Aerial roots are roots that are above the ground. Different plants that grow them may have distinct functions for them: for support, breathing, to propagate itself or as a parasite.
Aerating is the process of loosening soil or compost, allowing air to circulate.
Alkaline/acidic soil is soil that has a different level of pH. Certain plants enjoy different levels of soil pH and, depending on that pH, it can even change the colour of some flowers.
To amend is adding materials to improve the current soil. These are normally natural materials such as compost, gypsum, pumice, worm castings, manure or lime.
Annuals are plants that perform their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed in a single season. All of the plants dies off after the season, and only dormant seeds bridge the gap for the next generation.
Anvil Secateurs work by having a sharp blade push through the plant stem onto a solid ‘cutting board’ or ‘anvil’. Anvil Secateurs are preferred over Bypass Secateurs for tougher jobs, such as cutting off dead wood.
Aphids are small sap-sucking insects that can damage plants.
An arborist is a person who studies plant care, selection and removal of parts of, or entire trees, shrubs, vines and other woody perennial plants.
Bare-root plants are dug out when dormant and sold with no soil around the roots. This helps the plant adjust to new soil conditions.
A bed is a section of the garden that is prepared specifically for flowers or veggies. This can also be filled in higher than the current ground level to be a ‘raised bed’.
Insects that are beneficial to keep in your garden by ways of pollination or keeping other prey insects in the garden at bay.
Biennials are plants requiring two years to complete their life cycle. The first season is typically used as a growth year, and the second season is typically where the plants will produce flowers and seeds followed by the plants’ death.
Blanching is making a plant pale by covering it so that light does not reach it as it grows.
A bloom is a flower, and blooming means flowering.
Bolt is a term used when a plant quickly goes to flower/seed.
Bone Dust is ground up bones that can be used for fertiliser. Can be found in ‘Blood and Bone’ products.
Bonsai are usually a shrub or tree that is miniaturised with strict pruning and constricted roots.
Brassicas are also known as the ‘mustard family’. These include cauliflower, cabbage, wild mustard, broccoli, bok choy and turnip.
Brightly lit area
A brightly lit area is usually referring to house plants which need to be in a room well-lit with natural light, without any direct sunlight touching their leaves.
A bud is a small growth point where a leaf, stem or flower will emerge from.
Bypass Secateurs work similarly to scissors, where two sharp blades pass by each other. These are recommended for clean cuts that are necessary for propagation and pruning.
Chitting is encouraging the seed potatoes to grow sprouts before planting.
Cloche is another name for a ‘cold frame’, A frame that is covered with transparent plastic or glass to protect crops from winter frosts and cold damage.
Compact plants are smaller than 'normal' plants, and generally need less pruning.
Companion plants are plants that help each other when grown together. This can either to be deter certain insects or animals, or plants that put certain nutrients back into the soil for other plants to benefit from.
A corm is the base, or base of the stem of a plant which becomes fleshy and stores energy and food for the plant.
A cottage garden is a type of informal garden typically stocked with colourful flowering plants.
Crop rotation is changing out the position of different crops each growing season. Done for a variety of reasons including deterring pests, preventing soil-borne diseases and changing different nutrient intakes/outtakes from the soil.
Cross pollination is pollination between different varieties of a species of plant.
Cucurbits are also known as the gourd family. These include squash, pumpkin, cucumber, watermelon, luffa and zucchini.
A cultivar is a variety of plant that has arisen from a garden or tree nursery, that has then been selectively bred.
A cutting is a small piece of a plant that has been cut off for propagation purposes.
Dappled shade means part shade/shade underneath a tree.
Deadheading is removing the dead flower heads from a plant, which encourages it to bloom again and extends the period of blooming.
A deciduous plant or tree sheds its leaves and in winter. This is when some plants ‘hibernate’ and the sap in the plant slows to conserve energy for the next spring
Die-back is a symptom that can be caused by environmental or physical disease. This is where part of the plant (or in serious cases all of the plant) dies off completely.
To dig in means digging up soil to mix in a product or organic material, usually to add nutrients to the soil.
Division is the act of diving a plant (that has several stems) in half to make two different plants, also known as a type of propagation.
Dormancy is a resting period for certain plants, where they slow down their growth, needing less light, water and warmth depending on the species. Similar to hibernation.
A plant would be considered drought tolerant when it does well with drier conditions, and little watering.
