General Definitions


A plant that completes its entire life cycle (germinates, produces seeds, dies) in one season. It may self-sow, thereby giving the impression of being perennial.

Hardy Annual:

An annual that does not need to be grown indoors but can be sown direct into its flowering position in the garden in spring.

Half Hardy Annual:

An annual that is frost tender and can be started indoors but must not be planted outdoors until all danger of frost has passed.


A plant that can live for more than two years, surviving the winter and flowering each year from the second season.

Hardy Perennial:

A perennial as above that can tolerate frost.

Half Hardy Perennial:

A perennial that cannot tolerate frost but can be over-wintered if given frost protection (also known as a Tender Perennial).


A plant that completes its entire life cycle in two years - growing in the first, reproducing and dying in the second.Usually, but not always, producing flowers only in the second year.

Tender :

A plant that will not survive frost.


A plant that will survive frost.


Original pre-1960’s open pollinated strains selected for garden performance (flavour, long harvest).

Open Pollinated:

Natural cross between plants of the same variety. Refers to non-hybrid seeds or plants.


A plant resulting from a cross between two parent plants to give a genetically superior plant. The same parents are used to produce more seed. Normally seed saved from hybrids does not grow true to type.

F1 - The first generation of such a cross.

F2 - The second generation of such a cross


The ability of seeds to germinate.


Going to seed. Premature formation of a seed stalk.


Growth stopped by development of terminal flower buds. A dwarf/bush variety which sets fruit in a concentrated period.


Growth continuing indefinitely when leaf buds form at the tip of the growth. These varieties need to be staked and continue to set fruit until frost.


A measurement for the acidity/alkalinity of soil, needed for nutrient availability and microbial activity.


Basic nutrient needs of plants:
Nitrogen (N) - for green growth, healthy soil and microbial activity
Phosphorus (P) - for flower, fruit and seed production; vigorous roots and disease resistance
Potassium (K) - essential for all building and the quality and size of fruit.


The practice of scratching or notching the seed coat to hasten germination. Usually applies to hard coated seed.


Chilling seeds to promote germination by breaking dormancy.


The seed leaves or first leaves that emerge from a germinated seed, different in form from the later true leaves.

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