We realise it can get a little confusing sometimes trying to decipher grow guide instructions, botanical research papers and other publications relying heavily on horticultural terminology, so here’s the second part of our A-Z guide – a glossary of gardening.
An A-Z Glossary of Gardening: D to H
Gardening Glossary – D
Damping off – Ground-level rotting of a plant’s stem, often due to fungal attack, soil-borne diseases or over-watering.
Dead heading – Removing dead flowers or flowerheads, either for aesthetics, to prolong blooms, to promote re-bloom or to prevent seeding.
Deciduous – Plants which shed their foliage at the end of the growing season before renewing them at the start of the next.
Deep shade – A plant which needs less than two hours of partial sun each day.
Deplete – To exhaust a soil’s nutrient supply, eventually causing it to become infertile.
Desiccate – To cause to dry out.
Dioecious – Different plants of the same species which possess distinct male and female organs.
Direct seed – To sow seeds directly into the ground, instead of starting them in containers.
Double digging – Preparing soil by digging a trench then moving the earth from one row into the next.
Drainage – The ability of excess water to pass through soil.
Drill – A straight, thin furrow in the earth for planting seed or seedlings.
Drip line – An imaginary line around a plant outlining its outermost branch tips, beyond which drips of moisture (e.g. dew or rain) will not reach the surrounding earth.
Drip system – An efficient watering technique comprising of a larger main hose and several smaller water outlets.
Dry ice – Gaseous at room temperature, this is a cold, white substance formed by the compression and cooling of carbon dioxide.
Gardening Glossary – E
Elongated – To become longer, referring to a plant’s growth.
Equinox – Occurring in spring and autumn of each year, this is the point at which the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal duration.
Evergreen – Plants which retain the majority of their foliage throughout the whole year.
Gardening Glossary – F
Feed – To deliver nutrients to a plant via its foliage or roots.
Female – Pistillate, ovule, seed-producing.
Fertigate – To both fertilise and irrigate at the same time.
Fertiliser – An organic or synthetic substance applied to either the soil or the plant directly, with the aim of improving or otherwise enhancing nutrition.
Fertliser burn – Refers to the brown leaf ‘burning’ and curling caused by the application of too much fertiliser.
Flast – A shallow container used to start off seedlings and cuttings.
Foilar feeding – The application of a fertiliser solution applied as a mist directly to foliage.
Foliage – A plant’s leaves or (non-specifically) green parts.
Frost date – The average date of the last expected frost in your climate zone.
Fungicide – Chemical compounds which are used to inhibit plant and soil fungi.
Fungistat – A fungus-inhibiting chemical.
Fungus – A ‘lower’ form of plant life which lacks chlorophyll (e.g. mildew, mold and rust).
Gardening Glossary – G
Gene – A sexually-inherited chromosome which influences a plant’s development.
Germinate – The commencement of growth from seeds, either by budding, shooting or sprouting out of the earth.
Germination – The chemical and physical changes which occur at the beginning of a seed’s growth into a plant.
GPM – A unit for measuring the flow of liquid, ‘Gallons Per Minute’.
Green manure – A crop grown to be ‘turned in’ to soil to increase its fertility.
Gardening Glossary – H
Hardening off – The process of acclimatising plants from, for example, a greenhouse to the outdoors.
Hardy – A plant which can withstand trying climatic conditions (such as frost) all year-round without protection.
Heavy soil – A poorly-drained soil which contains high levels of clay.
Hermaphrodite – A plant in possession of both male and female reproductive organs.
Honey dew – Sticky, honey-like substance secreted aphids, mealy bugs and scale onto foliage.
Hormone – A chemical which controls a plant’s growth and development, for example, rooting hormones can improve the formation of root systems.
Humidity (or relative humidity) – The proportion of air-bound moisture to the greatest possible amount of moisture the air could hold at the same temperature.
Humus – Typically a dark, fertile and loamy soil, humus is a complex but relatively stable grouping of nutrient-storing molecules, created by the decomposition of organic matter via microbial action.
Hybrid – Any offspring produced by two plants of different species or varieties.
Hydrated lime – Lime which is immediately soluble in liquid and is used to ‘sweeten’ (raise the pH) of soil.
Hydrogen – An odourless, lightly-coloured to colourless gas which, in combination with oxygen, produces water.
Hygrometer – An instrument used to measure the relative humidity of the local environment.