Edema is a condition that can occur in cells where the plant takes up more water than needed for transpiration from leaves. This can be visually seen when the bloated cells burst, often creating raised bumps or markings on leaves.
An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it
Espalier is training a small plant or tree to grow in a horizontal pattern following either a wall, stakes, a trellis or fence, usually done for easy access to fruit and strictly contain growth.
Evergreen plants retain their leaves all year round.
Fenestration describes natural holes in the leaves of plants.
Fertile soil is soil rich in humus and nutrients.
Fertiliser is also known as ‘Fert’ or ‘Food’. A product or material that is added to the soil or plants’ leaves for added nutrient value.
Floristry/floriculture is a branch of horticulture which is focused on the care, breeding and growth of flowering plants, comprising the floral industry.
Foliage is the leaves on a plant.
Foliar feed is a liquid fertiliser that is sprayed directly onto the leaves of a plant to stimulate growth.
Free-draining soil means that water should be able to drain efficiently from a garden bed, container, or pot, without pooling/puddling on the soil.
Frost hardy plants can survive frosts in winter.
Frost tender plants will often be damaged or killed by any winter frosts.
If a plant requires full shade, this means they require no sunlight, and must be in complete shade.
If a plant requires full sun, this means they require 6 or more hours of direct sunlight each day.
A fungicide is a product that prevents the spread of fungi on plants which could otherwise seriously damage or destroy them.
A genus is a taxonomic rank that is used in biological classification. In the rank, genus is above species, but below family. The genus is usually the first latin name of a plant (ie Rosa is the genus for roses).
Germination occurs when a seed starts to grow and put out shoots. Different seeds have varying levels of difficulty and time periods for germination.
A grafted plant is a plant that has a rootstock from one plant - usually chosen for disease/pest resistance, robust growth or height attributes - and the stem or branch from another that is compatible
Green manure is a special crop that is grown in beds to be then dug into the soil to increase nutrient value or organic matter. This is usually done in winter, which also helps keep weeds at bay.
A green thumb is referring to someone who possesses superior plant-handling or hand-growing skills. Also known as being green-fingered.
A ground cover plant is referring to plants that are used to cover an area of ground. Often ground cover plants are grown over banks and retaining walls to provide protection of the soil and to prevent weeds and erosion. Coprosma and Star Jasmine are popular ground covers in New Zealand.
Guttation is the secretion of water from a plant.
Habit is referring to the general structure of the plant. For example, climbing, trailing, and spreading are terms used when referring to a plants structure.
Hardening off is a term used when gradually acclimatising a plant to a cooler environment.
Hardy refers to plants that can tolerate varying levels of heat and frost, such as lavender.
Heavy soils are poorer soils that can become compact, usually clay or silt, with poor draining qualities.
A hedgerow is a hedge compiled of diverse types of shrubs and small trees. Normally along sides of roads or between fields for wind breaking, screening or shade for animals.
An open-pollinated plant that has remained unchanged for at least 50+ years.
Herbs are plants that contain sweet, savoury or aromatic properties which can be used as edible food garnishes, flavouring, fragrances or even medical purposes.
A herbaceous plant doesn’t form hard, woody stems, and die back each year.
A herbicide is a spray which is used to kill unwanted plants/weeds.
A horticulturist is a person who studies the world of plants including propagation, cultivation, the study of improving yields, growth, nutritional value, resistance to pests and diseases, and environmental stresses.
House plants are plants that do well in pots inside. Usually grown indoors because of warmer temperatures and lack of direct sunlight.
Humus is a dark organic material that is formed in the soil when plant matter decays.
A hybrid is a plant that is the result of a cross pollination between two different plant varieties of the same species. Many of the seeds that come from hybrids usually result it taking one of the plants previous parents’ traits, not both.
An insecticide is a spray which is used to kill insects.
Often indoor plants require a position with indirect light. This means they should be in a well-lit area that is not directly hit by the sun. This can be achieved by having shaded windows, or by moving your plant slightly away from any windows that receive full sun.
A landscape gardener is a person who creates a plan and structure for your garden. This includes planning walls, paths, and trellises and selecting and planting plants that fit within the planned structure.
Leafmould is a type of compost that is made from the decomposition of shaded deciduous shrub and tree leaves.
