Plants are classified by the number of growing seasons forced to complete their life cycle. Generally, these groups are annuals, biennials, and also perennials.

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Annuals will provide consistent blooms throughout the cultivation season.

Plants room classified by the number of growing seasons forced to finish their life cycle. Generally, these groups are annuals, biennials, and also perennials. Annuals will certainly provide continuous blooms throughout the cultivation season, if biennials provide blooms throughout their second year that growth. Perennials will certainly bloom because that 2 come 8 mainly or longer, however, bloom time will certainly vary and can occur during the beginning, middle, or finish of the growing season.


Annuals take it a solitary year to complete a complete life cycle. Most are planted in the spring, bloom in the summer, and die in the fall. A few, recognized as winter annuals, germinate in the later on summer and autumn, room dormant throughout the winter, and also grow during the next spring and summer. Many plants treated as annuals in north climates such together Pennsylvania space actually perennials once grown in southern climates. These plants space not cold hardy and are no able to resist winter temperatures in our hardiness zones (zones 4b come 6b, average yearly minimum temperature between -25 F and 0 F). Other than for those the reseed themselves, annuals will certainly not flourish a 2nd year unless they room replanted. Annuals are typically grouped together "hardy," "half-hardy," or "tender." This advert to:

When seed deserve to be sown out in the springTheir capability to tolerate beforehand spring and also fall frosts and also winter temperatures

Hardy annuals

Include plants such together pansies, ornamental kale, and dusty millerAre may be to withstand cold soil and hard frostsMay be winter hardy, and also able to make it through winter temperature if sown in the fall, depending upon the severity the the winterIdeal for cool weather gardens return they frequently will die in the warmth of summer.

Half-hardy annuals

Include tree such together snapdragon, petunia, and also alyssumCan stand up to a restricted amount of cold temperatures and also light frost. Although, if the particle is sown too early and germinates, also a light frost may damages the seedlings.Summer heat may reason half-hardy annuals come decline, but cooler loss temperatures seem to revive the plants, frequently inducing growth and also blooming.

Tender annuals

Include plants such as impatiens, vinca, and zinniaCannot withstand freezing temperaturesShould be sown outdoors just after the peril of frost has passed.Seed is often sown in a greenhouse throughout the spring and grown to small plants that are transplanted in the garden after the critical frostWill grow reasonably well and also bloom transparent the heat of the summer

A plant could grow as a durable annual, or also be treated as a durable biennial or perennial, in the reduced Delaware valley area the southeastern Pennsylvania. However these exact same plants may be considered a half-hardy or tender annual in the Laurel Highlands that southwestern Pennsylvania.


Biennials take double as lengthy to complete a complete life cycle as annuals. They call for a dormant period, induced through cold temperatures, between plant growth and blooming. Biennials space usually sown in the spring, vegetative throughout the summer, dormant the fall, live in this inactive state v the winter, flower the 2nd summer, set seed, and also die throughout the adhering to fall. If biennials are grown in regions where winter temperatures are chillier than the tree hardiness, a cold structure can be offered as a temporary sanctuary for plants.

Some biennials have the right to be treated as annuals by sowing seed in the summer that will germinate and be exposed come chilling temperature to induce flower in the fall and over winter, and also resume growth and also flower the next spring.


Perennials supplied in Pennsylvania landscapes room cold hardy sufficient to make it through winter temperatures, hence they live longer than both annuals and also biennials. Perennials space classified together either herbaceous or woody.


Characteristics that herbaceous perennials include

Top development that fully dies earlier to the ground during the winter, however, roots and also crowns remain alivePlants send up new growth the adhering to springUsually live for at least two year

Herbaceous perennials that are not cold durable or can not tolerate really cold climates generally die when the floor freezes. This perennials are frequently treated together annuals.


Bulbous plants are frequently referred to together bulbs, tubers, corms, or rhizomes. True bulbs are actually fleshy food warehouse centers for underground stems indigenous which the next season"s plants will grow. Corms are also food warehouse centers but are an ext scaly and also solid. Rhizomes and tubers are actually thick underground stems. To be classified correctly, this team belongs v perennial flowers due to the fact that bulbous plants come ago and flower year after year.

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Woody Plants

Characteristics of woody perennials include:

Top expansion does no die ago in the autumn (deciduous tree drop leaves, yet stems execute not die)Larger plants yearly as brand-new growth grow from currently stems

Prepared through Phyllis Lamont, customer horticulture center library coordinator and also Kathleen M. Kelley, assistant professor of consumer horticulture.