The Q&A Archives: Annual or Perennial

Question: Why is an annual grow only once, and perennials bloom year after year? What is so different about them?

Answer: Short lived annuals are preprogrammed to grow, bloom, and produce seed as quickly as possible. When their mission is accomplished, they are usually exhausted and so they die. Some annuals may produce over a longer season, or can be induced to bloom over a longer season by removing their flowers before they have set seed. They will then continue blooming to try to reproduce themselves. Some plants we grow as annuals would be perennial in warmer climates -- they simply freeze to death. Perennials on the other hand bloom for a shorter period of time each year but live to bloom again and again. They are often deeper rooted and more cold hardy. Some of the seeds even require a winter chilling period in order to germinate. All of these traits would reflect their adaptation to their growing conditions. I hope this helps.

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