This page contains definitions of all the descriptors used in this database.

Full Sun

6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Full Sun to Part Shade

4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Part Sun to Shade

2-4 hours of direct sunlight per day.


Less than 2 hours of direct sunlight per day.


A plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials.


Any of various mostly needle-leaved or scale-leaved, chiefly evergreen, cone-bearing gymnospermous trees or shrubs such as pines, spruces, and firs.


Herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the “true grasses”, of the Poaceae (or Gramineae) family, as well as the sedges (Cyperaceae) and the rushes (Juncaceae). The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns (turf) and grassland. Sedges include many wild marsh and grassland plants, and some cultivated ones such as water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) and papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus).


A plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners.


Any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem (making them vascular plants). They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants. Ferns reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers.


A plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting leaves or branches.


Distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 20 feet tall. Plants of many species may grow either into shrubs or trees, depending on their growing conditions.


Plants having some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. Succulent plants may store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems.


A plant that grows over an area of ground, used to provide protection from erosion and drought, and to improve its aesthetic appearance (by concealing bare earth).


A plant that grows on the margins of ponds or other bodies of water, in constantly damp soil or even in shallow water.


Plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments (saltwater or freshwater). They are also referred to as hydrophytes or macrophytes. These plants require special adaptations for living submerged in water, or at the water’s surface.


A plant native to the tropics, sometimes grown as a houseplant in colder climates.

Tender Perennial

A perennial plant that is not hardy in cold climates, where it may be grown as an annual. Tender in zones 7-8 in regards to our database.


Shedding leaves at the end of a growing season and regrowing them at the beginning of the next growing season. Most deciduous plants bear flowers and have woody stems and broad rather than needlelike leaves.


plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground.[1] Herbaceous plants may be annuals, biennials or perennials


Retaining at least some green foliage well into winter; shedding leaves in a cold climate but not where winters are mild.


plant is a plant that has leaves in all four seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.


plant grown outdoors in the spring and summer and surviving just for one growing season.


Hardiness of plants describes their ability to survive adverse growing conditions. It’s the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. Reference the Map of USDA Hardiness Zones. Note when we list hardiness we’re indicating the lowest temperature at which the plant can survive.