Gardening Terms - Glossary

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Please see a list of popular gardening terms below and what they mean, this should help you understand a lot of the gardening lingo, especially if this is all new to you. If you don't see a certain term below and would like us to include it please contact us



A plant that grows from seed, then flowers, sets seed and dies in 1 year.


A plant that lives in water, completely submerged, floating of living with its roots in the water


A plant that is sold without compost or soil around its roots.

These are dug up from the ground and ready for the dormant season.

Bedding plants.

A plant that is used for temporary display. ie spring,summer or winter.


A plant that grows from seed into a small plant in the first year then flowers and sets seed the next year.

Biological control.

The use of a pest’s natural enemies to control its numbers in the garden or greenhouse.

Bog garden

An area in the garden that remains wet.

Capillary matting

An absorbent material that holds water on which containers and pots are stood in dry weather conditions.


A technique used to encourage a potato tuber to begin to sprout before planting.


A small structure made from glass, clear plastic or polythene that is used to keep areas of soil warm or to protect new plants.


A mixture used for plants.

Compost garden

A material that has been produced from decomposing organic material in a compost bin or heap.

Crop covers

Materials used to protect plants and crops.

Fleece covers are used in the winter to protect non hardy frost tender plants. Insect netting to prevent the invasion of small flying insects.


To prepare land area and soil for crops.

Damping down

Wetting surfaces in the green house to raise humidity and helps keep the temperature down.


The removal dead flower heads to tidy the display.

Earth up

To draw up soil around the plant forming a mound.

Ground cover plants

These are densely growing, mat-forming plants that are used to cover the ground to help prevent weeds forming.

Full Sun

A garden site is considered full sun as long as it gets at least 6 hours a day of direct sunlight on most days.

Partial Sun/Shade

3-6 hours of sun exposure each day, preferably in the cooler hours of the morning and afternoon.

Dappled Sun

Similar to partial shade. The sun makes it way through the branches of deciduous trees.

Full Shade

Does not mean "No sun" . plants listed as full shade are those that can survive on less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, with filtered sunlight during the rest of the day. Hosta, Astilbe and Heuchera are all considered shade plants.

Hardening off

A method that is used to wean plants from the conditions of being indoors to outdoors.


The amount of cold a plant is able to withstand. Hardy plants can tolerate frost, half hardy and tender plants can not.

Herbaceous plants

Plants that produce sappy, green non woody growth.


The organic residue of decayed organic matter found in soil. It improves the soil fertility.

Leaf mould

This is produced from the decomposition of leaves in a leaf bin or heap. Can be used as a soil improver or planting mixture.


A bulky organic animal waste that has been rotted down and used to improve soil structure and fertility.


A mulch can be used on the surface of the soil to prevent moisture loss and prevent weed growth

The mulch is loose and organic, composted bark or garden compost, gravel or a fabric ie mulch matting or landscape fabric.


A plant that lives for more than 2 years.

This term is usually given to a hardy non-woody plant (see Herbaceous).

A tender perennial is a non-woody plant that cannot take the frosts.

Pricking out

The spacing of seedlings while small so they develop and grow on.


A mass of roots and compost that holds together when removed from its container.

Slow release fertilizer

An inorganic fertilizer specially coated which releases its nutrients slowly.


The transfer of a plant from one place/container to another.


A hedge, fence, wall or fabric that is used to protect plants from the wind therefore reducing the damage that the wind may cause

We hope you have found this Glossary of Gardening Terms helpful. If you need further assistance please contact us for more advice and information. Don't forget you can also get a range of gardening products, turf, plants, compost and more delivered straight to your home. Call us on 020 8421 5977 to find out more about our delivery price and delivery areas or see here for more detail

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