These plants complete their life span in one year, and most of them flower in three to four months from the time of sowing. Flowering finishes as the seeds ripen and the plants die. Annuals are divided into two groups: summer-flowering and winter/spring-flowering. The former are sown in spring; the latter in summer and autumn. Some flowers have both annual and perennial varieties – gypsophila and statice are good examples. Many so-called annuals are really short lived perennials. In cool climates they may last for three or four years, but in warmer districts their effective life is much shorter as they have difficulty surviving hot summers.
Annual flowers are always favourites for the home garden; no other plants give such a colourful display in such a short time and for so little trouble. They can be changed seasonally to create varied effects and colour combinations. The brilliant colours look wonderful in large masses, clumps or drifts, but they can be used effectively in containers or narrow borders too. Annuals complement other garden plantings and can be arranged so that flowers are in bloom (except in the very coldest districts) at almost any time of the year.