Common Names of Gardening Plants

Determining the correct terminology in use around garden centers requires a basic knowledge of the types of plants used in home landscaping. This knowledge allows you to choose the correct plant to suit a location. Different types of plants perform different functions in the garden. Learning the common names of gardening plants helps you make the right choices when landscaping your property.


Annuals refer to plants that grow from seed, mature, produce flowers, and die in a single season. Gardeners use annuals for consistent color in the garden for the entire growing season. Annuals have long lasting blooms. Marigolds, petunias and geraniums are common annual plants.


Perennial plants serve as the backdrop to many home landscapes. These plants return every year with renewed growth in the spring. Perennial flowers, stems and leaves die off with the first frosts in the fall. The plant remains alive underground in the form of roots that produce new shoots in the spring.


Bulbs refer to the category of plants that grow from a root-like mass called a corm, tuber or rhizomes. These yam-like roots house everything required to produce a beautiful landscape plant. Spring bulbs are planted the previous fall, and include flowers such as daffodils and tulips. These types include dahlias, iris and caladium. Some varieties of summer bulbs require removal from the garden soil in early fall.

Vines and Ground Covers

Vines are a type of plant that grows on an extended stem. Vines either climb trellises, walls or trees. Ground cover is a vine-like plant that creeps across the soil. Vines attach to surfaces using either adhesive tips (like small suction cups), twining around structures, or by throwing off root-like tendrils to secure the plant to the structure. Garden centers offer both annual and perennial vines.


Shrubs are landscape plants that serve a purpose somewhere between a flower and a tree. Shrubs range in size from 1 and 1/2 foot to 10 feet in height, according to the Utah State University Extension Service. Shrubs serve as decorative elements in the landscape. Many varieties produce beautiful foliage and flowers. Deciduous shrubs drop all foliage during the winter months. Evergreen shrubs retain foliage year round for consistent color in the landscape.

Keywords: gardening plant names, types of plants, garden plant types

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.