Beginner's Gardening Glossary

As fun as gardening can be, it's no walk in the park!

When you're a newbie, the terminology behind it can become very confusing and overwhelming. Therefore, we've put together a simple gardening glossary containing the most common, well-known terms out there- helping you gain some basic background knowledge before diving right in...


This is the direction in which your garden faces. I.e., North, South, East, or West. The aspect can affect which area gets a lot of sun. 


A deciduous plant drops its leaves seasonally (every Autumn). Deciduous plants will look bare in Winter and will produce new leaves every Spring. 


Evergreen plants have leaves all year round- though they may naturally sometimes drop a few leaves throughout the year.


A plant that keeps most or some of its leaves throughout the year. 

Variegated foliage

Variegated leaves have a few different colours, often appearing in stripes, patches, or marks. Variegation can sometimes even be found in stems.

Box Blight

This is a fungal diseases called Cylindrocladium, which is found on Buxus Sempervirens' leaves and stems. Thankfully, Box Blight does not skill the actual roots of the plant, but can still majorly damage the plant elsewise. 


This simply involves breaking up and loosening the soil, as well as removing any weeds. This helps to increase retention and penetration of water, air, and nutrients.


This involves removing flowers from the plants if they are dead or fading. Deadheading encourages a new, increased growth of blooms.


Ericaceous plants require acidic to neutral soils (a pH of 7 or lower). They will not thrive in alkaline conditions, with a pH8 and above.

Bone Meal

Bone Meal is a mix of finely ground animal bones/slaughterhouse products. As it is rich in calcium and phosphorus, it is used as an organic fertiliser for plants.


The leaves of the plant.


A perennial plant is a plant that lives longer than two years, and flowers reliably every year.


This is when a layer of substance (i.e., rotted manure, polythene sheets, or gravel) is placed on the soil at the base of the plant, to help retain moisture, prevent weeds, and improve soil structure.


When a plant does not need pollen from a second plant to fertilise and produce fruit.


When a plant enters a dormant period, it is not dead, but does not grow (quite often during the Winter).


Plants that spread out a lot (they like to invade), and are difficult to supress.


This is well-draining, fertile soil, made up of a balanced mix between sand, clay, and silt- along with plenty of humus and organic matter content.


Shorthand for the three most important, and needed, plant nutrients- Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

Peat Moss

Made up of decomposed remains of plants. It's a sponge-like material, with an outstanding water holding capacity. It is a common ingredient found in potting soil.


A root which grows on/near the surface of the soil, followed with new stem sprouts. Plants which spread from rhizomes are considered as quite invasive, spreading over large areas.


Where a plant's roots have grown into a tight clump inside a pot. Plants will grow stronger and healthier if they are re-planted before they have the chance to become rootbound.


This is when plants have the ability to produce fruit from their own pollen- self-pollinating plants are useful where you have limited space.


Silt contains the best mixture of clay and sand particles, and has the ability to retain moisture and nutrients effectively, as well as keeping well-drained.

Slow release fertiliser

A granular fertiliser which has been coated with something that prevents nutrients from entering the soil all at once.


Fertile, biologically-active soil which is close to the surface. It includes a mixture of humus and organic matter, with plenty of microbes, insects, and earthworms.

Wet feet

This is when the soil around the roots of the plant become waterlogged. It will lead to a fungal disease in most plants, and then ends up killing it completely.

Full sun aspect

6+ hours of direct sunlight per day

Partial shade

4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day

Full shade

4 hours or less of direct sunlight per day

Dappled shade

Sites where there's a mix between sun and shade- usually because of a deciduous tree nearby. Quite similar to partial shade.


When a plant gets too much pesticide, fertiliser, or sun, the foliage burns and becomes brown or yellow in colour.

Root rot

This is a fungal disease which is caused by many types of fungi. The roots turn brown or grey, and may have a slimy texture. Root rot limits the plant's ability to uptake water and will quite often kill the plants altogether. It's caused by overwatering.


This is when a plant is able to shed its own blooms without any human help. This isn't the same as deadheading, which involves removing any seed heads.


Though that's the main terms covered, should you still have any questions, please feel free to contact our team- we're more than happy to help with any of your gardening needs!