The Dictionary for the Green Thumbs

Expand your vocabulary when it comes to gardening. Here is a glossary of some common gardening words and phrases. There is more to learn, when you work with Plants and Stuff.

Acidic soil – This refers to a soil with a pH lower than 7.

Alkaline soil – This refers to any soil with a pH higher than 7 which is often due to hard water.

Biennial – This is a plant that completes its life cycle in two years.

Bolting – This is an event wherein a plant produces flowers or seeds prematurely instead of a crop. This is usually the result of excessive heat and sun exposure.

Companion Planting –This refers to the belief that two plants growing near each other results to mutual benefits.

Compost This refers to a mixture of decaying organic materials used for soil amending, fertilizing, and mulching.

Cutting – This is a plant propagation method wherein a part of a plant is cut and dipped in a rooting hormone to eventually grow into a new plant.

Dead heading – This is the act of pinching or cutting off spent flowers.

Direct sowing – This is a method used in germinating seeds at the site you want them to grow.

Full sun – This refers to the plant’s exposure to direct sunlight for at least 6 hours each day in order to thrive.

Genus – This refers to a group of species of plants that are closely related.

Hardy – This refers to a plant that can withstand frost exposure without any means of protection.

Horticulture – This refers to the art and science of cultivating plants.

Humus – This refers to the decomposed plant matter that is part of the soil.

Hybrid – This is the crossbreeding of two plants of different species or varieties with distinct characteristics.

Loam – This refers to the rich soil consisting of 25% clay, 50% silt, and less than 50% sand. This is considered ideal soil for gardening and agriculture.

Naturalized – This refers to a method wherein a gardener plants randomly and without a pattern.

Open pollination – This refers to plants whose seeds develop through random, natural pollination such as field movement, insect activity or wind.

Perennial – This refers to plants that live for multiple growing seasons.

Pinching off – This is the periodic removal of new, freshly grown leaves from a plant in order to boost growth.

Pruning – This is the process of cutting off leaves or branches within limits in order to remove dead, injured or diseased foliage or branches.

Raised bed – This refers to an elevated garden bed with better drainage, aeration and warmer soil than a conventional bed.

Seedling – This is a plant that has just emerged from its seed with its first root, stem and leaves.

Side dressing – This is a method of fertilization in which one works a little fertilizer into the soil near a mature plant.

Sludge – This refers to solid sediments which are left over from industrial wastewater treatment plants. These are often used as fertilizer or livestock food-additive because they contain high levels of nutrients. However, it can also contain high levels of heavy metals and pollutants.

Staking – This refers to the practice of driving a support into the ground next to a plant for its growth.

Thinning – This is a process of boosting the growth of plants through discarding the weakest seedlings, allowing freer air circulation, and increasing the light for foliage.

Waterlogged – This refers to the type of soil that is saturated with water.