Common Gardening Terms


Soil (or liquid) having a pH of 7 or less.


A substance that can decrease the pH level of soil when introduced. Common types of acidifers include certain fertilizers (especially water-soluble types marketed for acid-loving plants) and pelletized products such as sulphur that can be used when soil tests reveal a too-high soil pH level.


The process that supplies roots and plants with oxygen. For hydroponic systems, aeration means to aerate plants with a nutrient solution circulated by an aquarium type pump.


A plant system where the roots of the plants are misted with a nutrient rich solution to promote growth without the use of a growth medium.


Soil (or liquid) having a pH above 7


The basic organic compounds that contain nitrogen


A plant that matures and produces seeds in one growing season. An example of an annual plant is a summer squash.


Another term for Hydroponics.


A plant growth regulating substance.


Material that decomposes through natural bacterial action.

Bloom Booster

A fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, which increases the bloom or blossom yield of a plant.


When leaf tips turn dark because of excess fertilizer or salt in their growing medium or nutrient solution.


A vital element to all plants and is considered a macro-nutrient.


The green matter of the plant.


A nutrient deficiency in plants which causes yellowing of the leaves.


A new plant, created through asexual reproduction by cuttings or tissue layering.


Decaying organic matter that is high in nutrients and benefical as plant fertilizer.

Damping Off Fungus

Usually attacks young plants at the base of the plant. Damping off fungus is caused by the over watering of plants.

Drip System

A hydroponic system that drips nutrient solution from emitters (or lines) around the plants.

Ebb and Flow System

A hydroponic system that periodically floods, then drains nutrient solution around the plants.

Foliar Feeding

The feeding of plants by misting them with a nutrient rich solution on the leaves (rather than the roots).


The initial development of a plant from a seed.

Grow Medium

Supports the plants root systems. Examples of grow medium are peebles or coconut fiber.

Harden Off

The prepare a plant for the outdoors by slowly acclimiatizing it to a harsh climate.

HID Lights

High Intensity Lights that are the most effective artificial light source for hydroponic plants.


A plant that is the offspring of two different breeds or varieties.

Leaf Curl

Caused by over watering, too much fertilizer, a lack of magnesium or insect/ fungus damage


The material used instead of soil to support the root growth of hydroponic plants. The medium also holds and releases the nutrient solution used in hydroponic gardening


The dying of plant tissue.

Nutrient Film Technique

A hydroponic technique that grows plants under a constant stream of nutrient solution around the bottom of the roots while air circulates around the top of the roots (increasing the oxygen).


The process in which a plant produces sugar by converting light energy into chemical energy.


A woven material used as a growing medium for hydroponic plants. The woven material is made from volcanic rock and limestone that is heated at a high temperture, extruded and then formed into blocks and slabs.


Used in reference to plant diseases. Describes whether a disease has occurred within a plant and not from an outside source.


Used in passive hydroponic gardening systems. A wick is placed so that it extends from the nutrient reservior to the growing medium. The solution is then absorbed by the plant roots growing within the medium.


Making cuts in the basal end of a cutting to expose cambial tissue and stimulate rooting