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On TikTok, “Gardening” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

Is anyone else’s TikTok full of ~gardening~ videos? No, I’m not talking about your typical, green-thumb, planting basil in the backyard gardening content. On the internet, the word “gardening” has a whole different meaning to what you might be thinking of. So, what does “gardening” mean on TikTok? Spoiler alert: you’re gonna want to put the gloves and the rake down for this.

Slang terms are nothing new on TikTok. From “rizz” to “twincest,” TikTok is Gen Z’s slang term destination, and “gardening” is its newest addition. Coined by TikTok creator Natalie Benson (@notnataliebenson), “gardening” is, allegedly, TikTok’s slang term for smoking, or consuming, marijuana, since content surrounding the plant is typically banned on the platform. Think about it: marijuana is oftentimes called “flower,” so “gardening” is a pretty easy pseudonym to use.

After her original account, which featured cannabis content, was deleted by TikTok, Benson created a new account that focused on “gardening” in November 2023. What? She likes plants! And she gardens every day! We love a dedicated plant momma.

But Benson isn’t the only creator who talks about gardening on the platform. Thousands of TikTokers have created content around “gardening,” including infused mocktails, “garden gummy” taste tests, and even what they like to eat after a late-night “gardening” sesh. Plants can really take it out of you, if you know what I mean.


Get yourself a garden husband 🪴

♬ original sound – Natalie Benson

But why is cannabis content banned on TikTok? While the plant is popular all over the globe, and even legal in a few states, marijuana is considered a Schedule One substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. And, despite its legality in several states, marijuana still remains federally illegal, so marketing activities, particularly if they cross state lines, and guidance regarding paid advertising in traditional media (like billboards or newspapers) or new media (TikTok) are banned.

If you’re in a state where marijuana is legal, there’s no denying that there are benefits to the plant, if used correctly. So, if you’re into “gardening,” be sure that you’re doing so legally, safely, and responsibly.

julianna (she/her) is an associate editor at her campus where she oversees the wellness vertical and all things sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and gen-z. during her undergraduate career at chapman university, julianna's work appeared in as if magazine and taylor magazine. additionally, her work as a screenwriter has been recognized and awarded at film festivals worldwide. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.