Loam is rich soil consisting of 25% clay, 50% silt, and less than 50% sand; considered ideal soil for gardening and agriculture
Loppers are a pruning tool used for thicker branches. Larger than secateurs and more precise than a handsaw, usually used on shrubs, trees and hedging.
Micro-flora is a collection of bacteria/organisms that live in an eco system. In gardening, it is usually referring to beneficial flora bacteria that live in the earth and around root systems
Microclimate means localised climatic conditions that can differ considerably from other nearby conditions and areas.
Mildew is a common fungus that affects a wide variety of plants. It is easily identified and appears as white powdery spots on stems, flowers, fruit or vegetables.
Mottling usually refers to yellowish spots on plants, and is usually a sign of disease or malnutrition that can be caused by a water imbalance in the plant. Some plant viruses can cause mottling while other plants may be more susceptible to mottling.
Mulch is a loose matter that is laid on top of the soil to reduce moisture loss, prevent weeds and help condition soils.
N-P-K is the abbreviation for the three main nutrients that are necessary for plant growth: Nitrogen (N) which is good for foliage growth, Phosphorus (P) which is good for root growth, Potassium (K) which is good for flower and fruit growth.
Naturalised planting is randomly/planting without a specific pattern.
Nodes are areas on a stem with high cellular activity and growth. Nodes occur at certain intervals on the stem of a plant. All buds and leaves grow out of nodes. When pruning, it is usually recommended to cut back to just above a node, allowing new growth to shoot from the dormant nodes.
Nutrient dense/nutrient rich
Nutrient dense/nutrient rich is normally referred to when talking about food or soils that are high in combined nutrients levels.
Oil spray is used as a natural alternative to chemical insecticide. Oil spray is used to smother static insects in plants. Recommended not to be used on palms or ferns.
Organic gardening is a method where gardening is derived from organic matter and naturally occurring substances.
Organic matter is material that has come from naturally occurring/living things. This includes sheep pellets, seaweed, decomposed clippings, worm castings and compost.
Ornamental plants are plants grown for their looks/aesthetics.
Part shade means that a plant prefers to grow in at least 3-6 hours of direct sun per day, most of that being the less intense morning sun.
Patio pot plants
Patio pot plants are plants that are able to live in large pots/containers on the patio or deck, normally in partly shaded to sunny areas.
Peat is rotted organic plant matter which is found in acidic areas such as bogs and is usually used in potting mixes as well as fuel.
Perennials are plants that grow for many seasons. Generally dying down each winter and growing back again the following spring from the same root system. Some perennials, however, do keep their leaves all year round.
Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that when expended can be used as a soil amendment, as a medium for hydroponics or for starting cuttings. Also helps prevent soil compaction.
A pesticide is a spray used to kill a wide range of pests. These can include fungus, insects, and weeds.
Pinching or pinching back is ripping off the end of a shoot which usually stimulates bushier growth below.
Potting up / Potting on
Potting up or potting on is taking a plant from a small pot and planting it in a larger pot.
Prey insects are insects that are prey to predatory insects. Flies are prey insects to mantis, which are predatory insects.
Propagation is breeding specimens of a plant by natural processes from the parent stock.
Prune means to cut or cutting back a plant. Doing this can improve shape, new growth or can encourage more blooms.
Root rot is a common fungal disease found in both indoor and outdoor plants. It is caused by different types of fungi that turn the roots of a plant brown and slimy. Root rot is often caused by chronic over-watering and the most common symptom of root rot is a plant that is wilting even though the soil is wet.
Rootstock is the base and root area of a plant where new growth can be produced from. It can also be described as a stem with a well developed root system, to which a bud from another plant is grafted.
A raised bed is an elevated garden bed, used to increase drainage.
Repotting is replanting into a pot. This can be the same pot, using new soil, or it can be potting up.
Rootball is the name for the mass of roots formed by a plant, and the soil surrounding them
Root-bound is when a plant’s roots are constricted to a small area and grow to the shape of its’ surroundings, restricting growth.
Root pruning is the act of pruning back roots, either before planting dormant plants such as roses and fruit trees to encourage vigorous root growth, as well as a common act when repotting a bonsai.
Sprouts are the beginning growth of a seed and sprouting is when a plant will send out new growth on a plant.
A stamen is the male fertilising organ and aspect of a flower.
A sacrificial crop is a crop planted specifically for insects to attack (usually veggies), diverting attention away from a main crop.
