Difference Between Annual and Perennial

There is some kind of flowers which you cannot plant each spring. However, some flowers of other kinds are not needed to be planted, they grow up by themselves. This difference is because of the type of plant.

Some are plants are annual plants and some are perennial plants.

Annual vs Perennial

The main difference between Annual and Perennial is that you need to plant annual every year because they die in winters. Whereas, the perennial plants grow back every year by themselves. Perennials need to be planted only once.

Annual vs Perennial

Annual plants need to be replanted every year and you need to work more for growing annual every year. However, perennials require less work as they keep growing every year once they are planted.

You can also say that the major difference is the lifespan of both plants.


Comparison Table Between Annual and Perennial (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAnnualPerennial
Life CycleOne yearMore than two year
Dies WhenAnnuallyOnly top dies annually
Reproductive StructureSeedsSeeds & bulbils
Blooming timeAll season longSpring or summer of the second year
Flowers typeBright and ShowyLess Showy


What is Annual?

Annual plants are that who completes their lifecycle in one year i.e., from the germination till the seed is produced and then die. The annual plants produce beautiful flowers with beautiful colors.

Annuals are an all-season plant which means they bloom all season till the winters come. Annuals can be planted anytime also in mid summers.

Annuals have long bloom season as I have already mentioned.

There are winter as well as summer annuals. Summer annuals produce seeds and die in warm months. Whereas, in winters the winter annual plants grow and their life is till winter season.

Most gardeners prefer to plant annuals because they are bright and showy. There are various types of annuals, however, the most popular annuals are petunia, vinca, sunflowers, cosmos, and lantana.

Annuals have less time. So, they produce more seeds to make up within the given time. As annuals only bloom for one season, since no climatic zones or areas are mandatory for them. They will grow at the same time everywhere.

If you want your garden to look colorful, bright and showy, then you should go for annuals. In annual plants there is a fast growth of flowers and the seeds, you can call this the strategy of annuals.

They use this strategy to propagate from one season to next. As mentioned above annuals blooms till the winters.

However, you must also know that they start germinating very quickly after the winters are over.

Hence, they grow up before any other plants which help them to get more food and light than other plants.

Annual Plants

What is Perennial?

Unlike annuals, perennials can live for three or more seasons and they regrow every spring. Perennials usually have a shorter blooming period.

Perennials usually require less work. You need to grow them once and they regrow automatically every spring, because of their dormant root in the soil. Only the top portion of the plant dies.

There are some ever-blooming perennials that bloom longer. Perennials don’t have pressure to produce more seeds and flowers like annuals because they do it around from year to year.

Instead, they keep focusing on their roots and try to make it strong.

There are some popular perennials such as clematis, coneflowers, yarrow, peonies, and coreopsis. There are many more on the list, however, these are the most popular perennials.

Perennial plants usually grow plants with small flowers. Some are non-herbaceous perennials which are bergenia, it retains its leaves throughout the year.

Perennials grow their structure, in order to live one to next year.

The warmer climate is good for the growth of perennial plants. Their growth is mostly limited in a seasonal climate.

When you are talking about perennials then trees and shrubs are the basic perennials as grow for more than two years. There is also a type of perennial which is herbaceous perennial.

Herbaceous perennials are plants that usually grow flowers.

The top portion of these flowering plants dies during the fall and their dormant part i.e., root structure, remains as they are.

If you want to perform less maintenance in your garden and want permanence at the same time they should go for perennials.

Perennial Plants

Main Differences Between Annual and Perennial

  1. The annual plant’s lifecycle lasts only for one year. Whereas, perennials live for more than two years. Hence, you need to annuals every year and perennials only once, then they regrow every spring by themselves.
  2. When you plant annual plants they will only survive for one season. Whereas, perennial plants don’t need to be planted every year they regrow every spring. Hence, perennials require less work and maintenance.
  3. The whole body of the annual plants dies annually. Whereas, in perennials plants, only the top portion of the plant dies during the fall and the root structure becomes dormant in the soil.
  4. The characteristics of annual plants are they have rapid growth, the fast transition of flowers and very fast formation of seeds. Whereas, perennial plants can survive in extreme conditions.
  5. If we see the reproductive structure of both then annual plants mostly produce seeds. Whereas, perennial plants produce seeds and bulbils both. As annuals have less time, so they mainly focus on the production of seeds and produce as much as possible.
Difference Between Annual and Perennial



Above I have mentioned all the important aspects of both the annuals as well as of perennials. Both have their own properties and functions.

Usually, annuals bloom for all season long and perennials only bloom from spring or summer of the second year.

They also produce different kinds of flowers, annuals produce more showy and bright flowers, however, perennials produce less showy flowers. Time taken by both the annual and perennial is the main difference between them.

 There is also a genetic difference between them. Annual plants mainly focus on the reproduction of seeds.

However, perennial plants focus on building structure.

If you want your garden to be bright and showy then you can choose annuals. However, you can plant a mix of both in your garden to get the best.

Key Differences Between Annual and Perennial (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Annual and Perennial



  1. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-8137.1994.tb04036.x
  2. https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/?page=120030&search_field=all_fields&sort=date-desc
  3. https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/sssaj/abstracts/61/1/SS0610010262
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