Gardening has many terms that are essential to understand whether you’re just starting or have years of experience and need a quick refresher. To help, you’ll find in this glossary an explanation, other names, and examples or additional information for each term.
What It Means: A soil, plant material, substance, or soil additive measuring from 0.0 to 7.0 on the 14.0 unit pH scale. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline/basic a substance is, with drinking water being in the neutral range from 6.85-8.5.
Other Names: acidic, acidity, acrid, sour (“sour soil”)
Acidic Substances: vinegar, lemon, coffee, pine needles, sulfur
Plants That Do Well In Acidic Soil: Hydrangeas (especially certain blue varieties), rhododendrons, azaleas, daffodils, blueberries
Soil Amendments To Acidify Soil: Sulfur, gypsum, agricultural vinegar, coffee (always research any soil amendment as many harm the environment)
What It Means: A plot of land in any shape measuring 43,560 square feet – approximately 90% of a football field. Land is often measured in how many acres it is (½ acre, two acres, etc.).
Historically used to refer to fertile land and later evolved to indicate the size of land a farmer with a yoke of oxen could plow in one day. This definition transformed to refer to a long strip of land 660 ft x 66 ft (43,560 square feet).
Other Names: field, pasture, acreage
Equivalent Measurements: 4,046.86 square meters, 0.405 hectares, 208.71 feet by 208.71 feet
What It Means: A land’s area, often measured in acres.
Other Names: acre, property, land, estate
What It Means: A process that increases air, water, and nutrient flow to grass roots while decreasing soil compaction and stimulating new growth. It is recommended to aerate your lawn when it is moist, but not wet, in either spring or autumn. Aerating in the summer can cause strain on your already stressed-out lawn.
Other Names: aerate, aerification, aerifying, core cultivation
Two Types Of Aeration:
- Removing small cores of soil with a plug aerator, such as a manual core aerator, gas-powered push-behind core aerator, or a tow-behind core aerator.
- Puncturing the soil to create holes with a spike aerator, such as a pitchfork, spiked aeration shoes, rolling push aerator, tow-behind spike aerator.
We generally recommend core aeration, as a spike aerator can potentially increase soil compaction.
What It Means: Requiring or involving air or oxygen.
Other Names: aerophilic, aerophilous, anaerobic (absence of oxygen)
Additional Information: Aerobic composting can be beneficial to your soil and can give your garden essential nutrients. This process uses microorganisms that need oxygen to survive (including aerobic bacteria, fungi, earthworms, ants, and beetles) to break down organic matter (vegetable kitchen waste, leaves, and other yard waste) into valuable compost.
What It Means: A method of growing plants without the use of soil. A form of hydroponics that feeds the plants by misting the roots with a nutrient-rich liquid.
Other Names: Hydroponics
Two Types Of Aeroponics:
- Low Pressure: Uses a coarse mist, simpler setup, and is more inexpensive than high-pressure.
- High-Pressure System: Uses a very fine mist, is more efficient, but requires more space and energy than low-pressure.
What It Means: A soil, plant material, substance, or soil additive measuring from 7.1 to 14.0 on the 14.0 unit pH scale. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline/basic a substance is, with drinking water being in the neutral range from 6.85-8.5.
Other Names: alkali, alkalinize, base, neutral, neutralizing, antacid
Alkaline Substances: baking soda, soap, lye, ammonia, bleach
Plants That Do Well In Alkaline Soil: Field maple, yew, fig trees, cherry trees, butterfly bush, forsythia, lilac, hydrangea, weigela, rosemary, thyme, asparagus, cabbage, kale, borage, California poppy, lavender, clover
Soil Amendments To Alkalinize Soil: Baking soda (1 tablespoon:1 gallon water, can be repeated every few months if desired), wood ash (¼ inch layer worked into top few inches of soil), manure/compost (will bring soil closer to neutral if too acidic), garden lime, dolomite lime, quick lime
What It Means: A plant that originates from above the treeline in the mountains, often hibernating under the cover of snow. These plants are well-suited for rock gardens and container gardening and tend to be compact with leaves that have adapted to retain water.
Other Names: mountain plant, high altitude plant
Examples: Campanula, dianthus, pulsatilla (pasque flower), creeping thyme, sedums, armeria (thrift)
What It Means: A substance added to the soil to improve its structure, nutrient content, or pH to support healthy plant growth.
Other Names: amend, soil builder
Examples: compost, soil conditioner, composted leaves, fertilizer, aged manure
What It Means: Involves the absence of oxygen, or having a restricted flow of oxygen.
Other Names: anaerobiotic, anaerobe
Anaerobic environments: Peat bogs, natural wetlands, paddy soils (to grow rice)
What It Means: A plant displayed with the intention of attracting attention.
Other Names: Accent plant, focal point plant
Examples: Japanese maple trees, hydrangea tree forms, purple fountain grass, lilac, weigela, agave, hibiscus, canna lily
What It Means: A plant that lives and dies within one growing season. With some species and varieties, you may collect the seeds at the end of the season to regrow the following year, such as many edible plants like tomatoes, beans, squash, and dill.
Other Names: One-year plant, seasonal plant
Examples: Bright and colorful tropical blooms that cannot survive cold temperatures, such as canna lily, mandevilla, begonia, and bougainvillea.
Plants that reseed themselves naturally (self-sowing) instead of re-growing from the roots as a perennial does, such as borage, calendula, and cleome.
What It Means: The pollen-producing and pollen-containing organ of a flower located on the end of a stamen (a long structure protruding from the middle of flowers consisting of an anther on top of a long slender filament).
Other Names: Pollen sacs
Examples: Lilies and hibiscus both have prominent anthers
What It Means: Small soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants. Rapidly reproducing, aphids can become pests when present in significant numbers.
There are over 4,000 known species in many different colors, of which approximately 250 may be pests to gardens or crops.
Aphids produce a honeydew substance that is an attractive food source for ants. Natural predators of aphids include ladybird beetles (ladybugs), predatory midges, lacewing larvae, and parasitoid wasps.
Other Names: Greenfly, plant louse, ant cow
Examples: Potato aphid, pea aphid, rose aphid
What It Means: A plant that lives in a water environment.
Other Names: Water plant, hydrophyte, hydrophytic plant, hygrophyte, macrophyte, aquatic vegetation, aquatic flora
Algae: Has no roots, leaves, or stems. The most common type of aquatic plant, which includes spirulina, Irish moss, and bladderwrack.
Emergent: Rooted to the ground underwater with most of the plant living above water, such as cattails, wild rice, and purple loosestrife.
Submergent: Rooted to the ground, with the majority of the plant found underwater, such as American pondweed, hornwort, and eelgrass.
Free-floating: Roots are not attached to the ground and will move on the surface by water and wind currents, including common duckweed, water hyacinth, and mosquito fern.
Submersed Floating-Leaved: Roots are attached to the ground underwater, with leaves and flowers living on the water’s surface, including lotus, waterlilies, and spatterdock.
Trailing Floating: Rooted into shallow areas, trailing growth habit forms dense mats across the surface of the water, such as water primrose, smartweed, and pennywort.
What It Means: A shady area with a roof and sides created by tree branches or a structure covered in vines or branches.
Other Names: Pergola, canopy, awning, bower
Additional Information: Many countries observe Arbor Day, which encourages people to plant trees.
What It Means: An area where trees, shrubs, and sometimes smaller plants are grown for scientific study, education, or display.
Other Names: Botanical garden, woodlot, grove
Examples: The Arboretum at Guelph University in Guelph, Ontario, Canada; The National Arboretum, UK; The National Arboretum in Canberra, Australia
What It Means: A specialist in the health, management, cultivation, and removal of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants.
Other Names: Tree surgeon, arboriculturist, tree expert
Additional Information: You should always consult with an arborist about your trees.