Scarifying is the action of removing dead grass or ‘thatch’ which builds up in a lawn over time, usually done with a leaf rake. Also known as de-thatching.
Scion wood is a pencil-sized dormant branch cutting that usually consists of four to six buds. Taken from a terminal (one year old) plant for grafting, which are usually stores until needed in a fridge.
Secateurs is another word for pruners. Strong, scissor-like tools used for cutting branches.
A seedling is a young plant that has usually been grown from seed, and not a cutting.
Self-Fertile/Self-pollination is a plant that does not require a second plant to be pollinated. Commonly referred to when talking about a fruiting plant.
Sheaths are a plant’s natural, protective covering for new growth such as buds or leaves. These usually die off over time, once their job of protecting the new growth is complete.
A shrub is normally a medium-sized plant that unlike herbaceous plants, have a persistent woody stem system that is above the ground. Unlike trees, they are small in stature and have multiple stems instead of a central leader or trunk. Can be both deciduous and evergreen
In botany, shoots refer to the new growth of stems, buds, and leaves.
Slow release fertiliser
Slow release fertiliser releases nutrients over the period of a few weeks, rather than immediately. Most organic fertilisers would be classfied as slow relealse fertilisers.
Sowing is the act of planting a seed or seeds into soil.
Species are defined as a basic unit of classification and taxonomic rank of an organism, which can be defined by their DNA sequencing. All plants have a binomial name, the first is the ‘genus’, and second is the species. For example, ‘Philodendron’ is the genus, and ‘Micans’ is the species.
Staggering is planting seed/seedlings at different times so you have a staggered harvest instead of having to harvest the produce all at once.
Staking is the act of putting a stake in that is supporting a plant’s upright growth.
Suckers are sprouts which grow from the base of a plant. These tend to ‘suck’ energy from the plant rather than putting it into the current established growth. These should be removed.
Tender plants are plants that are more susceptible to the heat or cold, such as house plants.
Tip cutting means a cut tip that is used in propagation, which are normally taken in spring.
Topdressing is adding fertiliser, soil or organic matter on top of the current soil once plants are already planted or established.
Topiary is an art or form in which a bush is cut into an attractive, unnatural shape. Normally into ovals or cones.
Top soil is the part of the soil with the most nutrients. This is the soil that you would plant into.
Trace elements are a chemical element that contains minute amounts of nutrients that are beneficial to plant health.
Transplanting is the process of moving a plant from one spot to another; this may be in the ground or into a pot.
A trellis is latticework used to support climbing plants, usually made of wood or plastic.
Trichoderma is a beneficial fungi which acts as a plant symbiont, usually added to soils to help create a healthier relationship between the soil and plant. Especially good to help with root growth and strength when given in a form of a liquid fertiliser.
A tuber is a swollen root, stem or rhizome that stores energy and bears buds from which new plants growth from. For example, potatoes.
Turf is a layer of land on which grass is grown.
Uprooting is the action of pulling a plant up from the ground including its roots. This can be done by humans, animals, machinery or natural elements.
Variegation is the appearance of two or more colour zones on one part of the plant. This happens in plants in leaves, flowers and stems and is sometimes caused by mutation. It can also be found in animals.
A vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral which is generally used to promote fast root growth and give quick anchorage to young roots.
Vivipary is a natural phenomenon that can occur in some fruits, especially tomatoes and strawberries, where seeds germinate while still attached to the parent fruit. This isn’t caused by any fungi or pests and there is usually no reason to be concerned.
Water shoots are also known as ‘water sprouts’. These are shoots that arise from a mature tree trunk from latent buds, that grow erect and usually are very tall. These are usually non-fruiting shoots (on fruit trees), and will expend the trees energy while just producing foliage.
Water table is the level of water in the upper surface of the zone of saturation – where water tends to settle permanently under the ground.
Weeds are unwanted plants that grow in pots, in the garden or lawn. Usually stubborn to get rid of or fast growing.
Wet feet is where a plant is sitting in water for an extended period and the roots start to suffocate from lack of oxygen. This is usually shown through disease, leaf fall or dieback.
Wind burn is where a tender plant gets damaged by wind chill and presented in leaves that look ‘burnt’.
Worm casings is the digested organic matter of red/tiger worms. One of the most nutrient-dense organic composts available.
The yield is the amount that you harvest from a crop, a large harvest would be a good yield.