True annuals are plants that germinate, flower, set seed and die all in one season. Their ultimate goal is to reproduce themselves (by setting seed).
Once a plant has done that, then its mission has been accomplished. Until this happens though, they will flower like mad and can provide plenty of colorful enjoyment.
If you decide to deadhead these plants on a regular basis to prevent seeds from forming, they will continue to bloom in abundance until the first frost. (Annuals tend to have longer bloom periods than perennials)
Some plants that set seed can self sow their seeds and return for another season – although most annuals will require replanting.
Perennials are typically cold-hardy plants that will return again in the spring. They usually bloom for only one season each year (either spring, summer, or fall), but there are also reblooming and long-blooming perennials.
When grown in favorable conditions, perennials often live a long time, but don’t assume they will last forever. Their life span is variable, and some may live for only three to five years.
Some may need to be pruned and divided regularly to maintain their vigor and keep them tidy, while others are tough and undemanding, seeming to thrive on neglect.
Although perennials tend to cost more initially, they are a good long-term investment because they return year after year. Most perennials require less water once established, which can be especially advantageous for those who garden in drought-prone areas and want to reduce their water consumption.
AS A FINAL RECAP ON ANNUAL VS PERENNIAL:
Once year lifecycle – plant them every year
best in planters and hanging baskets
flower continuously throughout the season
reaches maturity within a few weeks to a couple of months
Requires frequent watering
Can change up your planter planting year after year and with the seasons
plant them once and they come back every year
best for larger landscape projects
flower for a shorter period of time each year
reaches full maturity in about 3 years
Do not need to be watered once established
Plant is meant to grow over time and not be moved or removed afterwards