Annuals are plants that grow from seed, flower, disperse their seeds and die in a single season.
Some annuals’ seeds lie dormant in the ground before conditions are right for germination.
With an annual, producing flowers, fruits and seeds exhausts the plant’s food reserves, so once the seeds are dispersed the green parts of the plant die.
Many crops are annuals, including peas and beans, squashes, and cereals such as maize and wheat.
Annual flowers include petunias, lobelias, buttercups and delphiniums.
Biennials live for two years.
In the first year the young plant grows a ring of leaves and builds up an underground food store such as a bulb or taproot like beetroots and carrots. The food store sustains the plant through the winter.
In the second year the plant sends up a stem in spring. It flowers in summer.
Many vegetables are biennials, including beetroot, carrots and turnips.
Biennial flowers include wallflowers, carnations, sweet williams and evening primroses.