Facts About Annuals and Biennials



  • 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.