Gardening terms and definitions

Below are some of the most popular gardening terms and their definitions including plant types, sun exposure, plant maintenance, soil conditions, hardiness zones for your area and other garden terms. We plan to keep adding to this page to help you with all your purple flower gardening needs.

Plant types -

Annual - A plant that lives for only one growing season, either grown from seed or small plant to flowering and back to seed again before dying off from the cold temperatures. Some annuals in warmer climates can be considered perennials.

Biennial - Takes two years to flower and produce seeds and the life cycle is two years or seasons long

Perennial - A plant that grows back year after year for more than two years, usually dying off after first frost and growing back in the Spring when ground temperatures warm. Some perennials are short lived and others live a long time. Dividing your perennials can help extend there life span and make your plants look healthier.

Sunlight exposure -

Full sun - Six or more hours of direct sun.

Part sun or shade - Four to six hours of sun.

Shade - Less than four hours of sun.

Plant maintenance -

Deadheading - Removal of faded flowers to extend the flowering season for that plant.

Dividing - Splitting of plants with the roots into sections to create additional plants. This will also make the new plant healthier. Should be done every three years or so when plants look their best.

Pruning - Cutting back of branches to shape, control size and to create healthy new growth. Most commonly done for trees and shrubs. Some trees and shrubs have times when it is best to do the pruning. We prune our azaleas as soon as they are done blooming.

Soil conditions -

Clay - Soil that compacts to a solid form which makes planting, growing and drainage difficult.

Loam - Soil composed of clay, sand and organic matter. Quality soil perfect for most gardening.

PH - Soil PH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity of a soil. PH above 7 is alkaline and a PH below 7 is acidic. Most plants do well with a PH range of between 6 and 7. PH can be adjusted up with lime and adjusted down with some types of fertilizers.

Sandy - Soil composed of small grains of sand that creates loose forming and well draining soil.

Planting temperatures -

First and last frost - Last frost is the time you start you Spring planting and first frost would be in the Fall when your flowering ends.

Hardiness zone - Hardiness zones are the areas where a plant or a tree can survive the winter's lowest temperatures. You can find out your area's hardiness zone by looking at our Zone map

Root structures -

Bare root - This is not a root structure but a term used in gardening all the time. This is how dormant plants are sold and shipped usually with little or no soil around their roots. Trees, shrubs and some perennials are done this way.

Bulbs - Underground storage organ that roots from one end and grows a plant with flowers from the other. Bulbs gather and store nutrients during the year for the following growing season. It's important to let the leaves fade away naturally with bulb type plants because that is how they gather the nutrients for the next year. Examples of some of the most popular bulb type plants are tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and allium.

Rhizome - Fleshy type stem or root storage structure that grows horizontally just below the ground surface producing new roots and plant shoots as it grows. Some of the plants with this type root structure can become very invasive. Some examples of plants that grow from this root structure are astilbe, liriope and iris.

Tap root - Plant that grows one vertically downward main root with many small lateral roots. This makes this type plant very difficult to relocate or transplant. Balloon flower is a plant with a tap root.

Tuber - Swollen type root with storage of nutrients similar to bulbs. Structurally a tuber is more elongated than a bulb and grows in clumps. Some tuberous plants such as dahlias are dug up in the fall and stored inside in the winter, divided and replanted in the spring. We have done this with the salvia black and blue for our hummingbird gardening.