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.