A hardy annual – hardy annual plant, hardy annuals – is the term used to describe a flower, salad plant or vegetable that is sown from seed, where the seed is sown directly into the outside border where the flowers are to bloom or the crop to grow.
By definition, all annuals are herbaceous plants rather than woody plants as they are not around long enough to grow a woody stem.
Annual flowers, which grow, set seed and die in the space of a season or year; are frequently self-seeding plants. That is, whilst the original plant will die, the seeds will disperse and germinate around the parent to grow and flower the following year.
Examples of hardy annual flowers would include the Calendula species, also known as Marigolds.
Most vegetables are grown as annual plants, even when they might actually be a bi-ennial or perennial plant. Peas, for example the popular variety ‘Kelvedon wonder’, are a hardy annual as the seed is sown outdoors.
Salads – lettuce are hardy annual salad crops, growing from seed to harvest in a few weeks.