Below are some terms we tend to use when assisting customers chose plants for their gardens. We've supplied definitions so you will know what we are talking about.
Annual – a plant that completes its life cycle in a growing season. Seed -> bloom -> seed -> death. (Example: marigolds)
Biennial – a plant that has only vegetative growth the first year; then blooms, set seeds, then dies the second year. (Example: foxgloves)
Perennial – a plant whose bloom cycle doesn't signal the last year of its life. A simpler definition is a plant that tends to live year after year (with dormant periods). We loosely use the term "perennial" to identify a plant that will live year after year in our climate. (Example: Clematis)
Tropical – Plants that will live year after year in climates without frosts or freezes. Tropicals can be kept for many years by bringing them indoors for the winter. (Example: Night blooming jasmine
Tender Perennial – (Half-hardy or Borderline Hardy) Plants that may withstand some freeze/frost but not usually totally hardy here. (Example: Cannas)
Full Sun – 6 hours or more of direct sunlight.
Part Sun (same as Part Shade) – Less than 6 hours but more than 2 hours of direct sunlight.
Dapple Sun – spotted sun pattern created by trees/shrubs with a sparse canopy.
Bright Shade – Shade such as that cast by the side of a house or fence; no over-head shade; receives reflected light.
Dark Shade – Shade from dense foliage, porch, awning, or deck. Over-head shade; no light reflected in.