Germination, crop rotation, and plant propagation. Wait, what do you mean? How does all of this relate to me? First, you should learn the most common gardening terms, regardless of your level of experience or how much gardening vocabulary you have. Then, check out our blog for gardening tutorials you can use at your next garden party to impress your friends.

Getting to know these words is essential for organic gardeners. However, this is no ordinary garden glossary. Every gardening term also comes with a fun or helpful tidbit to accompany its definition.

What is a Glossary of Gardening Terms?

A glossary of gardening terms is a list of words, phrases, and jargon related to gardening and horticulture. This resource can be useful for gardeners of all experience levels, from beginners who need to learn the basics to experts looking for specific terminology. The glossary can also be helpful for people who are interested in learning more about gardening and horticulture.

Here are some fun and useful gardening glossaries


Introducing air into the soil and improving drainage by loosening it. When used about soil condition, such as: “This soil has a great airflow,” or for turning, tilling, or physically aerating soil.

Our raised garden beds consist of a mix of soil and volcanic rock to increase aeration, thereby preventing the need to continue till the soil. Furthermore, pumice, sand, and earthworm activity increase soil aeration.


Plants that complete their entire lifecycle in one year or less sprout produce fruits, flowers, and seeds. Annuals must be replanted each year. Most vegetable crops are annuals. It is common for annual flowers to self-seed and return the following year as volunteers if they are allowed.

Bare Root Vegetables

These are roots without any protective covering, such as mulch. They are planted directly into their final location instead of being transplanted. Bare root plants give off an immediate root system, allowing them to establish themselves quickly.

Beneficial Insects

Insects that feed on pests. These insects may include ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, predatory mites, spiders, and hoverflies.


A plant that returns every two years. Biennials grow best when they receive a period of cold weather during their first growing season. They tend to produce larger leaves than perennials. Biennial vegetables should not be replanted until after those growing seasons—some biennials flower for only one season.


Pruning or pinching off side shoots or new growth before the main stem emerges. Blanching helps prevent the spread of disease and encourages the development of good-sized fruit.


A gardening term for when plants “go to seed.” When a plant begins to flower and eventually develops seeds in extreme heat or insufficient sunlight, plants may bolt early, causing this to occur at the end of the season. Once they do, the eating quality, flavor, texture, and lifespan rapidly decline.


Composting is one type of composting. The Japanese term “bokashi” refers to fermented organic matter. In contrast to a classic compost recipe that calls for browns, greens, oxygen, and time, the Bokashi method rapidly ferments food waste in an airtight container.

Botanical Teas

The alfalfa, kelp, or neem meals are steeped in water to make a homemade natural liquid fertilizer. In the end, plants are fed and watered with a nutrient-rich solution.

It can increase botanical teas’ enzyme activity and potency by passively steeping or aerating them. The sprouted seed tea is also made from sprouting seeds.


Two-year-old plant. During the first year of a biennial plant’s life, the roots are established, and the leaves grow thickly, followed by fruiting, flowering, and seed production.


It is also known as the cabbage plant family. Several types of vegetables are included in this group, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, mustard greens, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, radish, turnips, and others. The majority of brassica varieties are grown as cool-season crops, though wide varieties can

Broadcast Spraying

The act of spraying a pesticide over a large area using a sprayer that sends out a fine mist to kill pests without getting close to the plants. Broadcasts can be done with both liquid and dry pesticides.

Broccoli Rabe

Also called rapini, it is a member of the Brassica genus. Broccoli rabe is a fast-growing vegetable that grows best in cooler climates. Raw or cooked, it has a mild taste and is either delicious.

Bulbous Plants

Plants that have a bulbous root mass. Bulbs take up little space and store energy reserves underground. Most bulbs are perennial and need to be replanted every year. Some common types include daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, snowdrops, irises, ranunculus, and other springtime favorites.

Cabbage Family

Consisting of cruciferous vegetables, these contain glucosinolates, which help fight cancer. Cabbages, cauliflowers, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi belong to this family.

Crop Rotation

The practice of rotating the placement of different crop types to maintain the soil’s health. For example, planting corn and beans together allows nitrogen from the bean to leach out of the soil where it’s needed most for your next crop while keeping the soil healthy.

It also prevents diseases from spreading between crops. Crop rotation is especially important if you have limited space to work with.

Companion Planting

Planting certain plants together because they naturally repel pests or attract beneficial insects. Companion planting can help reduce pest populations, increase yields, improve nutrition, and promote biodiversity. In addition, many companion plants have been proven effective against common garden pests.

Container Growing

Growing plants in containers rather than direct soil contact. Containers can be made from plastic, clay, wood, stone, concrete, etc. Container gardening allows us to create small gardens indoors using pots, hanging baskets, window boxes, and other available spaces.


