch the stump with ferns fronds.

Description About Annual Plants

Annual plants complete their entire vegetative cycle in a single season. They, therefore, produce their flowers, fruits, and seeds in the year of sowing, and then they can dry out and die. However, this does not necessarily mean that they can disappear, since some of the seeds that fall to the ground can germinate the following year. This is called spontaneous sowing. They have the advantage of growing and flowering quickly and being easy to maintain, which is ideal for rapidly filling window boxes or flower beds.

They are available in a variety of shapes (hanging, ground cover, erect) and in an extensive choice of colors, allowing you to find plants that can fit into your existing compositions quickly, or fill in gaps in pots or flowerbeds. They are admired for their ability to blossom a garden during the summer and autumn seasons quickly.

Annual plants Care

To meet their needs, these plants generally require fertile, loose, well-drained soil. We recommend adding compost to the soil when planting or a granular slow-release flower fertilizer. In mid-summer, it is often necessary to repeat this fertilization to maintain vigor and flowering. You can remove wilted flowers as they bloom to make it easier for new stems to grow.

Fertilize and cut back the plants to maintain strength. Towards the end of July, some annuals begin to show signs of degeneration. To reinvigorate them, fold them down – prune the plants in half to remove much of the yellowing foliage and seeds that are forming.

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In addition to pruning, fertilizer is appropriate. After this rejuvenation treatment, the annuals start to grow and flower again quickly until the end of the season. As their life cycle is concise, they only require regular watering, especially after planting. Water, preferably in the morning, and wait until the soil has dried before watering again. Apply fertilizer regularly, at least once a week. Also, annual plants are not very susceptible to disease but may be attacked by aphids, in which case they should need to be treated.

Biennial Plants

Biennial plants need two years to flower and flourish before they die. In the first year, they produce only leaves. The plant develops and stores reserves. In the second year, it forms one or more aerial stems, with or without leaves, which can blossom before giving seeds. Nasturtiums, centaurs, and white flax are biennial plants.

In the first year, the plant develops a vegetative system: roots, stems, and leaves. Then it goes into dormancy during the cold months. Often, the stem remains short, and the leaves are close to the ground. The plant usually survives the bad season with its buds at ground level. Many biennial plants require cold treatment or vernalization before they can flower.

Plants, particularly herbaceous plants, are generally divided into annuals, biennials, and perennials. On the one hand, annual plants die at the end of the season and disappear entirely except for the seeds. Biennials are plants that flower at the end of the second year. The first year is devoted to the vegetative development of the plant and the storage of reserves. On the other hand, perennials are plants with a life span of several years, in which flowering and seed production does not necessarily lead to the death of the plant.

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