Welcome to Lowe's
Find a Store

Prices, promotions, styles, and availability may vary. Our local stores do not honor online pricing. Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted.

Gardening Glossary

Learn the language of gardening with this glossary so you’ll know what to look for the next time you shop for plants.

Garden Glossary


Acid Soil: Soil with pH less than 7.0. Raise soil pH (lower acidity and raise alkalinity) by adding lime.

Aerate: To loosen compacted soil to allow oxygen, water and nutrients to get below the surface. Punch holes into the lawn or remove plugs of soil from the lawn to aerate.

Amendments: Organic substances added to the soil to improve moisture retention, oxygen level and nutritive content.

Alkaline Soil: Soil that has a pH more than 7.0. Lower soil pH (raise acidity and lower alkalinity) by adding sulfur.

Annual: A plant that completes its life cycle in a single year.

Aphids: Insects that look like black, yellow, green or white grains of rice. Aphids suck the juices of new growth on plants.

Apical Bud: Apical buds, also called terminal buds, are at the tip of a plant stem.


Balled and Burlapped (B&B): A method of plant preparation in which the entire root system is contained inside a ball of soil and wrapped in burlap for protection.

Bareroot: Dormant plants sold with the roots loose rather than contained in a wrapped soil ball or container.

Bed: A specific garden area in which plants are grouped together to create a unified design.

Biennial: A plant with a life cycle that spans two years. The plant produces stem and foliage growth during the first year. After a dormant season, they produce flowers and seed the second year.

Bolt: When leaf crops (such as spinach and cabbage) stop producing leaves and send up seed stalks due to warming weather.

Bonsai: Trained, dwarfed trees and plants in special shallow containers. Bonsai mimics growth in the wild but on a tiny scale.

Broadcast: To randomly disperse seeds or other material across a set area.

Bulb: An underground-modified stem, usually covered by a papery exterior. Bulbs are the growth and food source for many flowering perennials.


Cold Frame: A four-sided structure with a glass or plastic covering used to shelter young plants or transplanted seedlings from cold temperatures.

Companion Planting: Adjacent growing of mutually beneficial plants to improve growth and repel pests.

Compost: A diverse mixture of completely decayed organic matter used for fertilizing and conditioning soil.

Conifer: A woody tree or shrub, primarily evergreen, which produces cones.

Containerized: Container-grown trees and shrubs that are ready to transplant along with the soil they've been grown in.

Corm: A bulblike structure that serves as a continual underground food source for a flowering plant.

Crown: The uppermost part of a tree where new growth takes place or the part of a plant where the roots and stem join.

Cultivar: A plant variety resulting from the cross-pollination of two different plants within a species.

Cultivate: To assist a plant in the growing process.

Cuttings: Portions of root, stem, branch or leaf used to propagate plants.


Deadhead: To remove flower heads from plants after they've bloomed to prolong the flowering season.

Deciduous: A plant that loses most or all of its leaves in fall or winter.

Determinate: A plant that, by artificial or natural means, produces all of its flowers or fruit at the same time.

Division: A method of producing new plants from existing stock by digging up the plant, cutting it into two or more pieces and replanting.

Dormancy: A period of rest exhibited by no growth or flowering. Dormancy usually takes place during colder periods.

Double-Digging: The process of moving the topsoil of one area to another area to reinvigorate the soil.

Drip Line: The circumference around a plant formed by water that drips off its outermost leaves or branches.


Espalier: A method of training a plant in a formal pattern against a wall or trellis.

Evergreen: A plant that retains its green foliage year-round and is functional for more than one growing season. Coniferous evergreens have needlelike leaves and produce seed in their cones. Broadleaf evergreens have regular leaf-shaped foliage but retain their leaves throughout the year.


Fertilizer: A supplement to a naturally occurring element necessary for plant growth. Fertilizer can be liquid or granular and organic or inorganic (man-made).

Foliar: Pertains to the leaves (foliage) of a plant. Foliar fertilizers and pesticides are applied directly to the leaves.

Forcing:  To force plants, by artificial means, to mature quickly and produce their flowers earlier than normal.

Friable: A characteristic of good soil. Rich in organic matter, friable soil crumbles easily, allows water and oxygen to reach plant roots.


Germinate: The process where a seed develops into a sprout. The requirements may be warmth, water or light according to the plant variety.

Graft: A propagation method performed by joining two plants by connecting the tissues of each.

Groundcovers: Low-growing, spreading plants used for ornamental purposes or as a substitute for grass.


Half-Hardy: Refers to plants that can withstand long periods of damp or cold weather but may be damaged by frost.

Harden Off: The process of increasing an indoor plant's exposure to light and colder temperatures to acclimate it to outdoor conditions.

Hardscape: Constructed elements of a landscape, such as decks, walls fences and driveways.

Hardy: Refers to plants that have the ability to survive prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures.

Heel In: A method of protecting a plant by placing its stems in a shallow trench over winter.

Herbaceous: Refers to nonwoody (soft-stemmed) perennial plants that often die back to the ground every winter and reappear in the spring.

Herbicide: A pesticide formulated to kill or control plants.

Hoop Stake: A long, thin, metal post with a perpendicular ring of wire at the top, which serves as a support for tall-growing flowers.

