Plants have many common characteristics, such as the ability to use sunlight to create energy, but they are also vastly different. These differences can be very exciting for gardeners who seeking variety, allowing them to create customized gardens that are continually changing.
Annual and Biennial
Some plants only grow for one or two years. The annual plants must grow, achieve pollination and distribute their seeds before they perish. Each year, new seeds must germinate and grow in order for the species to continue to perpetuate itself, according to North Carolina State University. Biennials only produce leaves during the first season and then produce flowers during the second season before dying.
Cacti are plants capable of storing water within themselves. This ability allows the cacti to survive in regions that would be too dry for many other plants. Cacti are a common indoor plant because of the ability to survive in most environments.
Mosses and Ferns
Mosses are plants that prefer very wet areas. They lack stems and roots. Instead, mosses absorb water directly. Mosses produce structures that are similar to, but aren't technically leaves. Many species of moss, such as liverworts, are able to reproduce asexually. Ferns, on the other hand, produce leaves known as fronds. They have the ability to float and survive in water. Ferns can also be rooted. These watery plants sometimes grow on rocks, becoming a part of garden ponds.
Grasses are plants that have leaves that grow very close to the base of the plant. They often grow in very large and relatively thick clusters. Ornamentals are grasses with unusual colors and textures used to decorate gardens and are usually easy to maintain. One example of an ornamental grass is bluegrass, a grass with a bluish hue.
Trees and Shrubs
Trees are woody plants that go dormant in the winter. They usually have a main stem, wooden branches and leaves. Some of the tree species are the tallest-growing plants in the world. However, if they are pruned and cared for in specific manners, they can be trained to grow smaller and become shrubs. Shrubs are plants commonly used in gardens to fill in the landscape and provide privacy.
Vines are woody plants able to climb plants and other structures using specialized parts. Vines climb to get better access to sunlight. Gardeners use vines because they are able to direct and train new growth.