Annuals complete their life cycle in one growing season. Seed germinates in the spring, the plant grows, flowers, produces seed and then dies.
Perennials live for more than one growing season. There are two types of perennials. Herbaceous perennials generally die to the ground at the end of the growing season but send up new shoots the following spring. Woody perennials, such as trees and shrubs, do not die back to the ground but get larger each year.