There are three main categories that a plant can be classified under: annual, biennial and perennial. The categories represent a plant's life cycle from germination, growth, bloom, reproduction and death. Plants can reproduce sexually or asexually. To reproduce sexually, a male and female plant is needed. Asexual reproduction doesn't require gender differences, and the offspring will be genetic copies of the parent plant. Plants can produce offspring in the form of seeds, runners, stolons, split bulbs and rhizomes.
Annual plants go through a one-year life span. They go from seed to blooming, and then they produce seeds and die. These type of plants typically need to be replanted every year. Some are an exception and are considered self-seeders. These type of plants typically drop their seeds onto the soil below and grow with little to no help from a gardener. Some plants that are annuals are corn, marigold, cosmos, poppy, sunflower, sweet pea and sage.
Biennials are very similar to annuals but are not nearly as common. They go through a life cycle that spans over two years. They grow in the fall, go dormant in the winter and then rebloom in the spring or summer when they later produce seeds and die. Some biennials are hollyhock, foxglove, forget-me-nots and thistle.
Perennials are long lasting plants that will come back every year, some going through dormant stages. They usually take longer to establish themselves in a garden, which can range from one to three years depending on the plant. These are the most common variety of plant. Some examples of perennials are yarrow, ladybells, iris, ice plant and bird of paradise.
Plants can produce seeds as a means to reproduce and produce offspring. Seeds are a product of sexual reproduction, and the seed itself can be considered an embryo since it was developed from fertilized egg. Pollination from the male to the female plant is needed for the plant to produce seeds, which can be done by wind or insects. The seed will then remain dormant until it starts to germinate and grow.
Bulbs, Rhizomes and Stolons
Plants can also produce offspring asexually. These plants usually produce offspring by splitting bulbs or their roots, called rhizomes. These split-off bulbs, or rhizomes, will then produce identical offspring from the parent plant. They can also reproduce asexually by stolons, also called runners. These plants will produce new plants as their main root spreads, growing new plants all around it.