What are Annual Plants?

Annual plants complete their lifecycle within one year.  The word annual stems from the Latin ‘annus‘, which means ‘year’.  Usually, they germinate in spring or early summer, grow, flower and die in winter.  Before death, they produce seed for germination the following year.  Annuals can be divided into two groups – hardy and half-hardy.

Hardy Annuals

Sunflower – a Hardy Annual

Hardy annuals can withstand cool soil, air and light frost. Usually sown in March or April outdoors, in their final growing position.

Examples of Hardy Annuals include Pansy and Sunflower. In the vegetable garden, examples include Kale and Cabbage.

Half-Hardy Annuals

Marigold – A Half-Hardy Annual

Also known as Tender Annuals, Half-Hardy annuals can also withstand cool air and soil. Unlike Hardy Annuals, they cannot tolerate frosts.  Most are sown under cover, or with protection, before planting out.

Examples of Half-Hardy Annuals include Zinnia and Marigold.  In the vegetable garden, examples include Cauliflower and Chard.


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