Nursery Terms Explained: A Quick Guide to Shopping for Plants at a Nursery

Updated: Apr 23

Trust us: we know how overwhelming plant shopping can be, especially when we have so much to choose from! Here's a quick guide on what to look for to fit any space in your landscape.




1. What is bloom time?

Simply explained, bloom time is just as it sounds–it's when the plants flowers or blooms are expected to be at their fullest! This time window varies from plant to plant with some blooming in early spring and others waiting until the end of fall.


So how can you tell bloom time? Most plants in our nursery will have tags attached with the bloom time. Or just do a quick plant search on our site to see the bloom times and photos of the plants in each season to give you an idea of what to expect.

2. What does growth habit mean?

Growth habit is the details of how the plant tends to grow. For example, some plants grow outwards to cover the ground while others grow upwards to offer great shade.


Of course it's less an exact science and more of what the plant tends to do, but that could be changed given the conditions in which your plant is living.

3. What does sun exposure mean?

Sun exposure basically tells you how much light a plant needs to thrive; the scale ranges from full sun to full shade with most plants usually falling in the Full Sun to Partial Shade category.


This is important to know when you consider where you will be placing your plant in your landscape–how much sun does that spot receive? Similar to bloom time, you can find the sun needs of our plants on our website by doing a quick search of the plant.

If in doubt, research it out.

There are truly 101 plants that could be perfect for your landscape and at the end of the day, it usually comes down to personal preference of the homeowner.


There is no pressure to do your whole house at one time! Our recommendation is to narrow down your project to front yard, back yard, and sides of the house to 1) prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed and 2) to learn what you like and don't like in your landscape.


At Shepherd's we are here for you as you work on filling out your home landscape and garden, so if you have any questions, we'd love to help!