|Annuals & Biennials||Perennials|
An ANNUAL PLANT is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. True annuals will only live longer than a year if they are prevented from setting seed. Some seedless plants can also be considered annuals even though they do not grow a flower.
A BIENNIAL PLANT is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. In the first year the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots (vegetative structures), then it enters a period of dormancy over the colder months. Usually the stem remains very short and the leaves are low to the ground, forming a rosette. Many biennials require a cold treatment, or vernalization, before they will flower. During the next spring or summer, the stem of the biennial plant elongates greatly, or "bolts." The plant then flowers, producing fruits and seeds before it finally dies.
A PERENNIAL PLANT or PERENNIAL (Latin per, "through", annus, "year") is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. However, depending on the rigors of local climate, a plant that is a perennial in its native habitat, or in a milder garden, may be treated by a gardener as an annual and planted out every year, from seed, from cuttings or from divisions. Perennial plants can be short-lived (only a few years) or they can be long-lived, as are some woody plants like trees which can live for over 4,000 years. They can vary in height from only a few millimeters to over 100 meters tall. They include a wide assortment of plant groups from ferns and liverworts to the highly diverse flowering plants like Orchids and Grasses.