Humus: Dark, rich, organic soil matter made from decaying plant or animal material.

Hybrid: A plant that's the offspring of two parent plants of differing varieties, species or cultivars.


Indeterminate: A plant that continues to produce flowers or fruit throughout the duration of the growing season.

Insecticide: A pesticide formulated to kill or control insects.


Lateral Bud: Buds formed on the sides of a stem.

Layering: A method of plant propagation by which a single stem of a plant is notched and buried with its leafy tip exposed, while still attached to the parent plant.

Leaching: Occurs when water flushes mineral substances and nutrients out of the soil.

Leggy: Refers to plants that have an abnormal amount of stem in relation to their flower and foliage.

Lime: Soil amendment used to reduce acidity. Lime (calcium carbonate) is applied in powdered or pelletized form.

Loam: Ideal garden soil that has a well-balanced moisture of sand, silt and clay.


Microclimates: Small areas in the home landscape that have unique characteristics regarding sun, shade, wind or moisture.

Mulch: Any organic material spread on top of soil to reduce water loss or prevent the growth of weeds.


Naturalize: A method of random garden plant distribution that simulates the growth of plants in the wild.


Offshoots: New plants that branch out from the base of a plant's main stem.

Organic: A method of gardening without using synthetic (man-made) products.

Ornamental: A plant raised for aesthetic reasons.


Pavers: Stone, brick or concrete materials used for patios and walkways.

Pesticide: Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.

Perennial: There are two types: herbaceous and woody. Herbaceous, nonwoody (soft and fleshy) plants die back each year and grow, and bloom each successive year. Woody perennials (such as shrubs and trees) have a period of dormancy but maintain their form year-round.

Perlite: A mineral used in potting mix to retain moisture and provide aeration.

pH: A measurement of acidity and alkalinity. pH represents hydrogen ions in the soil and signifies a plant's ability to draw nutrients from the soil.

Pinch Back: A method of encouraging bushy plant growth by removing the growing tip.

Plugs: Circular pieces of sod that are planted in a grid formation to start a new lawn.

Propagate: To grow new plants from old ones by using one of a variety of methods.


Retaining Wall: A barrier created with stones, timbers or boards to prevent the erosion of soil on steep slopes.

Rhizome: A horizontal, fleshy underground stem or runner. Creeping grasses spread by rhizomes or stolons.

Rootbound: Container-grown plants that lack adequate space for root growth.

Rootstock: Refers to the portion on grafted plants that's chosen for the qualities of its root system.

Row Cover: Nylon or synthetic netting used to cover young seedlings to protect them from predators.


Scarify: To prepare a seed for planting by cutting or nicking the outer layer.

Scion: Refers to the portion on grafted plants that's chosen for its superior leaf or fruit production.

Shrub: A deciduous or evergreen plant with woody stems that's usually less than 15 feet tall at maturity.

Side Dress: To apply fertilizer in a circle or band around plants or rows of plants.

Soil Test: A measurement of major nutrient (phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen) and pH levels in the soil.

Staking: A method of supporting tall, upright-growing plants by tying their stems to a wood or metal post.

Standard: A plant that's trained, through pruning or staking, to the form of a tree.

Stolon: A horizontal, fleshy aboveground stem or runner. Creeping grasses spread by rhizomes or stolons.

Stratify: To prepare a seed for planting by soaking it in water and then placing it in a warm or cold area.

Sucker: A shoot that grows from a plant's roots or from beneath the surface of the ground.


Taproot: The first root to grow from a germinating seed. Usually growing straight down, taproots help anchor the plant in the soil.

Tender: Refers to plants that are susceptible to frost and may not be able to survive freezing temperatures.

Terminal Bud: The uppermost bud on a stem.

Thinning: To cut branches or stems back to the main branch to allow sunlight into the plant's center, provide air circulation and encourage remaining stems to grow in their normal direction.

Thatch: A layer of plant debris that accumulates between the soil and the grass blades and prevents the flow of moisture, air and nutrients to the grass roots.

Top Dressing: To feed plants by sprinkling fertilizer or compost on top of them.

Topiary: The art of pruning and shaping trees and shrubs into decorative shapes.

Topsoil: The uppermost layer of soil that's the site for a plant's root growth and contains the most organic matter.

Training: A method of controlling plant growth, especially on climbing plants, by tying the stems to a support and pruning the plant back regularly.

Tuberous: Refers to plants possessing thick and fleshy underground roots that serve as sites for food storage.

Turfgrass: Refers to residential lawn grasses as well as varieties used in sports venues.


Variety: A naturally grown or cultivated type of plant species.

Variegation: A pattern of stripes or patches on otherwise solid-colored leaves.

Vermiculite: A mineral used in potting mix to retain moisture and provide aeration.


Weed and Feed: Fertilizer that contains weed killer for broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions or grassy weeds such as crabgrass.

Weeds: Unwanted plants that grow rampantly through other plantings, competing for food, water and light.

Woody: Refers to hard-stemmed perennial plants that are capable of surviving cold weather without dying back.


Xeriscaping: To create a lower-maintenance landscape with native plants and reduced areas of turfgrass. A primary goal of xeriscaping is reducing landscape water consumption.