Gardening Mistakes to Avoid
Many want to be gardeners are easily frustrated by what they feel is a lack of gardening skill. In fact, when someone has nice indoor plants or outdoor gardens, they’re said to have a “green thumb”. Those people who don’t have that green thumb though, sometimes give up the idea of trying to grow plants or flowers, because they just can’t seem to figure out what they’re doing wrong.
Usually there are some very common mistakes everyone makes though, and they’re fairly easy to correct too. Let’s look at several:
Watering too much – Some people who have a problem growing plants and flowers don’t realise they’re actually watering their gardens too much at once, or too frequently. Not all plants and flowers need the same amounts and frequency of water, and you can actually kill a plant if you water it too much. A cactus for instance, often needs just one inch of water or less each month.
Not watering enough – In contrast, sometimes the most common mistake made with a garden is to not water it enough. Again, there are some plants which require more frequent watering, and they’ll start to wilt and die if they’re not getting enough. In most cases you can tell by looking at the leaves of a plant. If the leaves appear as if they’re shriveling up, you’re not likely giving the plant enough water. With some plants you can actually just rub the leaves between your thumb and finger. When the plant has enough water the leaves often feel supple and strong.
Planting the wrong kinds of plants – One of the biggest joys of gardening is finding new plants and flowers. Sometimes we’re out shopping and we come across something we just can’t resist… even if we’re not familiar with the plant we’ve found. So we bring it home and plant it in a prime spot of the garden, only to find it dying off within just a week or two. This often happens when you plant something that won’t grow in your part of the country.
Thankfully most local garden centres usually carry only those plants which should grow well in our local environment, but if you buy plants online, or from a store which stocks a large variety of plants from all over the world, you may find yourself having this problem. The solution is fairly simple though: Research. If possible, try to prevent yourself from buying the new plant you’ve just fallen in love with. Write down the name of it instead, then go home and look it up on the Internet.
If you can’t resist buying it though, then do your research before choosing where you’ll plant it. Often if the plant is not suitable for your garden, you may still be able to grow it indoors. When you get home take a look at them in your garden shed or workshop and plant where they are going to go before you plant them.
Planting your plants in the wrong areas – Even when you know for sure the new plant will grow in your local area, you may have problems with it if you plant it in the wrong part of your garden. In fact, one of the reasons some of your plants may get too much water while others are getting too little, is because you planted them into the same container or flower bed even though they had different watering requirements.
When you buy new plants, be sure to pay attention to it’s particular requirements. If it needs a lot of sun, don’t choose a shady spot to plant it and vice versa. Sometimes this exercise is more of a trial and error process too though. You may plant something in an area that you feel fits the description of “partial shade”, only to find that there’s too much sun for it.
There are many other common mistakes gardeners can make without knowing it too. Not keeping the weeds under control for instance. Most gardeners are unaware that the weeds can sap water and nutrients from the soil, and this effectively starves your plants and flowers. Some weeds can even grow quite tall and steal sunlight from your plants too. So keeping these under control goes a long way towards making sure your garden is able to thrive.
Not dead heading or pruning – Some gardeners are afraid to do anything which they feel may hurt their plants and flowers. So when they see a dead flower or dead branch, they hesitate to snip it off because they worry they’ll hurt the plant somehow, and make it start dying. The truth of the matter is though, that getting rid of dead flowers and branches actually makes your plants and flowers healthier.
In fact, getting rid of live and healthy plants and branches can help make your plants healthier too. And this is why you’re advised to dead head and prune your plants regularly.
Dead heading is the act of removing dead or dying flowers from your plants. In most cases, new flower buds are trying to develop beneath the old ones. So when you remove the old ones, you’re making it easier for the new flower buds to appear. This causes your plants to bloom much more often and in much more volume.
Pruning your plants is the act of trimming off dead or dying areas – even when it means cutting off whole branches of the plant. Sometimes pruning is also done to help the plant grow better too. So branches are cut even when they’re still alive and healthy.
Pruning off healthy branches of a plant or bush can often help it to grow fuller. If the plant or bush is growing almost straight up, and looks a bit thin, then you can selectively prune areas of it that will force it to start branching outwards, and creating a more filled out look.