Whether you’re traipsing around the garden centre, glancing at seed packets or the catalogues, you’re more than likely to come across these couple of gardening terms. It used to confuse me to begin with but don’t let the terminology put you off!
Hardy. Plants that have the ability to stand frosts and weather conditions that fall below freezing.
Half hardy. Plants that are not completely hardy but can tolerate the odd light frost and cold night. Remember you can protect plants with cloches, jam jars, move pots under glass or into plastic mini-greenhouses, cover with horticultural fleece or even use net curtains!
Tender. Plants that will not tolerate any of the above or as it says in the dictionary, “a plant that is incapable of resisting cold.” Well put!
They are usually tagged with:
Annual. A plant that completes it’s life cycle (germinates, produces leaves then flowers and seeds) in one growing season so only lasts one year but remember some plants are great “self-seeders”. They set seed which lays dormant in the soil and germinates the next year so starts the cycle again.
Biennial. A plant that takes two growing seasons to complete it’s life cycle. (In the first year it germinates, produces good growth and in the second, produces flowers and seeds). So simply, a plant that lives for two years.
Perennial. Plants that regrow yearly usually from underground root stock. (Produces leaves, flowers and seeds before dying back at the end of the season). A plant that lives for more than two years.
There you go, it’s that simple!