First, a definition. Many plants we call “annuals” in colder growing zones are actually perennials in their native climates. A true annual has a brief life cycle: it germinates, grows, flowers, and dies (roots and all) in a single year.
Many of our favorite flowers are annuals: poppies, sweet peas, sunflowers, and nasturtium, to name a few. Skip to the plant guides.) Their bright colors, elegant blossoms, and fast growing habits make annuals valuable assets in a flower garden. Just as the spring bulbs start flagging, sweet peas start blooming on their trellises. When summer perennials wilt in the heat of August, sunflowers cheerfully shoulder the burden of adding back-of-the-border color. And of course many annuals do live on—through their seeds, which are carried on the wind to pop up in a new spot next year.