Our ‘A’ to ‘Z’ of Gardening Terms

Terms that begin with “F”

fallowTo keep part of a garden unplanted or in a cover crop during the growing season.
familyA broad group of plants with common characteristics.
fasciationDistortion of a plant that results in thin, flattened, and sometimes curved shoots.
feeder rootsFine roots and root branches with a large absorbing area (root hairs). Responsible for taking up the majority of a plant’s water and nutrients from the soil.
fermentationThe partial breakdown of food molecules to yield ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide, and energy. Fermentation occurs in the absence of oxygen.
fertility (soil)The presence of minerals necessary for plant life.
fertilization(1) The fusion of male and female germ cells following pollination. (2) The addition of plant nutrients to the environment around a plant.
fertilizerA natural or synthetic product added to the soil or sprayed on plants to supply nutrients.
fertilizer analysisThe amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (as P2O5), and potassium (as K2O) in a fertilizer, expressed as a percentage of total fertilizer weight. On the N-P-K fertilizer label, the percentage by weight of nitrogen (N) is always listed first, phosphorous (P) second, and potassium (K) third.
fiberA long, thick-walled cell that dies at maturity.
fibrous rootA root system that branches in all directions, often directly from the plant’s crown, rather than branching in a hierarchical fashion from a central root. See taproot.
filamentThe stalk supporting a flower’s anthers.
flaggingLoss of turgor and drooping of plant parts, usually as a result of water stress.
floricaneSecond-year growth of caneberries. Produces fruit on laterals.
flowerThe reproductive branch or structure of an angiosperm plant.
foliar fertilization, foliar feedingFertilization of a plant by applying diluted soluble fertilizer, such as fish emulsion or kelp, directly to the leaves.
foodAn organic substance that provides energy and body-building materials, especially carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
forceTo bring a plant into early growth, generally by raising the temperature or transplanting it to a warmer situation. Tulips and paperwhites are examples of plants that often are forced.
form(1) A naturally-occurring characteristic different from other plants in the same population. (2) The growth habit (shape) of a plant.
formal(1) A garden that is laid out in precise symmetrical patterns. (2) A flower, such as some camellias, that consist of layers of regularly overlapping petals.
frondSpecifically, the foliage of ferns, but often applied to any foliage that looks fern-like, such as palm leaves.
fruitThe edible portion of a plant that is closely associated with a flower. Botanically, a fruit is a ripened, mature ovary.
fruiting habitThe location and manner in which a fruit is borne on woody plants.
fungicideAny material capable of killing fungi. Sulfur and copper sulfate are two common mineral fungicides.
fungusA plant organism that lacks chlorophyll, reproduces via spores, and usually has filamentous growth. Examples are molds, yeasts, and mushrooms.