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Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle within the span of a year or less. Annuals tend to germinate, grow leaves, produce flowers and provide seeds, after which they die.
Prolonging the life of annuals
Annuals can sometimes be made to last for more than a year, depending on the climate, by preventing them from seeding. Prune back hard as soon as flowers appear - probably much harder than you think you should, even to a few centimetres above their lowest branch. This causes them to focus their energy on leaf growth. If annuals successfully seed, they will die.
Some perennials are treated as annuals due to their susceptibility to such things as frost or cold winters. This is particularly the case in temperate climates. An alternative is to keep the plants indoors, or move them indoors. Otherwise, treat such tender perennials as annuals and regrow each year.
Uses for annuals
Annuals (and biennials) provide many useful crops, including tomatoes and many herbs such as basil and coriander (which produces "cilantro" leaves, in Spanish and American English). Collect the seeds so that you can regrow them every year, at the right season.
The flowers are often appreciated for their prolonged existence during the warm season in temperate climate zones. The flowers can be used for craft, for pressing, and if edible, for culinary purposes. Flowers can be used in bouquets, floral arrangements and for market/store flower sales.
Examples of annuals
There are many annuals grown in the garden. These include many flowers and a number of herbs. Some examples include:
- French marigolds
- Morning glory
Notes and references
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