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10 Common Gardening Terms — and What They Mean

10 Common Gardening Terms — and What They Mean

Never again feel like a novice at the garden center!

By FamilyTime

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Every discipline has its own lingo and gardening is no different. While gardeners are a friendly bunch, many beginners are a little daunted by the terms they hear tossed around by veterans and may be afraid to ask for a definition.

Let us come to the rescue! Here is a list of 10 commonly used terms that will make you sound more knowledgeable than you might feel you are. Even better, once you understand these, you will be a better gardener.

  1. Annual: An annual is a plant that lives and dies in one season. It will not reappear next year, but during its growth cycle in your garden it will flower, set seeds, and multiply.

  2. Bedding plant: These are plants that generally are planted in masses purely for show. Very often bedding plants are annuals, which bloom all summer.

  3. Compost: The term refers to organic matter (leaves, grass clippings, twigs, kitchen refuse) that has decomposed and become soft and textured. Compost is used to amend the soil so that it’s richer, healthier, and better able to hold moisture.

  4. Deadhead: Plants with multiple blooms need to be deadheaded, which means dying flowers are plucked from the plant. This makes the plant look better and also encourages more abundant flowering.

  5. Division: Splitting perennials apart to make several smaller plants is called dividing. It’s important because it revitalizes plants even as it helps you fill out your beds and control plant sizes.

  6. Mulch: Material that covers the soil and holds in moisture and warmth even as it discourages weed growth is called mulch. Mulch may be made of organic or inorganic material.

  7. Perennial: These flowering plants return to the garden year after year. They die off in the frost but their roots survive the winter and put up new shoots in the spring.

  8. Rootbound: This is the condition potted plants develop when they are confined to a pot for too long and their roots, which have nowhere to go, wrap around the rootball in the bottom of the pot. Rootbound, or potbound, plants should be transplanted to larger pots.

  9. Variegated: Foliage that is streaked or blotched with more than one hue is referred to as variegated. The leaves are often mixtures of green, yellow, white, and cream.

  10. Volunteer: In the garden a volunteer is a plant that grows where it has not been planted. This difference between a volunteer and a weed is that the volunteer started as the seed of one of the flowers you planted. These self-sowed plants often don’t appear until the season after you've planted the original.


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