Botanically, an annual plant is a plant that germinates, flowers and dies in one year. True annuals will only live longer if they are prevented from setting seed.
In gardening, annual often refers to a plant grown outdoors in the spring and summer and surviving just for one growing season. Some perennials and biennials are grown in gardens as annuals for convenience, particularly if they are not considered cold or heat hardy for the local climate.
Ornamental annualer perennials commonly grown as annuals are impatiens, wax begonia, snapdragon, violets, coleus and petunia. Some biennials that can be grown as annuals are pansy and hollyhock.
Summer annuals sprout, flower and die within the same spring/summer/fall.
Winter Annuals are plants that have an annual life span but tend to germinate in the fall or winter and bloom in late autumn/fall, winter or early spring. The plants grow and bloom during the cool season when most other plants are dormant. Winter annuals die after flowering and setting seed, the seeds wait to germinate until the soil temperature is cool again in the fall or winter. Winter annuals typically grow low to the ground, where they are usually sheltered from the coldest nights by snow cover, and make use of warm periods in winter for growth when the snow melts.
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