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

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Annuals will certainly provide continuous blooms transparent the cultivation season.

Plants are classified by the variety of growing seasons forced to complete their life cycle. Generally, these groups are annuals, biennials, and perennials. Annuals will certainly provide constant blooms throughout the growing season, if biennials provide blooms throughout their 2nd year the growth. Perennials will bloom for 2 come 8 weeks or longer, however, bloom time will certainly vary and can occur during the beginning, middle, or finish of the growing season.


Annuals take a single year to complete a complete life cycle. Many are planted in the spring, bloom in the summer, and also die in the fall. A few, recognized as winter annuals, germinate in the later summer and also autumn, space dormant throughout the winter, and grow during the following spring and summer. Plenty of plants treated as annuals in northern climates such together Pennsylvania are actually perennials when grown in southern climates. This plants room not cold hardy and also are no able to resist winter temperature in ours hardiness zones (zones 4b to 6b, average yearly minimum temperature in between -25 F and also 0 F). Other than for those the reseed themselves, annuals will not thrive a 2nd year uneven they are replanted. Annuals are commonly grouped as "hardy," "half-hardy," or "tender." This refers to:

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

Hardy annuals

Include plants such together pansies, ornamental kale, and also dusty millerAre maybe to withstand cold soil and also hard frostsMay it is in winter hardy, and also able to survive winter temperature if sown in the fall, relying on the severity that the winterIdeal for cool weather gardens back they often will dice in the warm of summer.

Half-hardy annuals

Include tree such together snapdragon, petunia, and also alyssumCan withstand a limited amount of cold temperatures and light frost. Although, if the seeds is sown also early and also germinates, also a light frost may damages the seedlings.Summer warmth may cause half-hardy annuals to decline, however cooler autumn temperatures seem come revive the plants, often inducing growth and also blooming.

Tender annuals

Include tree such together impatiens, vinca, and also zinniaCannot stand up to freezing temperaturesShould be sown outdoors just after the danger of frost has passed.Seed is often sown in a greenhouse throughout the spring and grown to tiny plants that room transplanted in the garden after the critical frostWill grow relatively well and also bloom transparent the warmth of the summer

A plant can grow together a hardy annual, or even be treated as a hardy biennial or perennial, in the reduced Delaware valley area that southeastern Pennsylvania. However these very same plants may be thought about a half-hardy or tender yearly in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania.


Biennials take double as long to complete a full life cycle as annuals. They need a dormant period, induced by cold temperatures, in between plant growth and also blooming. Biennials are usually sown in the spring, vegetative during the summer, dormant that fall, live in this inactive state through the winter, flower the 2nd summer, set seed, and die during the complying with fall. If biennials space grown in regions where winter temperature are cooler than the plants hardiness, a cold frame can be provided as a temporary sanctuary for plants.

Some biennials deserve to be treated together annuals by sowing seeds in the summer that will certainly germinate and be exposed come chilling temperatures to induce flowering in the fall and also over winter, and also resume growth and flower the next spring.


Perennials used in Pennsylvania landscapes are cold hardy sufficient to survive winter temperatures, for this reason they live longer than both annuals and biennials. Perennials space classified as either herbaceous or woody.


Characteristics of herbaceous perennials include

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

Herbaceous perennials that are not cold durable or can not tolerate yes, really cold climates normally die once the floor freezes. These perennials are often treated together annuals.


Bulbous tree are frequently referred to together bulbs, tubers, corms, or rhizomes. True bulbs space actually fleshy food warehouse centers for underground stems indigenous which the next season"s plants will grow. Corms are additionally food storage centers however are an ext scaly and also solid. Rhizomes and also tubers room actually thick underground stems. To be classified correctly, this group belongs through perennial flowers since bulbous plants come back and flower year after ~ year.

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Woody Plants

Characteristics the woody perennials include:

Top development does no die earlier in the fall (deciduous plants drop leaves, yet stems carry out not die)Larger plants every year as brand-new growth grows from existing stems

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