Gardening Terminology, Explained

germinating plants

Like any new hobby, gardening comes with a bit of a learning curve. From best practice to the smattering of new phrases, it can feel a tad overwhelming as a newcomer.

When you’re just starting out, a common thing to do is to watch gardening shows, read articles and take in as much knowledge as you can. While doing that, you’re likely to come across some expressions and sayings you’ll have never seen before.

To make your learning process that bit more efficient, we’ve rounded up some of the most common words associated with gardening, from basic gardening terms to advanced phrases and practices.

Learn it all and start becoming a better gardener with this gardening terms list.

Gardening Terminology for Beginners


The first term on our list is perhaps one of the most in-depth, technical phrases you’re likely to encounter. Although it’s not one that you’ll see as a beginner, it’s worth knowing to future-proof your knowledge.

So, what is xeriscaping? Xeriscaping is the practice of reducing your entire garden back to soil, re-levelling and starting from scratch. Think of it as landscaping, except with less opportunity for unwanted water leakage.


Xeriscaping leads us nicely on to our next term: irrigation. Irrigation describes the process of supplying land with water to benefit the growth of crops. Irrigation is tackled in multiple ways, the most common of which includes the use of sprinklers in the middle of a lawn.

garden irrigation spray

This constant supply of water is useful in the summer months where rain levels are particularly low. Afterall, plants thrive off a combination of healthy soil, sunlight and water.


What does germinate mean? Well, it’s a phrase associated with seeds and spores that describes how they begin to grow after being fed, cared for, and maintained for a period of time. Germination is the initial stage of growth that these premature plants go through on their way to flourishing.


Again, not a phrase you’re likely to encounter as a beginner, but newcomers may pose the question: what does deciduous mean? Deciduous is an adjective that is used to describe a tree that sheds its leaves on a yearly basis.

Some examples of deciduous trees include maple, oak, beech, and wisteria.


So, you’ve chosen some new flowers and are just about to start planning when you notice a small demand on the packing “this flower requires ericaceous soil to thrive”. To which you promptly ask yourself “what does ericaceous mean?”

Ericaceous soil is slightly more acidic and is named after the Ericaceae plants that survive in it. This simply means that these types of plants prefer more acidic soil to grow, as opposed to alkaline-based soils.


On average, most plants tend to survive for a few months before wilting away in less favourable weather conditions. Some plants, however, buck this trend by living for several years. Plants that survive this long are called perennial plants and are characterised as more robust than others.

Closeup of Foxglove perennial flowers

Due to their high survival rates, perennial plants are incredibly cost effective and make for a great mainstay in most gardens.


Chlorosis describes a state of which a plant’s leaves begin to turn a yellowish colour. This happens due to discolouration after over watering, nutrient issues, and disease.


Are you proud of your luscious green lawn? It’s a tricky beast to maintain, but some people do it better than others. Over time, dead grass can begin to grow on top of healthier grass, thwarting its growth.

Otherwise referred to as ‘de-thatching’, scarifying is an activity taken up by gardeners wherein dead grass is removed from a lawn to prevent growth problems and keep a lawn looking fresh all year round.

Broadcast Sowing

Nowadays, crops tend to be attacked directly with heavy duty drills and furrows.

As a more traditional method of planting crops, broadcast sowing is when seeds are scattered out evenly over an area. While less targeted, broadcast sowing allows for a greater amount of surface area to be covered by farmers, while taking much less time.


A seedling is a type of young plant that has grown over time from a seed. These plants can be anything from flowers to full-blown trees.

Closeup picture of seedlings

Get Your Garden Ready

If there’s one major obstacle that prevents many people from gardening, it’s mustering up the courage to get started.

Now that you’ve mastered these gardening phrases, it’s time to get stuck in and make your garden a hotspot for relaxation, parties and casual dining with some luxurious Kettler garden furniture. Browse our stock to see what we have available or consult our retail partners for more info.