Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants

The main difference between annual and perennial plants is that the annual plants live for one growing season whereas perennial plants live for two or more growing seasons.

Annual or perennial plants are two types of plants with variable lifespans. Annual plants complete their life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season. Hence, the seed bridges the gap between two generations. The top portions of some perennial plants die in the winter and regrow in the spring, using the same root system. Other perennial plants keep their leaves throughout the year.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Annual Plants
      – Definition, Fats, Examples
2. What are Perennial Plants
     – Definition, Facts, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Annual and Perennial Plants
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Annual plants, Blooming, Growth Season, Perennial Plants, Seeds

Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants - Comparison Summary

What are Annual Plants

Annual plants refer to plants that complete their life cycle from germination to the production of a seed within one year and then die. The main purpose of an annual plant is to produce seeds, ensuring the propagation of the future generations. Therefore, most annual plants produce colorful and showy flowers to attract insects for pollination. Corn, wheat, rice, beans, peas, lettuce, watermelon, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, etc. are some examples of annual plants. Zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, petunias, marigolds, and bachelor’s button are some annual plants used in horticulture.

Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants

Figure 1: Lettuce

What are Perennial Plants

Perennial plants refer to plants that live more than two years. Generally, trees and shrubs are perennial, and they retain their foliage throughout the year. However, herbaceous perennials include flowering plants whose top portion die during fall. But, the dormant root structures remain as they are. When spring comes, leaves and stalks grow, initiating a new growth cycle. Apple, banana, grape, strawberry, plump, and pineapple are perennial fruits. Lavender, mint, rosemary, garlic, and ginger are perennial herbs. Coneflowers, dahlia, Veronica, blanket flowers, and clematis are perennial flowering plants. 

Main Difference - Annual and Perennial Plants

Figure 2: Dahlia

Similarities Between Annual and Perennial Plants

  • Both annual and perennial plants can be flowering plants.
  • Both may produce seeds.

Difference Between Annual and Perennial Plants


Annual Plants: Plants with a life cycle that lasts only one year

Perennial Plants: Plants that live more than two years


Annual Plants: Live for one growing season

Perennial Plants: Regrow every spring


Annual Plants: The whole plant dies annually

Perennial Plants: Only the top portion dies annually


Annual Plants: Rapid growth, rapid transition to flower, and rapid formation of seeds

Perennial Plants: Can survive in harsh conditions

Reproductive Structures

Annual Plants: Mostly seeds

Perennial Plants: Seeds and bulbils


Annual Plants: Bloom all season long

Perennial Plants: Bloom from the spring or summer of the second year


Annual Plants: Bright and showy flowers

Perennial Plants: Less showy flowers


Annual plants complete their life cycle within a single growing season. But, perennial plants live for two or more growing seasons. On that account, annual plants spend their energy mainly for reproduction. However, perennial plants build structures such as bulbils. The main difference between annual and perennial plants is the time taken to complete their life cycle.


1. IANNOTTI, MARIE. “What Is an Annual Plant?” The Spruce, .
2. Grant, Amy. “Perennial Garden Plants: What Is A Perennial.” Gardening, .

Image Courtesy:

1.”568041″ (CC0) via
2. “RIMG0163uf” By Vulkan Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven – Own work via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

Leave a Reply

Related pages

definition of acculturationhdpe vs ldpespeech sounds vowels and consonantsopen syllables examplesdifference between language and dictionfunctions of protoplasmbake broil differencecous cous quinoaformalin or formaldehydedefine flashback in literaturewhat is a sporophytemeaning of leukocytosisethiopian wolf factsstatic coefficient of friction definitioncodon and anticodonwhat is the difference between a cult and a religioninhalation and exhalation processhomonym for straightwhat are addition polymerswhat is a non polar substancewhats complex sentenceuntil meaning in urduboar vs pigcalculating centripetal forceserfs in medieval europeisopropyl vs ethyl alcoholcompare balanced and unbalanced forcesayurveda and homeopathyrlc parallel circuit with resistance in series with the inductorexample of bilateral symmetryabsorption costing and marginal costingdistinguish between normative and positive economicsunpolarized lightwhat is the difference between a pail and a buckethow does binary fission workmemorizing a speechdotsons puppiesshakespeare comedy vs tragedyfootnote citations apadifference between hog and pigdefinition of a monologuewhat are autosomes and sex chromosomesendosperm functionunicellular and multicellular examplesfairies pixieswhat is the relationship between inflation and unemploymentdefinition of co enzymeagnostic and atheist definitioncyder or cidersigns and symptoms of ardscoyote vs wolf vs dogdifference between husky and malamutedifference between e coli and klebsiellahow to analyse a poemprologue or epiloguemetaphysical conceitsdifferences between anaerobic and aerobic respirationcalculating equilibrium price and quantity examplepedantic dictionapical meristem tissuewhat is damped oscillationschizoaffective disorder schizophreniatone and mood poemstypes of galvanometerprophase 1 meiosis definitionhomonym vs homographprimary vs secondary successionpetroleum ether molecular weightdifference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoidwhat does sardonicwhat is the difference between primary and secondary successionmitochondria chloroplastsexample of assonance in a poemaffixes suffixes and prefixesviral meningitis versus bacterial meningitisdifference between relish and chutneyliterary definition of dynamic character