What It Means: A plant that reproduces with DNA from only one parent, resulting in genetically identical offspring referred to as clones.
Other Names: Agamic, agamogenetic, agamous, apomictic, parthenogenetic, asexuality
Vegetative Propagation: No seeds or spores required, such as:
- True bulbs (garlic, onions, and tulips)
- Corms (crocuses, gladioli, and cyclamens)
- Tubers (potatoes, cassava, and sweet potatoes)
- Rhizomes (ginger, turmeric, and lotuses)
- Stolons (strawberries and irises)
Fragmentation: New plants grown from fallen pieces of a parent plant (some succulents are capable of this).
You can achieve this by cutting a piece of a plant and placing it in water or soil to encourage root growth (propagation by cuttings).
What It Means: Creating the place where the garden will be.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Before selecting your plants, consider bedding the desired area for your garden. Always consider using loam as the primary soil for your bigger plants before you start the bedding.
What It Means: A plant used to create visual appeal in a garden bed.
Other Names: Bedder, garden plant, outdoor plant
Examples: Potentilla, rose, hydrangea, hosta, and dahlia
What It Means: Insects that provide benefits such as pollination or pest control.
Other Names: Symbiotic insects, beneficial bugs, mutualistic insects
Examples: Bees, ladybugs, dragonflies, and wasps
What It Means: Plants that germinate, grow, flower, reproduce, seed, and die within two years.
Other Names: Biennial, biyearly plants
Examples: Foxglove, hollyhock, carrot, and leek
What It Means: Materials that living organisms can decompose.
Other Names: Decomposable, perishable
Examples: Bamboo, coconut choir, sawdust, cork, and jute
Biological Pest Control
What It Means: Using natural organisms to reduce the impact of undesire species in an area.
Other Names: Biocontrol
Examples: BTK (>bacillus >thuringiensis), nematodes, and >pseudozyma flocculosa >(PF-1)
What It Means: The expanded part of the leaves or petals of plants, such as a grass blade.
Other Names: Leaf blade
Additional Information: A standard lawn mowing practice is keeping the grass blades three inches tall. Agave blades are a main ingredient of Mexican cuisine.
What It Means: When a flower opens as part of its reproductive process.
Other Names: Flowering, flowers
Additional Information: In order to bloom, plants must have the proper nutrients and other conditions, such as sunlight and water.
What It Means: Cluster of blooms or flowers; process or period of flower production.
Other Names: Flowering, fluorescence, blooms, blooming
Examples: Cherry blossoms are a great attraction during spring in Japan. The blossom period among hydrangeas species is different.
What It Means: A plant going to seed before it’s supposed to.
Other Names: Running to seed
Additional Information: You can prevent bolting with techniques such as using the correct fertilizers and planting crops during a cooler season.
What It Means: Fertilizer made of a powder blend from animal bones, often a by-product of animal farming industries and usually rich in phosphorous and calcium.
Other Names: Animal chips, plant food, bone fertilizer
Additional Information: Gardeners recommend applying bonemeal during the first year of transplanting. Gardeners prefer bonemeal to bloom boosters to assist their vegetables to bloom.
What It Means: Method of trimming and dwarfing plants to thrive in containers. A plant that has been miniaturized artificially.
Other Names: Dwarf tree, miniature plant
Examples: Junipers are among today’s most popular evergreen bonsai.
What It Means: Studying plants.
Other Names: Plant science, plant biology
Additional Information: Not all gardeners are botany experts, but they still love plants.
What It Means: An artificial system to warm the plants’ soil to survive or increase crop production.
Other Names: Soil-heating device
Examples: Greenhouses used bottom heat to facilitate seed germination in many places with seasonal warm climates. Bottom heat systems are not exclusively for agriculture; plant enthusiasts can always improvise with homemade items.
What It Means: A segment of the plant that comes from a trunk or main stem. Part of a plant holding other organs such as leaves, flowers, or other branches.
Other Names: Twig, branchlet, arm, shoot, spur
Additional Information: You can identify a hickory from an ash tree by looking at the arrangement of its branches.
What It Means: Fungal or bacterial diseases that affect plants. It produces abnormal brown coloration in different parts of the plant.
Other Names: Monolinia, brown wilt
Examples: >Monilinia fructicola >(stone fruit rot), >monolinia laxa> (ripe fruit rot), and >ralstonia solanacearum >(potato brown rot).
What It Means: Dry, carbon-rich compost ingredients.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Wood, hay, dry leaves
What It Means: Undeveloped plant shoot at the end of a leaf or stem.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Buds fuel rapid growth in plants.
What It Means: Underground circular tissue of a plant that stores nutrients and water for the plant.
Other Names: Tuber
Examples: Allium, garlic, onion, and tulips
What It Means: A woody, multi-stem plant that grows into a clump, usually smaller than trees.
Other Names: Shrub
Examples: Azalea, blueberry bush, boxwood, rose, and potentilla
What It Means: Slender, hollow, and extended part of some plants such as grasses, bamboo, and also those types of plants
Other Names: Stem, stalk, reed
Examples: Bamboo, sugar cane, dracaena plants, raspberry plants, blackberry plants
What It Means: The leaves and branches making up a tree’s upper part.
Other Names: Head, tree line, marquee
Additional Information: The canopy shapes of the Acer genus change significantly depending on the species and varieties.
What It Means: Plants that get their nutrients from ingesting animals such as insects.
Other Names: piscivorous, predaceous, zoophagous, predacious, flesh-eating plant
Examples: Pitcher plant (nepenthes spp.), sundew (droseraspp.), and venus flytrap (dionaea muscipula)
What It Means: Scraping material such as wood to create something.
Other Names: Hew
Example Woods You Can Carve: Walnut, ash, maple
What It Means: Soil with a chalk or lime base (calcium carbonate); contains many easily breakable stones and is very alkaline.
Other Names: Basic soil
Additional Information: Chalky soils vary immensely from clay-like particles to gravel-like grains.
What It Means: How long a fruit tree needs to experience colder temperatures (between 32°F (0°C) and 45°F (7.22°C)) before it will blossom.
Other Names: Freezing time, dormancy period, chill units
Examples: Apple, cherry, dogwood, peach, and plum trees
What It Means: The green substance in plants’ leaves produced by the chloroplasts in the plant’s cells, capable of absorbing sunlight and converting it into energy for the plants.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Chlorophyll is the primary substance in most plants; without it, plants wouldn’t be able to survive.
The most common substances in a tree’s leaf are chlorophyll, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and tannins.
What It Means: A plant condition in which there are lower chlorophyll levels, turning the plant yellow.
Other Names: Yellowing
Additional Information: Chlorosis is one of the most frequent nutrient deficiency symptoms among trees and shrubs.
Pin oaks are sensitive to the pH of the soil; without a mild acidity, they will suffer chlorosis and eventually die.
What It Means: An earthy soil characterized by dense, heavy, and sticky clusters of flat microscopic particles.
Other Names: Pug ground, terra cotta, mud
Additional Information: It is normal to find clay soil while digging in your garden; try to replace it with loam.
What It Means: Translucent cover protecting plants from cold temperatures.
Other Names: Garden cloche, plant cover, glass dome
Additional Information: For some plants, cloches are sufficient to survive winter; for others, greenhouses are necessary. It is a myth that plants will suffocate inside a cloche; plants recycle the air they breathe.
What It Means: A method of composting without increasing heat.
Other Names: Natural composting, slow composting
Additional Information: Cold compost is easier to manage than hot composting, but you’ll need to be careful about what you put in it since the lower temperature won’t kill off pathogens or weed seeds.
What It Means: Structure with a transparent window that protects plants from cold temperatures and filters light.
Other Names: Hotbed, greenhouse, glasshouse, nursery
Additional Information: You can make cold frames with wood, plastic, or metal.
