Gardening enthusiasts have their own set of jargon, just like many other hobbyists. Some of these terms can be confusing, especially to the gardening newcomer. So here’s a brief list of terms that all gardeners should get familiar with.
Annual — Plant that completes its life cycle from seed germination to seed production in one growing season.
Biennial — Plant that completes its life cycle over two growing seasons; usually produces only vegetation its first season, then flowers and fruits the second season, and then dies.
Bulb — Underground plant structure made up of modified stem and leaves for storing carbohydrates.
Bud — Undeveloped shoot with leaves (vegetative) or flowers (floral).
Conifer — Plant whose fruiting structure is a cone.
Cultivar — Cultivated variety; chosen for a feature(s) that varies from its species.
Deciduous — Plant that loses all of its leaves annually.
Dormant — Reduced state of physiological activity.
Evergreen — Plant that retains at least some of its foliage throughout the year.
Herbaceous — Plant that dies back to the ground at the end of the growing season (can be annual or perennial).
Horticulture — Art and science of growing ornamental plants, vegetables and fruits.
Hybrid — Result from the interbreeding of two distinct species, cultivars or varieties.
Invasive — Growing aggressively and outcompeting other plants in the same area; difficult to control.
Invasive Species — A non-native species whose aggressive character does, or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health.
Mulch — Cover placed on top of soil and/or around growing plants to suppress weed growth, conserve soil moisture, and/or modify temperature.
Native plant — Plant species indigenous to a specific geographic area and, thus, usually best adapted to those local conditions.
Perennial — Plant that lives for more than two growing seasons; can have multiple seed stages.
Photosynthesis — Process by which plants convert light energy, carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates.
Pinch — Removal of young stem tips.
Plant Propagation — Increase in the number of plants, using seed, stem, leaf, root or other plant tissue.
Shrub — Woody perennial plant with multiple main stems, generally smaller than a tree.
Tree — Woody perennial plant with one or very few main stem(s).
Wildflower — Plant species that grows and reproduces on its own, without human intervention.
Woody Plant — Plant whose stems persist from year to year, adding layers of cells each season.