Akadama: The clay-like soil used for bonsai and kokedama planting.
Annual: A plant that completes its life cycle within a year, growing from seeds to flowering and then dying off.
Aphids: Aphids, often called plant lice, are tiny soft-bodied pear-shaped insects that can be black, yellow, green, or brown. Aphids are often inconspicuous until large colonies have formed.
Bare-root plant: A plant supplied in a bag, not a pot of compost.
Biennial: A plant that puts on foliage in the first year of growth, overwinters and then flowers and dies in the second year.
Black Spot Plant Disease: Black Spot Plant Disease (Diplocarpon rosae) is a type of plant fungus. The Black Spot disease moves from the lowest leaves of a plant upward causing leaf drop and black spots with round perforated edges.
Botrytis (Botrytis cinerea): A grey mould typically infecting plants that are damaged or in sticky situations.
Capillary matting: A carpet-like material that is used under pots, through which water can be drawn up like a wick.
Clean air plants: Plants which can remove air born pollutants that come from carpets, paint, copy machines, manufactured wood products, pesticides, upholstery, laminated counters, plastic wallpaper, detergents and even paper towels.
Crocks: Pieces of broken pot traditionally used to aid drainage when placed in the base of the container.
Cultivar: Cultivars are the fun names at the end; these tend to be the unique names given to the plant by whoever discovered or developed it. These can often be descriptive and give you an idea as to what the plant does. Cultivars tend to be bred to be more colourful, more scented, more natural to grow or generally improved in some way.
Deciduous: A plant that loses its foliage during the winter months and grows fresh, new leaves the following spring.
Dormant: When a plant stops growing (e.g. over winter) but does not die. Also, refers to the means of the seed surviving over a (long) time so that it will not germinate until conditions are favourable.
Dri Water: DriWater is a gel-like product that automatically provides moisture for plants for up to 40 days.
Drip-line irrigation: A system, either home-made or bought, that distributes water between several pots or hanging containers by dripping slowly and, usually, continuously.
Epiphytes: Plants that use other plants or rocks for support but do not parasite them (e.g. orchids).
Evergreen: A plant that keeps its leaves all year round.
Family: The family that the plant belongs to. This can help you understand which conditions the plant may or may not thrive in.
Fertiliser: Plants need fertiliser only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertiliser is worse than not enough.
Forcing: Bringing plants into fruit or flower earlier than they would naturally by manipulating the environment.
Genus: This is the primary name for the plant and is most commonly used. Think of this as the plant’s surname.
Green Solution: If you don’t want to use a commercial chemical product to treat plant pest problems, try the “Green Solution.” This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil.
Hydroponics: A system of growing plants in a stream of water and soluble nutrients rather than soil or compost, typically utilised for green walls.
Kokedama: The Japanese art of displaying plants in mud and moss balls rather than pots.
Macrame: A style of craft made from knotted spring, popular in the 1970s.
Microclimate: A small area with its own particular variations in temperature, wind, light and humidity levels.
Misting: Spraying plants with a fine mist of water to increase humidity in the air.
Orchid pot: A clear plastic or glass pot mainly used for growing plants with roots that use sunlight for photosynthesis.
Perennial: A plant that grows year-on-year (as opposed to an annual).
Perlite: A material, formed of tiny white balls, used to aid drainage in compost.
Photosynthesis: The process by which plants create their own food using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.
Phototropism: The process by which plants grow towards the most reliable light source.
Pot-bound: A plant whose roots have taken up all the space in the pot, leaving no room for further growth and little compost.
Potting on: Transplanting seedlings or young plants into bigger pots to give them room to keep growing.
Potting up: Moving a seedling or bare-root plant into a container, or putting a plant into a new but similarly sized pot.
Re potting: The process of transferring a plant grown in a container into a new pot the same size, after reducing the root ball slightly to make room for fresh compost.
Rock wool: A plant growth material typically used in place of compost in hydroponic systems.
Root ball: The roots of the plant and the compost or soil that surrounds them once they are removed from the pot or ground.
Shrubs: A mostly woody plant that grows bigger than a perennial. They often grow to between one metre and three metres tall. These plants tend to be bushy and have multiple stems.
Species: Every plant has its own species, a subcategory of the genus that differentiates different plants within one group.
Sphagnum moss: A type of moss that is used for decoration or as a growing medium.
Substrate: The material, such as compost or perlite, in or on which a plant anchors its roots in a hydroponic system.
Terrarium: A glass vessel which contains plants that can be sealed, so the plants form an ecosystem within the container.
Trees: A tree is the largest of the plants and is typically anything that grows higher than three metres tall. A tree will have a main trunk, unlike a shrub.
Tying in: Using string or wire to fix wayward stems of climbing or trailing plants to their supports.
Underplant: Planting low-growing plants under taller specimens to mimic nature and make the best use of space.