What It Means: Compressed ground that reduces water drainage and limits air between soil particles.
Other Names: Squeezed soil, compressed soil, condensed soil
Example Plants That Can Survive Compacted Soils: Arrowood viburnum (viburnum dentatum), common lilac (syringa vulgaris), fragrant sumac (rhus aromatica), and mugo pine (pinus mugo)
What It Means: Plants that mutually assist each other with their natural properties.
Other Names: Mutualist plants, companion gardening
Companion Plant Examples: Basil and tomatoes, corn and parsley, cucumbers, carrots and dill, and blueberries and azaleas
What It Means: A fertilizer that has the three main plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Other Names: NPK fertilizer, macronutrient fertilizer
Additional Information: Most generic fertilizers are complete fertilizers to cover a vast number of common needs, such as plant growth or flower production.
What It Means: Organic material used for plant nutrition, typically made from decayed plants, animal parts, or castings.
Other Names: Plant food, humus, peat, organic fertilizer, plant dressing, organic matter
Examples: Animal waste, coffee grounds, fall leaves, grass cuttings, and worm castings.
What It Means: Collection of diverse organic material easily decomposable and rich in nutrients for gardening.
Other Names: Compost pile, compost ingredients, compost collection, plant food mixture
Additional Information: Normally, a compost heap is a small mound you can easily distribute into your garden. Using kitchen food waste is an economical way to add to your compost heap.
What It Means: Woody plants that produce seeds inside woody cones or have needles, scales, or cone-shaped foliage.
Other Names: Conifarae, coniferous, pinophytina
Examples: Sugar pine, Japanese yew, Spartan juniper Contrary to popular belief, not all conifers are evergreens. Tamaracks (larix laricina), for example, shed their needles every winter.
What It Means: Grasses that can tolerate cold temperatures.
Other Names: Hardy grasses, cold-tolerant grass
Examples: Fescues, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass
What It Means: Plants planted to protect or bring nutrients to another plant.
Other Names: Regenerative agriculture, regenerative plants
Examples: Buckwheat, clovers, rye, okra
What It Means: Plants that grow horizontally and stay low to the ground.
Other Names: Creeping plants, ground cover plants
Examples: Creeping jenny, creeping phlox, periwinkle, woody thyme, winter creeper
What It Means: A cultivation technique that shifts between different plant crops on the same land.
Other Names: Crop sequencing, intercropping, rotational planting
Possible Crop Rotation Crops: Broccoli, coneflower, and cabbages, onions, leek, and garlic, carrots, parsley, and dill
What It Means: Plants grown for food or profit.
Other Names: harvest, vintage, produce
Examples: Apples, corn, rice, tomatoes, wheat
What It Means: When one plant pollinates another plant.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Pollinators such as wind, water, insects, and birds are crucial for cross-pollination.
What It Means: Plants with a cross-shaped leaf or petal, commonly belonging to the family brassicaceae.
Other Names: Cruciferous vegetables, crucifs, cruciferae
Examples: Broccoli, cabbage, collard, kale, turnip
What It Means: Edible non-woody plants use as condiments, fragrance, or flavoring.
Other Names: Herbs, edible plants, edible greens
Examples: Basil, cilantro, dill, mint, thyme
What It Means: Plant variety produced artificially by combining the genes of other plants, normally for production, effectiveness, or ornamental purposes.
Other Names: Variety, subspecies, variation
Examples: Apple trees, grape vines, endless summer hydrangea, mango trees, rose bushes
What It Means: Preparation and use of the soil to produce, grow, or harvest plants.
Other Names: Farming, tillage, gardening
Additional Information: Commonly, the first step in any cultivation technique is soil preparation and loosening the surface particles. Practitioners should start cultivation in the spring, but in some cases, gardens require continuous tilling and fertilizing.
What It Means: A piece of a plant planted in order to produce or propagate a new specimen.
Other Names: Plant cloning, vegetative propagules
Additional Information: In horticulture, the use of cuttings is a widespread practice facilitating the production of healthy crops. Most cuttings are planted in coarse sandy soil mixtures, rooting powder, and even in hydroponic containers.
What It Means: A plant disease that can kill seedlings due to a fungal infection.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Disinfecting planting areas and tools, not over-watering, and not planting seeds too deeply are all ways of preventing damping off.
What It Means: Removing faded or used-up flower heads from a plant, promoting new growth and maintaining beauty.
Other Names: N/A
Example Flowers You Can Deadhead: Roses, petunias, geraniums
What It Means: When organic matter breaks down due to old age or death.
Other Names: Decomposition, rot
Additional Information: Decomposers are organisms like bacteria that help facilitate this process.
What It Means: A tree or shrub that loses its leaves every year at the end of a growing season.
Other Names: N/A
Tree Examples: Maple, oak, willow
Shrub Examples: Honeysuckle, buttonbush, rhododendron
What It Means: To remove the leaves from a plant.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Defoliating helps encourage new growth, but you’ll need to make sure your plant is healthy enough for you to do so.
What It Means: Removing thatch from your lawn.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Removing thatch allows everything your soil and lawn needs, such as nutrients and water, to reach it.
What It Means: Sowing seeds right into the soil.
Other Names: Direct sow
Examples Of Plants To Direct Seed: Carrots, squash, peas
What It Means: A mix of organic and inorganic matter promoting the growth of plants and animals.
Other Names: Soil, earth
Dirt Types: Chalky, loamy, clay, sandy, silt
What It Means: Propagating a plant by separating it into two or more growable pieces.
Other Names: Plant division
Examples: Coneflowers, daylilies, hostas
What It Means: When a plant slows or stops growing during the colder months of the year.
Other Names: Dormant
Examples: Hyacinth, ZZ plant, ficus
What It Means: Making soil better by digging down below the top layer, breaking up the second layer, improving the second layer with something like compost, and replacing the top layer.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Double digging increases soil aeration and allows roots to grow deeper.
What It Means: How water moves through soil (or a container such as a pot) and how well it does.
Other Names: N/A
Soil Drainage Examples: Well-draining, poorly draining, excessively draining
What It Means: An optimal form of watering plants, especially crops, where a device slowly drops water onto the plants’ soil.
Other Names: Trickle irrigation
Additional Information: Drip irrigation also uses water efficiently.
What It Means: The device that allows for drip irrigation.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Drip line can also refer to the farthest area beneath a tree’s canopy where water will drip fro
What It Means: A type of plant that grows slower than normal or grows smaller than normal.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Dwarf zinnia, dwarf hydrangea, dwarf Japanese maple
What It Means: Plant used or planted on the border of a garden.
Other Names: Border plant
Examples: Coral Bells, daylily, dianthus, hosta, and sage
What It Means: The gradual destruction of an object due to something like wind or water.
Other Names: Corrosion, washing away, weathering
Additional Information: Erosion caused the Grand Canyon.
What It Means: A tree trained to grow horizontally with some support.
Other Names: Trellis, plant lattice, screen, grille
Espalier Examples: Pear trees, camellias, and quince.
What It Means: Plants that preserve most of their foliage all year around.
Other Names: Ever-blooming
Examples: Rhododendron, eastern white pine, eponymous emerald gaiety, black spruce, and boxwoods.
What It Means: A plant not native to an area.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Hydona africana, corpse flower, Venus flytrap, and bladderwort.
What It Means: A taxonomic classification for a group of plants sharing similar characteristics (above genus and below order).
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Among the order Hemiptera, the Cimicinae family contains one of the most common house pests, such as the bedbugs.
What It Means: A fertilizer that quickly provides nutrients for plants’ health in a period no longer than four weeks.
Other Names: Quick-Release fertilizer, fast-acting fertilizer
Additional Information: Mixing fast-release with slow-release fertilizers is a good practice for plant health.
What It Means: Substance used to increase soil fertility and plant health.
