Gardening is a universally fascinating and rewarding hobby. However, if you’re new to it, it can seem intimidating with all the things you need to learn. What’s even more daunting for some is the slew of gardening terms that they might encounter for the first time.
Sometimes it can feel like you’re reading a foreign language every time you crack open a gardening brochure or read the back of a seed packet. What is the difference in Biennial Plants , Perennial plants or Crops, and Annuals? What does bolting, dead heading, and heirloom perennial mean?
Don’t let the jargon and buzzwords get the better deal of you. Today, we’ll be going through some of the most used gardening terms that will turn you from a clueless newbie to an informed gardener in no time.
Annuals are plants that have a one-year growing cycle. This type of annual plant lives a 1 year life cycle which includes germination, flowering, producing fruit and seeds, and then dying within a single growing season. Some examples of annuals are watermelons, basil, peas, lettuce, and corn.
Biennials can be flowering plants, vegetables, or any plants that have a two-year life cycle . In its first year, it grows its vegetative structures including leaves, strong roots, and stems. Once the colder months kick in, it grows dormant and waits for the next spring or summer.
Once the early spring and summer months season comes, its stems shoots up tall and ready to go. This is followed by the production of flowers, fruits, and seeds before the whole plant finally dies.
Examples include members of the onion family like leeks, some members of the cabbage family, carrots, parsley, fennel, clary sage, forget-me-nots, fox gloves, pansies, and violas.
Perennials are plants that keep growing for more than two years. There are two types of perennials, a woody and a herbaceous plant.
Woody perennials refer to trees and shrubs that lose their leaves in the winter months and seasons but have active roots, branches, and buds. They remain year after year and have a long life span.
Herbaceous and tender perennials, on the other hand, are plants with soft green stems that die back to the ground once the colder climates or months come. They grow back in the warmer climates or the chilly season passes or it’s the end of the season and continue to bloom. Examples of this type of perennial include peonies, poppies, rhubarb, and artichokes.
Types Of Perennial Species
- Evergreen Perennials
- Cone Flowers
- Perennial Herb
- Common Buttercup
- Sweet William
- Rattlesnake Master
- Perennial Ryegrass
Just to name a few
Organic can mean a wide array of things. It can refer to something derived from a living organism or it can also refer to a method of growing plants.
Organic gardening is a method of gardening that relies on building healthy and living soil that can support and feed all the plants being grown in it. It also depends on the use of organic matter to enrich the soil.
Heirloom plants are a variety of plants that have been passed down within a family or a community for at least fifty years, that’s a long time. Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated and they maintain their unique characteristics of the original plant. They can be biennial plants, perennial crops, or annuals. These old cultivars of plants have been grown in earlier periods in human history and are not generally used in modern large-scale farming.
Open-pollination refers to plants that have been pollinated naturally by birds, insects, the wind, or by humans. This results in genetic diversity within plant populations. Also the seeds that these new plants produce will often maintain their unique characteristics as long as pollen from other species are not introduced.
Dead heading is the process of removing spent flowers from a plant. This is done to maintain the plant’s appearance and stimulate more flower production. Regularly deadheading annuals and perennials transfers their energy from set seed production to creating more blooms which means you’ll have healthier plants with continual annuals blooms.
Mulch is any type of material spread over the soil surface to help retain moisture, to prevent weeds from growing and competing with your plants, and to improve the soil’s organic matter content.
Mulch can be any material ranging from compost, manure, and wood chips to grass clippings, dead leaves, and even moist newspaper.
Use our Mulch Calculator to find out how much you’ll need for your next project:
Quiescence or seed dormancy refers to an evolutionary adaptation that prevents the dormant seed from germinating during unsuitable conditions. This allows plants to increase the likelihood o seedling survival. Dormant seeds do not germinate until more favorable conditions for growing are present.
Bolting is when a plant prematurely produces a flowering stem to create seeds. When this happens, a plant diverts its energy from producing parts such as the root system and leaves and moves into producing annual flowers. Plants like lettuce and spinach tend to bolt due to factors such as changes in day length, sudden exposure to high temperatures, and other stressors like insufficient water or minerals.
When a plants bolts or “goes to seed”, the fruit or herb it produces tends to be less flavorful and can even become bitter since the plant is sending its energy into flowering and not fruiting. Don’t confuse this process with plants that require flowers to make fruit, such as tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers.
Hardiness of plants describes their ability to survive adverse growing conditions. It is usually limited to discussions of climatic adversity. Thus a plant’s ability to tolerate cold climates, heat or warm climates, drought, flooding, or wind are typically considered measurements of hardiness.
Crop rotation refers to the practice of planting different crops in each area yearly as a way to keep the nutrient content of soil balanced. Moreover, it is also used as a method to prevent the spread of diseases in a garden or flower beds. It is often used in container gardens. For example if you plant squash in an area in your garden this year, either don’t plant it the following year at all or plant it in a different location.
Hopefully these gardening terms help you understand some of what you read and hear about when people are discussing gardening. Biennial Plants, Perennial Crops, and Annuals are terms we need to keep straight when planting in our gardens. Do you have any questions or need another term defined? Please leave your comments below.
You can also find gardening products I use in my videos here <---
You can go to my storefront using this secure link <----
If you need seeds, this is the company I use <--- and if you use code: farmer1 at checkout, you'll get 10% off your order!