Gardening terms can be difficult to understand and can make reading books or articles on the subject less informative than they would be otherwise. When you find a term you don’t understand, look it up in this glossary which is spread over seven pages to reduce loading time. Let me know if you come across any term that doesn’t appear here and I will add it.
Acid: Soil or compost with a pH level of less than 7.
Aeration: Loosening compacted soil to allow air to circulate. It also applies to lawns when a fork or other implement is used to stab holes in it, also to allow air in.
Aerial Roots: Plant roots that grow above ground to absorb moisture.
Air Layering: Also called Chinese layering. A way of propagating plants where a vertical cut is made to form a tongue on a woody stem. Sphagnum moss is then packed under the tongue and around it. Then cover the moss with plastic and seal it. Roots should grow into the moss and then it can be planted normally.
Alkaline: Soil that has a pH level of about 7 or more.
Alpine: Usually refers to plants used in rock gardens. They are plants that grow in rocky, mountainous regions.
Alternate: Leaves that occur at different levels of a stem, on opposite sides, instead of in pairs.
Anaerobic: Bacteria, etc, that occur when there is no oxygen. It happens sometimes in stagnant ponds or in unhealthy compost heaps when they get cold and damp.
Annual: A plant whose entire life cycle, from germination to making seeds and dying, is completed in one season.
Anther: The top part of a flower’s stamen where pollen is produced.
Apical: See terminal.
Aquatic: Plants that grow in water whether floating or rooted in a pond or other water.
Asexual Reproduction: Reproduction without fertilization, especially relevant to cuttings and other types of vegetative reproduction.
Auxins: A natural or artificial substance controlling the growth of shoots, roots, etc.
Axil: The upper angle found between a leaf and stem, or a main stem and secondary stem, often where a new shoot appears.