Other Names: Plant food, compost, manure
Additional Information: Potassium fertilizers are among the market’s most influential and eco-friendly options.
Many plants do not require fertilizer to grow fast, but it is always good to have some handy in case they need it.
What It Means: The earliest period of the season (usually fall) when a place reaches frost temperatures.
Other Names: Earliest frost
Additional Information: For some plants, the first frost is the time of the year when plants will ease growing and start to enter their dormancy.
What It Means: Reproductive organ of the plant that blooms.
Other Names: Bloom, blossom, floret
Examples: Magnolias, orchids, tulips
What It Means: Technique that applies fertilizer directly to the plant’s foliage.
Other Names: Foliar feeding
Additional Information: Agricultural companies use more foliar fertilizing to assist their crops.
One of the most essential advantages of foliar fertilizing is that plants absorb more water and soil nutrients.
What It Means: A taxonomic rank below variety describing a group of plants with a mutation.
Other Names: Forma
Examples: Canthocalycium spiniflorum f. klimpelianum, strombocactus disciformis f. cristata
What It Means: Average date of the frost periods in a region, including first and last frost.
Other Names: Frost period
Additional Information: Each region has a frost date; knowing it assists gardeners in understanding when to plant.
What It Means: When soil shifts upward due to freezing conditions creating ice.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: One way to help prevent frost heave is by increasing drainage in your soil.
What It Means: A type of plant that can resist some degree of frost.
Other Names: Hardiness, winter-hardy, cold-hardy
Examples: Cabbage, potatoes, peony
What It Means: Plants that cannot withstand frost temperatures.
Other Names: Tender plants
Examples: Begonias, dracaena, bougainvillea
What It Means: A group of insects from the order Diptera that eat decaying fruit and vegetables.
Other Names: Housefly, gnats
Additional Information: Keeping your home and things clean is a great way to prevent fruit flies, especially by emptying trash cans regularly.
What It Means: An area that gets more than six hours of sunlight per day.
Other Names: Abundant sunlight
Example Plants That Like Full Sun: Echinaceas, barberries, stonecrops, phlox, lavender, junipers
What It Means: Less than four hours of direct sunlight in a specific location.
Other Names: Heavy-shade
Example Plants That Like Full-Shade: Pachysandra, hostas, lily of the valley, periwinkle, ferns
What It Means: Substance that prevents or eradicates mushrooms, molds, or other fungi.
Other Names: Defoliant, antifungal, antimycotic, pesticide
Common Fungicide Examples: Beardoux, garden sulfur, sporan, and rampant.
Consider using natural or organic alternatives to fungicides, as they can be harmful and dangerous.
What It Means: A group of living organisms that do not produce chlorophyll, need to feed on other organisms, and are similar to some plants in structure.
Other Names: Fungi, mycota, fungal
Additional Information: Many gardeners talk about preventing insect or rodent damage, but it is a fungus that can be more harmful to vegetables. Despite being an antagonist in most gardens, a fungus is an essential member of the forest ecosystem.
What It Means: A plot of land dedicated to growing plants.
Other Names: Yard, plot, field
Garden Types: Japanese garden, water garden, container garden, raised bed garden, rock garden, edible garden
What It Means: A taxonomic group with common characteristics that is above species and below family.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Acacia, cassiope, crepis
What It Means: A seed growing into a seedling.
Other Names: Sprout
Additional Information: To assist in the plant’s germination, all plants should be stratified.
What It Means: A technique for altering the genetics of an organism, such as a plant, to produce desired characteristics.
Other Names: Artificial cross-breeding, clone
Additional Information: GMOs remain controversial.
What It Means: In landscaping, the act of modifying the soil artificially with soil, rocks, or organic matter to produce a more level area. In gardening, the process of dividing a plant according to its use or quality.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: While you can do grading yourself, it’s much better to contact a professional for assistance.
What It Means: Technique of unifying two different plants into one.
Other Names: Insert, join, implant
Examples: Growers often graft fruit trees, such as apple and cherry.
What It Means: Fertilizer that comes in small pallets or as a powder.
Other Names: Plant food, fertilizer powder
Additional Information: It is a common misconception that all granular fertilizers are slow-release.
What It Means: Plants grown specifically to be cut and plowed to increase nutrients in the soil.
Other Names: Cover crops
Examples: Buckwheat, alfalfa, clover
What It Means: Building that assists and protects plant growth by providing shelter and heat.
Other Names: Conservatory, glasshouse, nursery, hot house
Greenhouse Types: Gothic arch, lean-to, hoop house
What It Means: Natural additive made from fresh ingredients to assist plant growth.
Other Names: Fresh compost, green fertilizer
Examples: Coffee grounds, food scraps, grass clippings, tea bags
What It Means: Plants grown close to the ground and that primarily grow horizontally.
Other Names: Creepers, crawlers
Examples: Bugleweed (ajuga reptans), creeping phlox (phlox stolonifera), Japanese spurge (pachysandra), periwinkle (vinca minor), and sweet woodruff (galium odoratum).
What It Means: Place where living species reside.
Other Names: Environment, home, domain, residence
Examples: Meadows and forest edges are a perfect habitat for bee balms (monarda sp.).
What It Means: Ability for a plant to briefly handle mild frost or freezing conditions.
Other Names: Semi-hardy
Examples: Cosmos, cauliflower, blue sage
What It Means: Process where a person moves pollen between different flowers.
Other Names: Mechanical pollination, artificial pollination
Additional Information: If there are not enough pollinators, gardeners rely on hand pollination by robbing the male petals into the female status.
What It Means: Process that gradually exposes seedlings to outdoor weather conditions.
Other Names: Hardening, harden Off
Additional Information: The key to having a successful garden when using seedlings is knowing when and how hardening off seedlings should be done.
What It Means: General geographical area with a distinct temperature range and weather conditions.
Other Names: Climate zone
Additional Information: It is essential to know your hardiness zone (and microclimate if there is one) so you can pick the right plants and grow them successfully.
What It Means: Using and incorporating stone, wood, concrete, and other non-living materials in a landscape.
Other Names: Urban scape, hard landscape,
Additional Information: Hardscaping is a kind of landscaping.
What It Means: A type of plant that is more resistant to weather conditions.
Other Names: Sturdy, strong
Examples: I always recommend planting hostas and daylilies for gardeners who live in colder areas and do not have full sun; both plants are very hardy and do well in partial sun or partial shade.
What It Means: Prepared grass or other plant combinations used primarily for animal food such as cattle.
Other Names: Straw, herbage, pasturage, forage
Additional Information: Goats and horses also eat hay.
What It Means: Group of plants forming a fence or border.
Other Names: Barricade, hedgerow, fence
Hedge Plant Examples: Boxwood, holly, hydrangea
What It Means: A type of plant with specific characteristics maintained and unmodified for generations. They are not hybrid plants.
Other Names: Heritage plant, heirloom variety
Examples: Calabrese broccoli, scarlet nantes carrots, black prince tomatoes
What It Means: Plants with leaves used for food, condiments, or fragrance.
Other Names: Greenery, crops, spice plants, herbaceous plants
Examples: Basil, mint, oregano, parsley, thyme
What It Means: A vascular plant without woody stems.
Names: Herb, perennial
Examples: Daisies, oats, salvia
What It Means: Substance use to eradicate plants.
Other Names: Defoliant, weedkiller, plant killer, paraquat
Additional Information: Consider using natural or organic alternatives to herbicides, as they can be harmful and dangerous.
What It Means: The discipline of growing, caring, and propagating plants for edible, medicinal, and ornamental purposes.
Other Names: Gardening, cultivation, floriculture, and arboriculture
Additional Information: A person who professionally does horticulture work is a horticulturalist.
What It Means: A method of composting by mixing different materials and allowing microorganisms to increase the heat through decay.
