Plants can be classified by their lifespan:
Annual - a plant that completes its lifecycle in a single year, more accurately in one growing season
Biennial - a plant that completes its life cycle in two years. Most biennials germinate and produced their roots, shoots and leaves in the first growing season and produce their flowers, fruits and seeds early in the following growing season.
Perennial - a plant that lives for 3 years or more. They usually flower every year. Some are relatively short lived e.g. Erysimum Bowles 's Mauve, others live for years. Some grow for many years without flowering and then produce a huge flower crop and die ..e.g. Agave, the Century plant. Perennials can be divided into 3 types.
- Herbaceous - any plant that does not form a persistent woody stem. This group generally dies back each Autumn and re-appears in the Spring. It is more complicated because botanically it can include annuals, biennials, bulbs and corms.....to confuse us even more some herbaceous perennials remain alive above ground all year e.g. Bergenia..
- Shrub - a woody plant that produces several stems from its base.
- Tree - a woody plant with a single stem i.e. a trunk supporting a branching head.
Plants may also be described by their growth habit:
Deciduous - a perennial plant that sheds its foliage annually. Usually applied to shrubs and trees.
Evergreen- a perennial plant that keeps its leaves for longer than a year.
Semi-evergreen - lose a lot, but not all of their leaves .
Climber - a plant that has developed adaptations that enable it to climb .Climbers can occur in annuals ,biennials and in herbaceous and woody perennials.
Non-flowering- these are plants that reproduce by means of spores or other non seed bearing methods e.g. ferns, mosses, fungi, algae, etc. Generally, none of the above definitions apply to these plants.
Enjoy gardening and make a little time to sit in it!