INSIDE : Check out a helpful glossary of important indoor houseplant words. I learned many of them in my botany classes and hope this list is a good resource for you plant lovers!
This post has been updated since it’s original publish date of September 2021.
If you have been around here for a while, you know I love me some plants. I was a practicing landscape architect for eight years in a design firm. And then I continued doing smaller freelance jobs on my own for about a year after that before starting my blog, Delineate Your Dwelling.
I have endless plant craft projects and even wrote an Indoor Houseplants ebook all about how to not kill the plants. I also have numerous plant care posts on TONS of plants, like this Peperomia Plant Care.
Hopefully by now, you are in agreement – I love me some plants! Today, I thought it would helpful to put together a list of indoor (and a few outdoor) plant words.
I know what these words mean, I took Botany and Horticulture classes in college, but they may not make complete sense to someone who isn’t as plant crazed as myself.
I have broken them down in alphabetical order for your ease, I hope you enjoy and learn something new!
Glossary of Important Indoor Houseplant Words :
A Plant Words –
Air Plant – Learn Air Plant Care + Tips for keeping your Air Plant growing healthy, watering information and general care in my blog post.
Amend – Adding organic materials to your soil to make it a healthier place for your houseplants. Examples of things to amend your soil with are worm compost or castings, peat moss, bone meal and pumice or perlite.
Angel Wing Begonia – Learn elegant Angel Wing Begonia Plant Care tips like their watering needs, light requirements and how they get those gorgeous polka dots! Learn how to grow big healthy Begonia maculata.
Angel Wing Begonia Propagation Tips – Take a look into the simple water method of Propagating Angel Wing Begonia plants. Because honestly, once you have one gorgeous Polka Dot Plant, you are going to need more!
Avocado Plant – Learn the trick to growing an Avocado Plant from seed that finally worked for me! And once you have a sprouting plant, see the best care tips like their watering needs and light requirements. Let’s grow big healthy Avocado Plants together!
B Plant Words –
Bathroom Plants – Check out some of the best plants for Bathrooms, even if you don’t have a window! Your plants will happily thrive in these low light, high humidity locations.
Best Online Plant Shops – See who has the Best Online Plant Shops for Indoor Houseplants. It’s always fun to browse through a plant nursery, but if you don’t have the time or chance, buying house plants on the internet can be just as fun!
Black Raven ZZ Plant Care – Learn the best Black Raven ZZ Care tips to grow healthy plants! From the best water amounts to it’s ideal light levels, this plant is a great indoor houseplant option. I especially love their dark black leaves and stems.
Bright Light – Bright light means a sunny southern or western facing window with bright, direct light all day long. It should get a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day and sometimes more. These are typically very strong hardy plants. See my post on Best Sunlight levels for indoor houseplants.
C Plant Words –
Cleaning Plant Leaves – It’s time for some Spring Cleaning and that counts for your plants, too. Learn how to clean your Houseplants to remove all the dust from the leaves.
Climbing – Plants that climb up trellises, structures or fences by using their plant tendrils to grip and grasp.
Clump Forming – Plants that form clumps as they grow. They often spread as they grow to form larger clumps.
D Plant Words –
Dappled Shade – Often referring to light patterns through leaves. When there is a mix of sun and shade and the shadows below almost look like painted spots in a watercolor painting. Dappled shade is also similar to partial shade.
Deadhead – The removal of old or dead flowers from a plant. This often encourages a plant to produce new flower blossoms and is a good practice to weekly do to your plants.
Dormat – Typically all plants have a natural dormat cycle during the cooler months of the year. This is the time when a plant grows very little and needs a little less water than normal.
Drainage – It is so important for almost all houseplants to have excellent drainage. Water should easily run through a pot and out the bottom of your pot’s drainage hole when you water your plants. See my post on Best Indoor Plant Pots.
Drought Tolerant – When mature plants handle drought and lack of water on a regular basis and are able to recover, they are considered drought tolerant. However, almost all plants need more regular watering while getting established.
Dry – This is the condition when the soil is quite dry to the touch. Plants that prefer drier conditions and soil may develop root rot disease if they are kept too wet for extended periods of time.
Dumb Cane – Learn some of the best Dumb Cane Plant Care tips to grow big, healthy plants! From the best water amounts to it’s lighting levels, this plant is a great more shading loving plant and a great indoor plant option.
E Plant Words –
Exposure – Exposure is the perfect amount of sun or shade that each plant needs to survive and stay alive.
F Plant Words –
Fertilizer – Any material or liquid that is applied to the plant’s soil, to help in the growth of plants. The three numbers on a fertilizer label represent the main nutrients found in most fertilizers (nitrogen(N) – phosphorus(P) – potassium(K)). For example, a bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer contains : 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphate and 10 percent potash.