Other Names: Thermal composting, aerobic compost
Additional Information: Hot composting has several benefits, such as the increased temperatures killing weed seeds and pathogens.
What It Means: A heated building to grow plants.
Other Names: Greenhouse, glasshouse, conservatory, hothouse
Additional Information: People typically use hot houses to grow plants out of season.
What It Means: Method of cultivation, which involves the planting of trunks, branches, and organic material in the shape of a mound.
Other Names: Mound bed, mound culture
Additional Information: Hugelkultur literally translates to “mound bed” or “mound culture.”
What It Means: Type of soil made from decaying organic matter.
Other Names: Organic matter, topsoil, bud
Additional Information: A crucial difference between humus and compost is that there are not many organisms decomposing in the former, and in the latter, there are.
What It Means: A plant that growers cross-pollinated from two different varieties.
Other Names: Hybridize, crossbred
Examples: Sweetcorn, early girl tomatoes, Meyer lemons
What It Means: Growing plants in water instead of soil.
Other Names: Tank farming, aquaculture
Additional Information: Hydroponics is increasingly popular due to its many benefits over traditional growing, such as increased crop yields.
What It Means: Instrument to measure humidity.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Using a hygrometer in a greenhouse or similar space is a good idea.
What It Means: Plants that continue producing until some external factor stops them.
Other Names: Non-terminated
Examples: Eggplants, peas, melons
What It Means: Something not made from anything biological, such as plants or animals.
Other Names: Unnatural, non-organic minerals
Additional Information: Inorganic fertilizers are becoming less popular today due to the increasing concern of chemical pollution.
What It Means: A type of animal distinguished by its lack of vertebrae, having three pairs of legs, and an exoskeleton.
Other Names: Bugs, vermin
Examples: Fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster), Japanese beetle (popillia japonica), monarch butterfly (danaus plexippus), tiger mosquito (aedes albopictus)
What It Means: Substance used to kill or harm insects.
Other Names: pesticide, defoliant, paraquat
Additional Information: Consider using natural or organic alternatives to insecticides, as they can be harmful and dangerous.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
What It Means: A pest control method focusing on eco-friendly techniques and socially responsible practices.
Other Names: Integrated pest control
Additional Information: Identifying or preventing any potential pest is arguably the most essential step in integrated pest management.
What It Means: A technique involving planting different plants next to each other in the same field or garden bed.
Other Names: Intercropping
Additional Information: Interplanting carrots with aromatic herbs effectively maximizes crop production and plant health.
What It Means: A non-native plant that brings harm to an ecosystem, people, or society when arriving in an area.
Other Names: Harmful alien species, pest
Examples: Kudzu vines, emerald ash borer, purple loosestrife
What It Means: An outdoor space with Japanese aesthetics that includes various species of plants, asymmetrical landscapes, ponds, and stones.
Other Names: Japanese traditional garden
Additional Information: Creating a Japanese garden should not need to be expensive; an architect can take advantage of the existing plants and features to maximize the natural properties of a place.
What It Means: The inner soft part of a nut, seed, or fruit.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: The size of the kernel in corn differs from cultivar to cultivar; for example, the corn used for popcorn and sweet corn are very different.
What It Means: A place where ornamental and aromatic plants are pruned and arranged to resemble a rope knot.
Other Names: Intricate garden, French-style garden, formal European garden
Additional Information: The Italian knot garden reflects how beautiful nature and human creativity can go hand in hand.
What It Means: Visible features of a land area.
Other Names: Scenery, terrain, topography, environment, countryside
Examples: A Japanese garden is an inviting landscape that blends minimalistic oriental architecture and natural features such as trees, rocks, and creeping plants.
What It Means: A textile physical barrier laid down to stop or diminish weed growth.
Other Names: Weed control fabric, weed fabric, weed barrier
Additional Information: Landscape fabric does not harm the roots of rosebushes; however, it is advisable to lay down a good layer of mulch on top of it.
What It Means: Developing and maintaining a piece of land so it is attractive.
Other Names: Gardening, building
Additional Information: Landscaping can involve plants and features such as pathways, walls, and more.
What It Means: The date of the cold season’s final frost, commonly happening in spring.
Other Names: Latest frost
Additional Information: Usually, tree planters do not wait until the last frost to plant their deciduous trees; as long as the ground is not frozen, they can dig.
What It Means: An area where grass or other small plant grows uniformly and is kept short.
Other Names: Grassplot, plot, yard
Additional Information: In many areas, local governments require homeowners to keep their lawns to a certain height.
What It Means: Process where a plant branch produces roots and separates from the parent plant.
Other Names: Branch cloning
Additional Information: Grafting is a very well-known propagation method; very few growers consider layering as another way to propagate.
Black spruces grow over a thin layer of organic matter in Canada’s peatlands; some reproduce by layering rather than seed germination.
What It Means: When water washes out the water-soluble substances from the soil, such as phosphorous.
Other Names: Percolating, drain
Additional Information: One of the reasons a garden needs fertilizer is the leaching of phosphorous due to the heavy rain.
What It Means: A plant that grows considerably tall and has a deficient number of leaves.
Other Names: Long-shanked
Examples: A ZZ plant can become leggy if it’s not getting enough light.
What It Means: A family of plants that produce leafy sacks of seeds called pods.
Other Names: Pod, pulse
Examples: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, peas
What It Means: A cluster of organisms such as fungi, bacteria, and algae living in a symbiotic relationship.
Other Names: Fungus-alga, epiphyte
Examples: Cladonia, felt lichen, oak moss, physcia, tree moss
What It Means: A mineral made from calcium oxides and hydroxides, widely used in construction and agriculture.
Other Names: Calcium oxide, quicklime, dolomitic lime
Additional Information: You can use lime to increase your soil’s pH if your soil is too acidic.
What It Means: A balanced soil mixture of sand, clay, and silt.
Other Names: Earth, mud, topsoil
Additional Information: Loamy soils are not guaranteed to be nutrient-rich soils; for most gardens, it is necessary to have good compost or even manure.
What It Means: In plants, they are nutrients required in higher doses.
Other Names: Macros, essential nutrients
Examples: Calcium (Ca), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S)
What It Means: Decomposing organic matter used as a fertilizer, often from animal feces.
Other Names: Animal compost, excrement, droppings, dung
Additional Information: The most common ingredients for garden fertilizer are manure, peat moss, and loam.
What It Means: A plant that grows near the border of ponds where the water is shallow.
Other Names: Marginal aquatic plant
Examples: Common rush (juncus effusus), golden creeping jenny (lysimachia aurea), and water spearmint (preslia cervina)
What It Means: An area where the climate differs from the surrounding area’s climate.
Other Names: Micro-climate
Additional Information: New York is so big and condensed that its microclimate differs immensely from the rest of the state.
It is essential to consider the microclimate of your region when choosing your flowers.
What It Means: In plants, they are the minerals they need in small portions
Other Names: Lesser nutrients
Examples: Manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), boron (B), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl)
What It Means: Organisms too small to see with the naked eye.
Other Names: Microbe
Examples: Bacteria, fungi, viruses, yeasts
What It Means: Slightly humid or wet.
Other Names: Damp, muggy, soggy
Additional Information: Most soils must be moist and well-drained for ornamental trees and shrubs.
What It Means: A mix of organic or inorganic matter used to cover the soil, commonly for plant care and landscaping.
Other Names: Topdressing, top-dress
Potential Mulch Ingredients: Wood chips, leaves, grass clippings
What It Means: A change in a plant’s genetics, resulting in physical changes.
Other Names: Change, alteration, modification
Examples: Almost all the variegated euonymus come from a mutation.
What It Means: An acronym for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), essential nutrients for plant care and the main ingredients in most fertilizers.
Other Names: NPK, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium
Additional Information: Fertilizers will show percentages by weight of each NPK element, such as 10-10-10.