Short for cultivar, this term refers to a variety of specific species. Gardeners select cultivars based on traits that make them more desirable, such as smaller size, greater yield, higher quality taste, longer shelf life, and better color.

The most popular varieties of tomatoes are heirlooms; farmers developed these without access to hybrid seeds. Heirloom tomato seeds are usually sold through mail-order catalogs.

Disease Control

Keep plants free of pests and diseases so they don’t infect other parts of the garden or home. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, or other organisms may cause diseases.

Pests may include aphids, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, flea beetles, grasshoppers, leaf miners, mealy bugs, slugs, snails, sow thistle, thrips, white flies, and other insects.

Flowering Shrub

An evergreen shrub is grown primarily for its flowers. Flowering shrubs bloom all year long and attract pollinating insects. Prune flowering shrubs regularly to keep their shape and appearance.

Fruit Set

The process of developing fruit on a plant. Fruit set occurs when the ovaries begin to swell and change colors.

Grow More Vegetables

This phrase encourages people to eat more vegetables (and fruits). It was coined by Dr. Joel Salatin, author of “Pastured Poultry & Grassfed Beef – How Pasture Grew, How To Raise Animals Right,” and founder of Polyface Farm in Virginia.

Healthy Soil

Soil rich in organic matter has high levels of humus and supports many living creatures, including earthworms, microorganisms, and beneficial insects. In addition, healthy soil holds moisture well and quickly releases nutrients into our food.


Means ‘the art of cultivating plants. Horticulturists grow and care for plants professionally. They use scientific methods like breeding, crossbreeding, grafting, growing techniques, irrigation, fertilization, pruning, and disease control to produce healthier plants. Horticulturalists can grow everything from annuals to perennials.

Are there any benefits of having a Glossary of Gardening Terms?

A glossary of gardening terms can be extremely beneficial for new and experienced gardeners. In addition to better understanding gardening’s various techniques and terminology, it can help you become more familiar with the terminology used to describe various aspects of the hobby.

How to Use

A glossary of gardening terms can be used as a reference guide when reading about gardening or talking to other gardeners. If you encounter a term you do not understand, look it up in the glossary to find out what it means.

How can a Glossary of Gardening Terms help beginners?

1. It can help you better understand gardening articles and books.

2. By looking up terms you don’t know, you can expand your gardening vocabulary and learn more about the hobby.

3. A glossary can also be a helpful reference when talking to other gardeners or visiting a nursery or garden center.

4. Finally, a glossary can be a fun way to explore new gardening terms and learn more about the fascinating world of plants.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. What Does “Annual” Mean In Gardening?

An “annual” refers to a plant that completes its life cycle within one growing season. This means it grows from seed, produces flowers and fruits, and dies within a year. Annuals must be replanted yearly to maintain a consistent display of flowers or crops.

2. What Is The Difference Between “Perennial” And “Biennial” Plants?

“Perennial” plants live for more than two years, often flowering and producing fruits or seeds multiple times throughout their lifespan. These plants usually go dormant during the winter and then regrow in spring. “Biennial” plants, on the other hand, have a two-year life cycle. They grow leaves during the first year, flower, produce seeds, and die in the second year.

3. What Is The Purpose Of “Composting” In Gardening?

“Composting” is breaking down organic materials, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment called compost. Composting provides a valuable source of organic matter for improving soil structure, fertility, and water-holding capacity. It also reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill, as well as reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.

4. What Does “Mulching” In Gardening Mean And Why Is It Important?

“Mulching” involves covering the soil surface around plants with a protective layer of organic or inorganic materials. This layer helps conserve moisture, suppresses weed growth, regulates soil temperature, and adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down. Mulching also prevents soil erosion and improves overall soil health.

5. What Is “Pruning” And Why Is It Necessary For Plants?

“Pruning” is selectively removing certain plant parts, such as branches, shoots, or flowers, to shape or control its growth. Pruning is necessary for plants to maintain their health, promote proper structure, and encourage optimal flowering or fruiting. It also helps remove dead or diseased parts, improves air circulation, and reduces the risk of pest and disease infestations.


Gardening has many fun factors, and a glossary is one of them. It’s also a fun way to mess around with your non-gardener friends. They will fall off the ground for sure. I use one of the terms with a friend who looks clueless. So, try those glossaries with your gardener and non-gardener friends both.

About the Author

Virginia E. Hayes is a gardening enthusiast who loves to write about gardening tools, safety issues, and ways to keep gardens clean and safe. With her vast experience in gardening, she provides valuable insights and tips to help fellow gardening enthusiasts to enhance their gardening experience. Her passion for gardening and writing has made her a sought-after author in the gardening community.

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