Fiddle Leaf Fig – Learn the best tips on how to care for Fiddle Leaf Figs in my blog post! From overall Fig care, their watering needs, the best light amounts and even a diagnostic checklist to help you identify if your Fiddle Leaf needs more or less water.
Fishbone Cactus – Learn the best Fishbone Cactus Plant Care tips to grow healthy plants. Find out how to grow Ric Rac Cactus after learning their ideal watering needs and light requirements. I especially love their uniquely shaped zig zag stems!
Freezing Basil (or other Herbs) – Looking for best practices when Freezing Basil in Ice Cube Trays for the winter? Well, I have you covered! I go over the best time to harvest, how small to chop your basil, which ice cube trays are the best to use and more. You’ll be glad you spent the time all year long when enjoying these great frozen herbs.
Full Shade – Full shade requirements are considered plants that will receive less than 4 hours of direct sun a day.
Full Sun – Full sun requirements are considered plants that will receive 6 or more hours of direct sun a day.
G Plant Words –
Graft – When two different plants are grafted and grow together. A branch or twig is placed into a cut on an existing plant and eventually connects and grows there.
H Plant Words –
Happy Houseplants – Ha! This is the name of my indoor Happy Houseplants ebook!
My Happy Houseplants ebook talks about how to not kill all the plants and includes:
– A super helpful checklist for 6 steps to keep your plants alive + thriving.
– A deep dive on 7 trending “it” plants (like your finicky Fiddle Leaf Fig!)
-5 plant printables to hang in your home.
Buy it below.
Hard to Kill Plants – While some plants do require more care, check out this list of 11 Hard to Kill Houseplants that anyone can keep alive, as long as some basic care rules are applied.
Hardiness Zone – The country and world is divided into temperature zones based on the lowest average temperature in each area during the winter. The Hardiness zone is used to decide whether a plant will grow naturally in your area.
Harden Off – When a plant is slowly introduced to colder temperatures, giving it a chance to build tolerance to the temperate change. When growing plants indoors for vegetable gardens, it is important to slowly bring them outside in the shade to slow get accustom to outdoor life before you plant them in a garden. Hardening off typically take several weeks.
Hoya ‘kerrii’ Sweetheart Plant – Learn the best practices for Hoya Kerrii Plant Care + Tips! Get some helpful ideas for Hoya ‘Sweetheart’ Care like their watering needs and light requirements so you can grow big healthy indoor plants.
I Plant Words –
Indirect Light – Indirect light can be an east facing bright window, or in the interior of a room that receives full light from a southern or western facing window. Plants with indirect light needs should not get direct sunlight rays, but they will still need light for at least 5 to 6 hours per day. See my post on Best Sunlight levels for indoor houseplants.
J Plant Words –
K Plant Words –
L Plant Words –
Leggy – When plants grow long, skinny, pale new growth that is stretching towards the light, they are called leggy.
Low Light – Most rooms are probably considered low light if the plant is placed away from windows. Rooms with north facing windows are still considered as low light situations. See my post on Best Sunlight levels for indoor houseplants.
M Plant Words –
Marimo Moss Ball – The best tips on how to care for Marimo Moss Balls! Including where to buy, their watering needs, light needs, the best containers and much more.
Mistletoe Cactus – Learn all about Mistletoe Cactus Care + Tips! From their best watering needs, propagating tips, ideal light amounts and even where to buy a Mistletoe Cactus plant.
Monstera – Learn the best practices for how to care for Monstera Plants in my blog post! Helpful tips for Monstera Plant Care, from watering needs, light requirements, grow big healthy Monsteras.
Mounded – Plants that grow with a rounded look are mounding in shape. They are usually wider than they are tall.
N Plant Words –
Normal – Water when the top of the soil in a pot is dry to the touch. Potted plants will need weekly or bi-weekly water if there is an extended dry spell but only when the soil goes from normal to dry.
Neem Oil – Oil made from the seed of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, also called Indian lilac. It is used as an insecticidal spray.
Normal to Wet – Water when the top of the soil in a pot is dry to the touch but err on the side of wet rather than dry. Plants that like Normal to Wet conditions will prefer that the soil be constantly moist and will not tolerate dry soils well. These plants are often good planted at pond edges. For in ground plantings you will need to provide an inch of water each week if mother nature doesn’t do it for you.
O Plant Words –
P Plant Words –
Partial Shade – When a plant requires 4 to 6 hours of direct sun a day and remaining time in shade. See my post on Best Sunlight levels for indoor houseplants.
Partial Sun – When a plant requires 4 to 6 hours of direct sun a day. See my post on Best Sunlight levels for indoor houseplants.
Peperomia – Learn the best Peperomia Plant Care tips to grow healthy plants! From the best water amounts to it’s ideal light levels, this plant is a great indoor houseplant option. I especially love it’s glossy leaves, so pretty.
