Difference between Annual and Perennial Plants

What are annual plants?

These plants complete their life cycle within a single growing season and eventually die. They typically take one year to complete their life cycle. The duration of the growing season varies with plants. Most of the food crops are annuals. Examples – Wheat and Oats.

Therophytes include many desert annuals that complete their growing season rapidly and survive the unfavourable dry or cold conditions in the form of seeds.

Summer annuals

They germinate during early summer or spring and mature by autumn. Example – Crabgrass.

Winter annuals

They germinate during autumn and mature by spring or summer of the following year. These winter annuals usually grow on lower grounds. Thus, they are sheltered from snow and the cold nights. Example – Chickweed.

What are perennial plants?

These plants live more than two years. The flowering perennials bloom during the summer and spring and die back every winter and autumn. They eventually return during summer or spring. Based on climate and soil, a perennial plant can also be treated as an annual plant in non-native regions. The following are the different types of perennial plants –

  • Evergreen perennial – Banana
  • Deciduous perennial – Mint
  • Monocarpic perennial – Agave
  • Woody perennial – Apple
  • Herbaceous perennial – Alfalfa

Difference between Annual and Perennial Plants

Annual Plants

Perennial Plants

They finish their life cycle in one season.

They can live for several years.

The annual plants die annually.

The perennial plants shred their top portion annually.

They must be replanted every year.

They can regrow.

Examples – Watermelon, Rice, Wheat, etc.

Examples – Mango, Tulips, Apple, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are biennial plants?

Biennial plants typically take two years to complete their life cycle. Usually, they show dormancy in the first year (colder months). Later they develop during the summer or spring. They eventually produce fruits and seeds before they die. Also, biennials are less in number compared to annuals and perennials. Examples – Silverbeet, Parsley, Colic weed, etc.


What are monocarpic and polycarpic plants?

Monocarpic includes flowering plants that produce flowers and seeds only once in their lifetime. Example – Bamboo. Polycarpic plants produce many flowers, fruits and seeds every year. Example – Mango.


Is carrot an annual or biennial plant?

Carrot is a herbaceous biennial plant. Typically, the lifecycle of a carrot plant takes two years to complete. It produces swollen roots in the first growing season. Later, the shoots and flowers emerge in the second year.

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