File photo: Others have hired a professional gardener and then passed off the work as their own. Picture: Kay Montgomery

London - Millions of gardeners are guilty of telling "little green lies" over their exploits, research reveals.

One in six bought plants or vegetables from a shop but then claimed they grew them from seed.

Others have hired a professional gardener and then passed off the work as their own, while many simply give false horticultural tips rather than admit they do not know what they are talking about.

The growing popularity of TV shows such as the BBC’s Gardeners’ World and continuing appeal of events such as the Chelsea Flower Show inspires many families to get outdoors and there is no shortage of advice on offer from celebrity growers.

However, many still admit they are ignorant on everything from crocuses and tulips to carrots and tomatoes.

Not that it stops them from giving others the "benefit" of their experience, with 10 percent offering false gardening tips to friends and neighbours.

The survey of 2 000 adults found that 17 percent buy plants or vegetables in a store and then cheekily claim they grew them from seed, while seven percent have hired a gardener and then passed off the work as their own.

Men are more likely than women to try to bluff their way through a conversation about cultivation even when all they do is mow the lawn.