In gardening circles many commonly understood English words have acquired quite different meanings which you need to learn if you want to understand the advice touted by columnists and in books.
Otherwise, your garden could face a disaster when you apply parasitem instead of pesticide.m
Here are some of those often-used words for the beginner gardener:
Annual -- A plant that grows to maturity in one year.
Asexual reproduction (vegetative reproduction) -- Any method of growing new plants except propagation by seeds.
Biennial -- A plant that grows to maturity in two years.
Bulb -- A scaly, food-storing, usually underground stem that roots and develops leaves and flowers.
Cutting (slip) -- A part of a plant, such as a leaf or piece of stem, that is cut off and rooted.
Division -- Propagating new plants by cutting through the foliage and root ball of an established plant and planting each part separately.
Epiphyte -- A plant that grows on other plants but is not parasitic; in other words, it produces its own food.
Exotic -- A plant introduced into a region from another.
Eye -- A bud growing on an underground root or stem.
Family -- Plants that are grouped by botonists because they have attributes, such as fruit or flower structure, in common. These plants need not look alike.
Fertilization -- Either the application of plant food or the union of male and female reproduction parts of plants.
Flat -- A shallow tray used to start seeds or root cuttings.
Forcing -- Speeding up a plant's development. It is frequently used to make spring-flowering bulbs bloom in winter.
Frond -- Sometimes the leaf of a palm, but always the leaf of a fern.
Hardy -- A plant able to survive the winter temperatures of a region.
Herb -- A plant with soft and succulent stems that wither away after flowering. Also, any plant used as flavoring or fragrance.
Hybrid -- A plant produced by interbreeding different plant species.
Layering (air layering) -- A propagating method used to grow roots on plant stems.
Leaching -- Washing soil of excess mineral salts by repeatedly pouring water through it.
Leggy -- Descriptive of plants in containers too large for their root ball.
Parasite -- A plant or animal that attaches itself to another, feeds on it, and kills it in the process.
Perennial -- A plant that lives on as long as its environment and culture are favorable.
Pesticide (insecticide) -- Material toxic to pests and insects.
PH scale -- Symbols used to indicate a soil's acid content. The pH survival range of plants is pH4, the acid extremity, to pH9, the alkali limit. PH7 is considered neutral.
Pinching -- Removing stem tips by nipping them out with finger tips.
Pot bound (root bound) -- When a potted root ball runs out of growing room and should be transplanted to larger quarters.
Propagation -- All forms of growing new plants: sexual by seeds; asexual by vegetative means.
Seedling -- The baby plant that develops from a seed.
Succulent -- A plant, with fleshy foliage, that is able to store water for prolonged periods.
Systemics -- Long-lasting pesticides that are absorbed through a plant's roots and are then circulated through all plant parts, turning the total plant into poisonous fare.
Top dressing -- The application of fresh soil or fertilizer to the topsoil.