What It Means: A plant that has grown and lived for many generations in an area without human intervention.
Other Names: Endemic plant, indigenous plant
Examples: Aromatic aster (aster oblongifolius), coneflower (echinacea procuresses), flowering dogwood (cornus florida), wentworth (viburnum tribolum)
What It Means: In biology, when a species of plant or animal is introduced to a new region where it is able to sustain itself without human intervention.
Other Names: Assimilate, homogenize, incorporate
Examples: There have been efforts to naturalize more trees in the state of Michigan, generally for fruit and lumber production.
What It Means: A sugar-rich substance flowers (and sometimes other plant parts) produce in order to draw in pollinators so those plants can reproduce.
Other Names: Flower’s secretion
Additional Information: One of the primary food sources for hummingbirds is the nectar from flowers.
Pollen and nectar are not the same. Nectar is an energy source, while pollen is a protein (in addition to being how plants reproduce).
What It Means: On the pH scale of 0-14, neutral is 7. A neutral substance is neither basic nor acidic.
Other Names: pH neutral
Additional Information: It is normal to have neutral soils when the parent material has limestone and granite.
What It Means: A nonmetal element that assists plant nutrition and is commonly present in the environment.
Other Names: Azote
Additional Information: Nitrogen is one of the main ingredients in chlorophyll.
Chlorosis in plants does not always mean an absence of nitrogen; there are other nutrition deficiency conditions a plant can have.
What It Means: A gardening technique that consists of not digging or disturbing the soil but planting the plants in a new layer of material such as compost or mulch.
Other Names: No-dig gardening, no-till farming
Additional Information: No-till gardening has benefits, such as retaining your soil’s structure, and drawbacks, such as potentially looking messy depending on what type of mulch you use.
What It Means: The part of the plant where the twigs, buds, and leaves grow from.
Other Names: Leaf node
Additional Information: When pruning a shrub such as a dogwood, cutting vertically above a healthy node is necessary.
Dendrologists must differentiate between leaf scars, nodes, and internodes, regardless of the plant’s arrangement.
What It Means: A product or organism that has not been genetically modified.
Other Names: Natural, unmodified, unaltered, non-transgenic
Examples: Many environmentalists insist on promoting non-GMO produce to assist local farmers and ecosystems.
Many farmers and agro engineers are opting for new ways to improve their non-GMO crops, which do not include pesticides or cross-pollination.
What It Means: Substances benefitting the metabolism of organisms for their development and growth.
Other Names: Nutriments, nourishments
Additional Information: Plants receive nutrients by absorbing water in the soil.
Plants bring nutrients and calories directly or indirectly to nearly all animals.
What It Means: Related to living material or agriculture unaltered with pesticides or similar chemicals. It is also often a label for products made this way, such as produce.
Other Names: Natural, non-chemical, non-artificial
Additional Information: It is a common misconception to use the terms non-GMO and organic interchangeably; however, those terms are very different.
What It Means: Used or grown for its beauty.
Other Names: Decorative, ornate
Examples: Silver nerve plant, string of pearls, roses
What It Means: Adding grass seed to existing grass.
Other Names: Reseeding, seeding
Examples: A good trick to remember how to overseed is to choose some of the holidays as overseeding dates, such as the Fourth of July or any other holiday.
What It Means: Organisms that live on or in another organism, doing so to feed and reproduce. Parasitic plants also exist.
Other Names: Hemiparasite
Examples: Ghost pipes plants (Monotropa uniflora) are one of the most intriguing plants in the forests of North America; by lacking chlorophyll, this plant is considered a parasite feeding on fungi to survive.
Mistletoes are one of the most common parasite plants affecting trees in Europe.
What It Means: An area that receives between four and six hours of sun a day. This label is also used for plants needing this amount of sun.
Other Names: Semi-shaded, partial sun
Examples: Hostas, coral bells, soapwort
What It Means: Decomposed moss from peat bogs, often used as a soil amendment.
Other Names: Peat, sphagnum
Additional Information: Peat moss loam and cow manure are some of the most used ingredients in garden soils.
A Warning Regarding Peat Moss: Commonly used by gardeners to acidify soil, however, it is a non-renewable resource with a high environmental cost. Peatlands are fragile ecosystems that take thousands of years to naturally form and are home to many rare plant and animal species. Harvesting peat moss requires draining of the wetland and is extremely harmful to this rapidly dwindling ecosystem.
What It Means: Soil with abundant decomposed plant material common in bogs and wet areas.
Other Names: Bog soil, sphagnum moss soil
Examples: Peat soil takes hundreds of years to form in natural circumstances and is one of the most used materials for soil in horticulture.
What It Means: The type of plants that come back yearly, and their life span is over two years.
Other Names: Lasting
Examples: Salvia, basil, peony, yarrow, sweet potato
What It Means: Outdoor structure with lattice walls and a ceiling, ideal for growing vines and other plants. Manufacturers can make them from wood, vinyl, aluminum, steel, fiberglass, and concrete.
Other Names: Pergola canopy, trellis, arbor
Pergola Types: Freestanding, attached, arched, louvered, awning
What It Means: A white mineral form of volcanic glass used to improve soil aeration and drainage.
Other Names: Horticultural perlite
Additional Information: An excellent way to distinguish garden soil from potting soil is if you see perlite in the mix; it is almost guaranteed the combination is for pots and containers.
What It Means: Holistic land management approach, combining people, resources, and the environment in a self-sustaining and wasteless way.
Other Names: Closed-loop farming, sustainable farming
Examples: One key management in permaculture is separating and using drinking water and wastewater.
Fruit tree management is a rewarding part of permaculture; their pruning, harvesting, and planting seasons keep families engaged.
What It Means: A living organism that harms another species.
Other Names: Plague
Examples: Bed bugs, mosquitoes, beetles
What It Means: Substance used to eliminate undesirable organisms.
Other Names: Fungicide, insecticide, defoliant, paraquat
Additional Information: Consider using natural or organic alternatives to pesticides, as they can be harmful and dangerous.
What It Means: The measurement of how acidic, neutral, or basic something is on a scale from 0-14. 0-6.9 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and 7.1-14 is basic.
Other Names: Acidity, neutrality, hydrogen ion concentration
Additional Information: One recommendation for all gardeners is to keep the pH of their soil slightly acidic to make nutrients accessible for plants.
Limestone powder increases the pH in the soil used when the soil is too acidic to plant crops or shrubs.
What It Means: One of the essential elements of life, helping plants grow. Its chemical symbol is P.
Other Names: Phosphor
Additional Information: Phosphorus fertilizers assist flower and root development in most garden plants; using them in the first year of transplanting is advisable.
Plants lacking phosphorus might show this as brown spots or decolorations in their leaves.
What It Means: Yellow powdery reproductive substance produced from the male organ of a plant.
Other Names: Spores, pollinium
Additional Information: Pollen is one of the biggest reasons for the increased number of allergies around May and June.
What It Means: Pollen moving from the male part of one plant to the female part of another plant.
Other Names: Fecundation, fertilization, insemination, breeding, implantation
Additional Information: Pollination has several types, including cross-pollination, self-pollination, and hand-pollination.
What It Means: An agent who carries substances for pollination.
Other Names: Plant inseminators
Examples: Insects, birds, bats, wind, water
What It Means: Usually, a label for herbicides used on plants after they have grown. This is usually before they mature.
Other Names: Postemergenent
Additional Information: Use organic or natural alternatives to herbicides, as they can be harmful or dangerous.
What It Means: One of the essential elements of life, helping plants grow. Its chemical symbol is K.
Other Names: Kalium
Additional Information: One of the macronutrients in plants is potassium, which is crucial for plant health and fruit production.
People often prefer potassium fertilizers to nitrogen fertilizers due to their lower environmental impact.
