Key Terms for Gardening Success

by | Jan 2024

Bubblegum Pink Phlox Plant

Photo: First Editions® Shrubs & Trees

While you don’t need to be a garden scholar to have success in the garden, there are a few key terms that are helpful to know. Let’s dive into some essential gardening vocabulary that will help you have success this upcoming season:

Annual: A plant that will live for only one growing season.

Compost: Rich, organic matter produced from decaying plant material that enhances the nutrients in the soil to improve the development of plants.

Deadheading: The process of removing dead flower heads from the plant. This encourages new or repeat blooms, depending on the variety.

Frost Dates: The average date of the last freeze in spring and the first freeze in fall.

Full Sun: Plants listed as needing full sun require at least six hours of direct sun each day.

Hardiness: The ability of a plant to survive freezing temperatures. The USDA Hardiness Zone map separates the United States into different zones based on the average low temperature, providing an outline of where a plant will survive. Woodbury is in Zone 4.

Mulch: A ground cover to conserve moisture, restrict weed growth and protect plants from extreme heat or cold. Wood chips, bark or cocoa bean mulch are great natural options and help conserve water.

Part Shade: Plants listed as needing part shade require at least three to five hours of direct sun each day.

Perennial: An herbaceous plant that will live more than two years.

Pruning: Trimming or cutting back stems to shape a plant or to increase growth and bud development.

Transplanting: The act of moving a plant from one spot to another.

Gretchen McNaughton is the communications and content specialist at Bailey Nurseries. Learn more at


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