gardening terminology: explained

gardening terminology: explained

Get green fingered with our glossary of commonly used gardening words.


A plant that has a one-year life cycle - you will see it germinate, flower, seed and then die, in one growing season. Biennial refers to plants with a two-year cycle and perennial are plants who live for at least three years.

Bedding plants

Plants that are suitable for growing in beds. Typically, these are plants which grow fast and produce colourful flowers.


The process of breaking up and loosening the soil in preparation for planting. You may also removes weeds during this time, too. 


Not the end of the line as the word may imply, but instead this refers to the removal of old and dying flowers on a plant to encourage further growth and new flowers. 


A plant that sheds and loses its leaves at the end of the growing season (usually autumn and winter). Don’t panic, the leaves then grow back fresh come spring time.


The opposite of deciduous, evergreen describes plants that retain and keep most of their leaves throughout the year.


This refers to a low-growing, spreading plant that will indeed cover the ground, as the name suggests, almost like a mat or carpet.


What kind of conditions a plant can handle - this includes low temperatures, cold weather, winds and frost, without the need for artificial protection. A hardy plant can handle whatever Mother Nature deals it, whereas a half-hardy or tender plant may require more shelter. 


This is a layer of material placed around the plants' soil to retain moisture. Examples of this include manure, compost and gravel. 


This word describes plants that are grown purely for the way they look, rather than for consumption or for economic use, for example.

Pinch back

Using your thumb and forefinger to nip back the tip of a branch or stem. As a result, you will get a fuller and bushier plant. 


A young plant raised from a seed.


A plant that spreads and reproduces by the scattering of its own seeds.


The is the upper layer of soil, usually the first 5-10 inches, and it contains a huge amount of organic nutrients and minerals which helps to support the life of the plant. 


Pruning and cutting a shrub or tree into various different shapes. Buxus plants are commonly used for this art.