What It Means: The process of moving a plant from a smaller pot to a larger one.
Other Names: Replanting, potting up
Additional Information: An excellent indication it’s time to pot up is when your plant’s roots are coming out of the drainage holes.
What It Means: The phase of a plant before it grows above ground. It is also a label for various herbicides.
Other Names: Preemergent
Additional Information: Use organic and natural alternatives to herbicides, as they can be harmful and dangerous.
What It Means: When an organism reproduces to create more organisms.
Other Names: Breeding, reproduction
Examples: The propagation of invasive species hurts local ecosystems.
Not all propagation techniques in horticulture are draftings; some plants, like annuals, are propagating with seeds or bulbs.
What It Means: The technique of cutting branches or twigs from a plant, usually to improve appearance or health.
Other Names: Cut back, trim, thin
Additional Information: Proper pruning techniques can solve some of the plants’ most frequent problems.
You can prune nearly all times of the year; however, fall and early spring are the best times to do it.
What It Means: A structure made to raise the soil and plants off the ground.
Other Names: Raised gardens, raised planters
Examples: Raised bed structures are typically wood, galvanized steel, or plastic.
What It Means: To seed an area again, typically with a lawn.
Other Names: Replanting, overseeding, resowing
Additional Information: Autumn is the best time to reseed a garden.
What It Means: Stems, which some plants grow underground, typically assisting the plant with storing nutrients.
Other Names: Creeping rootstalk, rootstock
Example Plants With Rhizomes: Asparagus, ginger, irises, snake plant, Venus flytrap
What It Means: An outdoor landscape featuring stones and rocks as an essential part of the area.
Other Names: Rockwork, rockery
Additional Information: Plants can and do also feature as part of rock gardens.
What It Means: Part of the plant that assists in physical support and nutrition intake, typically located underground.
Other Names: Radicle
Examples: Some roots are just for support or nutrient intake; in orchids, roots also produce chlorophyll and have to be exposed to some light to survive.
Silver maple roots are extremely invasive, and homeowners must be aware of this before planting such trees on their properties.
What It Means: A disease that affects a plant’s root system, caused by a pathogen or lack of oxygen.
Other Names: Root putrefaction
Additional Information: Overwatering is the main cause of root rot in house plants.
What It Means: Part of the plant that grows horizontally to the ground, allowing more leaves, stems, and roots to grow.
Other Names: Runner plants, stolon, creeper.
Example Plants With Runners: Beans, potato vines, strawberries
What It Means: This happens when there’s too much water for the land to absorb, so it flows over the surface until it reaches streams, drains, and more.
Other Names: Overflow, oversaturation, surplus water, drainage
Additional Information: Runoff can happen artificially with irrigation and naturally with rain.
The runoff water from a pot is a good indicator of overwatering.
What It Means: Soil made from materials like sand and some clay.
Other Names: Sand, light soils
Additional Information: Sandy soils are excellent for growing succulents and palms.
Sandy soils are light in color, crumb to the touch, and tend to be acidic and dry.
What It Means: A mixture of water and minerals.
Other Names: Plant liquid, plant fluid, juice
Examples: In trees, you can locate the sap in the phloem and xylem; the former carries sugar from the leaves to the roots, and the latter from the roots to the leaves.
What It Means: A juvenile tree.
Other Names: Sprout, scion
Additional Information: Saplings have smoother and more flexible stems and branches than mature trees.
Saplings from almost all tree species adapt better when you transplant them at a younger age.
What It Means: A group of insects with a sucking mouth part that typically feeds off plants.
Other Names: Cocoidea
Additional Information: Scales exemplify sexual amorphism; the males and females are incredibly different.
What It Means: Removing litter or scrap from a lawn.
Other Names: Dethatching
Additional Information: You can scarify a lawn with machines, brooms, or rakes.
What It Means: A period of time with certain characteristics (specifically, the four parts of the year).
Other Names: Period, term
Additional Information: Spring is the best season for planting perennials and evergreens.
Lilacs have different blooming seasons despite being so similar to each other.
What It Means: Method of preserving crops and plants for a more extended growing or production period.
Other Names: Greenhouse, hothouse, conservatory
Additional Information: Mostly, season extenders are structures created with polycarbonate, which protects plants from cold.
What It Means: In botany, a seed is the carrier of a plant embryo, characterized by being covered in an organic coat.
Other Names: Kernel, grain, pip, nut
Examples: Acorns are the oak tree seeds, as keys are on maples. Cherries, raspberries, and other plants have their seeds in their fruits.
What It Means: Young plant coming out of a seed.
Other Names: Chit, sprout, burgeon
Additional Information: Seedlings have unique tissues similar to leaves called cotyledons.
In the first days of the seedlings, you can still see the seed coat being removed from the future plant.
What It Means: When a plant pollinates itself, typically moving pollen from its anther to its stigma.
Other Names: Autogamy, self-fertilization
Examples Of Self-Pollinating Plants: Eggplants, highbush blueberries, okra, rice
What It Means: A plant seeding without human intervention.
Other Names: Self-sowed, volunteer plants
Self-Seeding Plant Examples: Calendula, cosmos, marigold, morning glory, verbena
What It Means: Plants that fall between evergreen and deciduous labels. They may lose their foliage for a short time and then regain it or lose only part of their foliage.
Other Names: Semi-deciduous
Example Semi-Evergreens: Daphne, mountain laurel, and pyracantha.
What It Means: Removing a plant’s soft, outermost layer of growth.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Alpine currants, boxwood, and ficus are some of the most popular plants to shear.
What It Means: Multistem woody plants typically smaller than trees.
Other Names: Bush
Examples: Barberry, hydrangea, purple leaf sand cherry, rhododendron, rose bush
What It Means: A very fine sediment that can end up in soil or in bodies of water.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Silt is formed due to rock being worn down over time to a very small size.
What It Means: A soil made primarily of pulverized rock, the particles of which are smaller than sand but larger than clay.
Other Names: Loess, alluvial soil, colluvial material
Additional Information: Water and wind typically transport silt, which you can usually find next to riverbanks and lakes.
What It Means: Fertilizer that makes nutrients available for plants for an extended time, usually three to six weeks.
Other Names: Controlled-release fertilizer, control-availability fertilizer
Additional Information: You’ll usually apply slow-release fertilizer in spring, and it typically has a two or three-month time of effectiveness.
Heat, water absorption, and microbial activity typically decompose slow-release fertilizers.
What It Means: A loose mixture of organic and inorganic particles covering most land.
Other Names: Earth, ground
Examples: Sand, silt, and clay typically make up soils; loam is the most-used blend of soils in agriculture and horticulture.
Soil typically contains many microorganisms, such as amoebas, nematodes, fungi, and microscopic invertebrates.
What It Means: Any additive to improve the soil for a particular reason.
Other Names: Remedy, soil additive, soil conditioner
Examples: Peat moss, sand, and perlite are some of the most common soil additives in gardening.
What It Means: It measures soil qualities such as pH, particle composition, or water saturation levels.
Other Names: Soil sampling
Examples: You can do soil tests every second year in your flower bed, which assists you in knowing which soil amendments to use.
In agriculture, soil composition and pH are the most used metrics to improve crop production.
What It Means: A group of individuals that can breed with one another.
Other Names: Kind, breed
Examples: Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry), dactylopius coccus (cochineal), echinacea porpurenses (coneflower), popillia japonica (Japanese beetle), quercus rubra (northern red oak).
What It Means: An ornamental plant selected to be a focal point in a garden or exhibition.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Magnolias, Japanese maples, hydrangeas, and Hikoni false-cypress are prevalent specimen plants.
What It Means: A group of aromatic substances from plants used to flavor food.
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Basil, cinnamon, curry, oregano, paprika
What It Means: Sexual or asexual particle produced by bacteria, plants, or fungi.