Peperomia Silver Frost – Learn the best Peperomia Silver Frost Plant Care tips to grow big healthy plants! Learn Peperomia’s best water amounts and it’s ideal light levels. This plant is a great indoor houseplant.
Perennial – Plants that are cold hardy and will return again each spring. Some will flower the first year they are planted and some will need to mature before flowering.
Perlite – White additive that is found in potting mixes that looks like styrofoam. I used perlite when I propagated my Pilea.
Pilea – The best tips for Pilea peperomioides care! From their watering needs, propagating, light amounts and even where to buy a Pilea plant.
Pineapple Plant – It is so much easier than you think to grow a pineapple plant! See my tips growing a pineapple from an existing fruit, as well as a fun craft tutorial for painting a DIY Pineapple Pot.
Pinch Back – Pinching plants means trimming off or “snapping off” parts of a plant or the flower to stimulate growth. Pinching creates a fuller, more bushy plant. Indoor herbs are a great example of a plant that benefits from pinching to keep it full and prevents it from going to seed early.
Pothos – Learn about easy General Pothos Plant Care and tips! Including their watering needs, light needs, the best containers, where to buy and much more.
Pot Bound – This is when a plant’s roots have filled up the pot so completely that the plant cannot produce any new growth. When you remove the plant the roots are often thick and have grown all around the pot’s edge.
Potting Mix – A good indoor potting mix is usually composed of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. These soilless mixes absorb moisture very well and resist compaction, but they tend to dry out very quickly.
Prayer Plant – Learn the best practices for Prayer Plant Care + Tips! Helpful ideas for Calathea Plant Care like their watering needs and light requirements so you can grow big healthy indoor plants.
Propagation – Propagation in simple terms is growing new plants from old plants. Hello, best thing ever! Plants are amazing because not only are living growing things in your home, but if done properly, they can regrow completely new plants from parts of themselves – it’s pretty amazing. See my posts on Water Propagation and Propagating Pilea.
Propagate Pilea – After your Chinese Money Plant makes little pups, learn how to Propagate Pilea. Follow these easy steps on how to separate the plant pup from it’s mother and then how to replant the Pilea plant once propagated. Growing tons of pilea will be a cinch with these tips.
Propagating Angel Wing Begonia – Take a look into the simple water method of Propagating Angel Wing Begonia plants. Because honestly, once you have one gorgeous Polka Dot Plant, you are going to need more!
Q Plant Words –
R Plant Words –
Root Bound – A plant that has been in a pot a long time may have roots that circle around the edges of the pot. These roots may not grow out into the soil. To encourage better root growth, cut or break up the roots to separate them before planting or placing in a new pot.
Root Rot – This is never fun. When too much moisture causes a plant’s roots to rot and die. It can also cause the roots to turn brown, grey, and slimy. Your plant is unable to soak up water and if not noticed quickly, will lead to death for your plant. Root rot is often caused by too much water and not enough sunlight.
Rubber Plant – Learn the best practices on how to care for your Rubber Plants in my blog post! Helpful Rubber Plant Care + tips, from watering needs, light requirements, grow big healthy Ficus elastica.
Runner – A runner is a long thin stem or branch that grows buds and roots at the tip.
S Plant Words –
Scorch – When plants receive too much sun or even fertilizer the leaves may look brown, like they got a sun burn.
Snake Plant – Learn the best plant tips for your Snake Plant care! Helpful plant ideas for Sansevieria – from watering needs, light requirements, grow big healthy Snake Plants.
Spreading – Plants that grow low to the ground and spread as they go are said to be “spreading” plants.
String of Pearls – Learn the best methods for how to care for the gorgeous succulent, String of Pearls! From their overall plant care, watering needs, and the best light amounts for your little plant – let’s get growing those beautiful trailing plants with these String of Pearl Plant Care tips.
Sunlight Ideals for Plants – Learn how to know the best Sunlight Levels for Indoor Houseplants. And gain the keys to having thriving plants, basic Sunlight 101 for Indoor Houseplants.
T Plant Words –
Trailing – Plants that trail along the ground or out of pots but do not root at nodes along the stem.
Top Dress – To top dress means applying something to the top of a plant’s soil. Normally it means adding more potting mix, fertilizer, or rock/pebbles.
U Plant Words –
Upright – This is a plant that is taller than it is wide with roughly straight edges. These plants often have a somewhat spike-like appearance.
V Plant Words –
W Plant Words –
Wet – These plants need soil that is constantly moist to wet.
Water Propagation – Learn tips and techniques for growing new baby plants from existing plants using simple Water Propagation for plants! I love multiplying plants in this way. Plus it’s so fun to see those plant roots growing each day.
Watering – Plants differ somewhat on how much water they require. I often give my plants a weekly check on Friday’s to see if they are in need of more water or not.
X Plant Words –
Y Plant Words –
Z Plant Words –
Phew, that was a lot of plants! Let me know if you need a word added into my plant glossary and I’ll be sure to add it.