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Glossary for Interior Plantscape

December 21st, 2018

A Glossary of Terms and Definitions

An alphabetical list of words relating to Interior Plantscaping, text, or dialect, with explanations; a brief dictionary.

If you disagree with any of our definitions in this glossary or have a new definition or better wording to include, please send a comment.


An industry peak body evaluation to: ensure the business meets defined industry standards, encourages best practice and helps members to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Importantly, accreditation also enables customers to have complete confidence in the products and services provided. Accreditation is for the business, Certification (a future planned initiative of the IPA) will cover individuals.

Bark Plate.

See pebble tray.

Bio Wall.

See the green wall


A hypothesis that implies that we are nature-loving because we are of nature; our brains, our bodies evolved in nature, and as biological beings, we need it to sustain our physical and emotional health. The concept is from Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson.

Cylinder Planter.

A tall circular based container usually holding a single plant.

Cone Planter.

A tall cone-shaped container wider at the top than the bottom usually holding a single plant.

Cube Planter.

A cube container usually holding a single plant.

Desk Planter.

See Table Planter

Eco Wall.

A simple Green Wall made of a frame to support growing pots in buckets. It can be watered manually or by an automatic irrigation system. Also see a green wall

Green Star.

A rating granted by the Green Building Council of Australia. GBCA gives a building a rating from 1 – 6 green stars based on its environment and sustainable qualities.

Green Wall.

A term that refers to a wall covered in live plants. There are many types of green walls. Ranging from individual pots in a framework to vertical structures complete with soil and irrigation. Indoor green walls will not do well if there is not sufficient quality light. Also see Vertical Gardens, Eco Wall, Bio Wall.

Growing Media.

See Potting Media.

Growing Pot.

The container in which the plant grows. Usually as supplied from the nursery. Standard sizes used by the industry are: 200mm, 250mm and 300mm.

Hire vs Rental.

The official meaning and difference between the two words “hire” and “rental” is quite confusing and differs between English, American and common Australian usage. However, “hire” usually includes a service, whereas renting assumes sole use by the person renting the item. In Australia the Industry is most often referred to as “Indoor Plant Hire”.

House Plant.

See indoor plant


Indoor Environment Quality.  Refers to the overall comfort of a building’s interior and the comfort and health of its occupants. Many factors may contribute to indoor environmental quality, including the use of daylight, passive design and natural ventilation, air quality and indoor plants.

In situ Planter.

A planter built to order and usually fixed in position. Part of the fittings. In situ literally means “locally” or “on site”.

Indoor Plant.

A plant that will survive in low light. Such plants usually originated as understory plants in rain forests.

Inspection Hole/Pipe.

An opening with or without a cap that allows the insertion of a probe to determine the level in the water reservoir.

Interior Plantscape.

Interior Plantscape, Interior Landscape and Plantscape are synonymous and refer to the act of designing the interior and/or installing the plants and planters.


The topping that covers the growing media. Usually: pebbles, bark or Coconut fibre (coir).

Office Plants.

A term used in Victoria for indoor plants in offices.

Painted Planter.

A planter that has been hand painted.

Pebble Tray.

A term coined by The Container Connection for a tray fitted into a decorative planter to support pebbles. This avoids filling the whole planter will pebbles.


Perspex tube used for measuring the depth of water in the reservoir of a decorative planter.


The decorative container that holds the plant.

Potting Media.

The soil or potting mix used to support, nourish and water the growing plant.


A rod with several notches used for testing moisture in the growing media. If the soil is wet it will stick in the notches. See Pipette.


See Sub-irrigation

Show Plants.

Short term hire for events such as Caravan Show, Motor Shows, Education Expos and the Ekka.


An Australian term for a method of watering the plant using a reservoir of water and a method of transporting the water to the potting media.

Table Planter.

A cone or wedge-shaped planter with a size suitable for a table-top.

Tambour Planter.

A planter that sits on top of a metal filing cabinet. Commonly a cabinet with tambour doors.


See Mulch

Trough Planter.

A square container with a width greater than the depth, holding 2, 3 or 4 plants.


University of Technology Sydney

Vertical Garden.

One of the original Green Walls was developed by Joost Bakker for Schiavello. Also, see Green Wall.


Volatile Organic Compounds. Refers to organic vapours of gases given off by compounds under normal indoor atmospheric conditions of temperature and pressure. The main class of indoor derived air pollution is from the outgassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from ‘plastic’ or ‘synthetic’, sources. The commonest BIG 5 are:

  1. ‘BTEX’: Benzene,
  2. Toluene,
  3. Ethylbenzene;
  4. Xylene; plus
  5. Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons.

Water Table.

A pot that has a water reservoir, an inspection hole and a rim to support the growing pot. This is placed inside a planter or built into a custom-made trough.

Wedge Planter.

A tall square based container wider at the top than the bottom usually holding a single plant.


A method of transporting the water to the growing media using a wick. The wick is usually made of a fabric with good capillary action.