Other Names: Pollem, egg, basidium
Examples: Algae, ferns, mosses, and liverworts produce spores.
What It Means: In gardening, the process of burying sticks or poles to fasten tall plants such as trees to.
Other Names: Trellising
Additional Information: It’s common to stake standard trees in the first years of their lives.
Staking uses cables or straps, stakes, and tree guards.
What It Means: Part of the male flower that produces pollen, usually with a filament and an anther.
Other Names: Stamina, filaments
Additional Information: The flower with both stamen and pistil is known as a perfect flower.
What It Means: The sticky upper part of a pistil, located in perfect and female flowers.
Other Names: N/A
Additional Information: Stigmas have a sticky substance that traps the pollen from other flowers.
What It Means: A specific group within a species, different in some way from other groups in the species.
Other Names: N/A
Example: Paeonia daurica subsp. macrophylla is a subspecies of paeonia daurica.
What It Means: Related to regions and climate between the tropics and the temperate zones.
Other Names: Semitropical
Examples And Additional Information: Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and most of the United States are in the subtropical zone.
Subtropical regions have warm to hot summers and mild to cold winters.
What It Means: Press down soil to make sure you have enough or to improve nutrition intake.
Other Names: Packing
Additional Information: You can tamp with your hands or a tool.
What It Means: A type of plant whose tissues are soft and unable to survive freezing conditions.
Other Names: Nonhardy, soft
Examples: Tender plants are related to the location; a plant can be tender in the Great Lakes region but hardy enough for most of California or Florida.
What It Means: Point of the plant’s branches or stems actively growing.
Other Names: Apical bud
Additional Information: Terminals are often at the tip of the branches and have a different color than the rest of the nodes of the branches.
What It Means: Fired clay molded to create different objects such as pots.
Other Names: Terracotta, ceramic clay, adobe
Examples: Manufacturers frequently use terra cotta for indoor and outdoor plant pots.
What It Means: An encapsulated cluster of plants and other land organisms living together.
Other Names: Vivarium
Examples: Terrariums have different stones and soil layers, plants, mosses, and decaying wood.
What It Means: The layer of dried grass under the grass blades.
Other Names: Straw, hay
Additional Information: Thatch accumulates under the grass blades (leaves) every season and is typically removed periodically to avoid lawn damage.
What It Means: Removing excess plant material in an area to improve the health of the remaining plants.
Other Names: Dwindling, eliminating, reducing
Examples: Practitioners thin manually when the seedlings are in trays.
Usually, thinning is necessary when more than one plant grows in one cell or pot.
What It Means: Churning soil to improve plant and soil health, usually before planting.
Other Names: Aerating
Additional Information: You can till with hard rakes, tractors, or tillers.
What It Means: A blend of minerals, such as sand or organic material like peat moss, added to lawns or gardens to improve plant health.
Other Names: Compost, humus
Additional Information: Top dressing can assist in the drainage and nutrition intake in lawns and garden beds.
What It Means: The upper layer of organic matter and loamy soils where the roots of most plants obtain their nutrients.
Other Names: Earth, surface soil
Additional Information: Topsoils extend six to 12 inches underground and are great habitats for microbes, insects, small mammals, fungi, and plants.
What It Means: Relocating a plant from one spot or container to another.
Other Names: Replanting
Additional Information: Transplanting should happen quickly and smoothly when conditions are temperate.
Spring is the best time to transplant in almost all circumstances.
What It Means: Plant organism that grows bigger than shrubs or bushes, with one or more stems.
Other Names: Timber
Examples: Hickory, maple, oak, sassafras, spruce
What It Means: Relates to the environment, climate, conditions, or location of the tropics. The tropics are hot and humid.
Other Names: N/A
Plants That Grow In Tropical Climates: Bird of paradise, lantanas, pothos, prickly pear, water lilies
What It Means: The underground stem of a type of plant that stores nutrients and allows plants to rebloom another season.
Other Names: Underground stem, groundnut
Example Plants With Tubers: Cassava, potato, taro, yarn bean
What It Means: Adding plants under another one, usually under larger plants like a tree.
Other Names: Under planting, layering
Examples: Anemones, astilbes, hydrangeas, pulmonarias, sweet woodruff
What It Means: A plant with leaves colored differently on its edge.
Other Names: Spatter, mixed color
Variegated Plant Examples: Emerald gaiety euonymus, harlequin maple, ivory halo dogwood, patriot hosta
What It Means: A group of plants within a species sharing a common set of characteristics (plant variety is also a taxonomic rank below subspecies and above form).
Other Names: N/A
Examples: Alouette potato, Nantes carrots, pineapple mint
What It Means: The combination of various plants in an area.
Other Names: Plant cover, plant community
Additional Information: Vegetation refers to plants in any area, but people often use it to refer to wild plants.
What It Means: Creating earthworm manure, a valuable and nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Other Names: Vermicasting, worm composting
Commonly Used Worms: Primary earthworms like red wiggler and red worms.
What It Means: Breeding worms.
Other Names: Worm farming
Additional Information: People typically practice vermiculture to take advantage of vermicompost.
What It Means: Artificially exposing plants to prolonged cold temperatures to stimulate plant growth and flower production.
Other Names: Vernalisation
Examples: Plants such as Almonds, apple trees, tulips, and daffodils require vernalization to flower.
What It Means: Infectious particles affecting plants, potentially causing color changes, oozing, and other symptoms.
Other Names: Viral pathogen
Examples: Tobacco mosaic virus, plum pox virus, tomato mosaic virus
What It Means: A plant that grows on its own without someone planting it. Some of these are desired plants, and some are not.
Other Names: Weeds
Examples: Chickweed, columbine, dandelion, milkweed
What It Means: Grass adapted to hot temperatures and dry weather.
Other Names: Heat-tolerant grass, southern grass
Examples: Bahiagrass, Bermuda grass, centipede grass, zoysia grass
What It Means: A garden with a body of water as its primary feature, such as a stream, pond, or fountain, used to grow aquatic plants.
Other Names: Aquatic garden
Possible Plants For Water Gardens: Flag plants, water iris, water lotus
What It Means: General name for unwanted plants in a yard, garden, urban area, or agricultural field.
Other Names: Wild plants, invader plants
Examples Of Common Weeds: Crabgrass, dandelion, garlic mustard, plantain, thistle
What It Means: Substances used to control or eradicate unwanted plants.
Other Names: Herbicide, defoliant, paraquat
Common Weed Killer Examples: Glyphosate (Roundup), 2,4-D, and diquat
What It Means: A flower that grows without human intervention, often in the wild.
Other Names: Wilding flower, weed
Common Garden Wildflower Examples: Asters, dandelions, joe-pye weed, obedient plant, yarrow
What It Means: Plants with hard stems
Other Names: Arboreal, timbered
Shrub Examples: Boxwoods, jasmine bushes, rose bushes, nannyberries
Tree Examples: Elms, firs, maples, mezquites, spruces
What It Means: Long, thin, soft-bodied, and boneless animal that burrows through the ground
Other Names: Vermin
Examples: Bobbit worm, grey worm, leeches, red jiggler, tenia
What It Means: Worm droppings (excrement) that are naturally beneficial to plants
Other Name(s): Worm guano, worm humus, worm manure, vermicast, vermicompost
Additional Information: Worm castings have different nutrients, especially nitrogen, zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Typically, worm casting is better for the environment than nitrogen fertilizers.
What It Means: Landscaping designed to have little need for irrigation.
Other Names: Drought-tolerant landscaping, water-smart landscaping
Plants Suitable For Xeriscaping: Adam’s needle, blue oat grass, stonecrop, yarrows, yacca
What It Means: Outdoor area, normally grassy and open, located next to a building.
Other Names: Garden, lot, patch
Examples: Most yards are similar to gardens and are often referred to as the same outdoor area.