Some of us have a green thumb and can get any plant to grow. There are others who have no luck at all. Sometimes the problem can be to much care and loving. Follow these five tips and your plants will love you as much as you love them!
- Choosing the right plant: You won't have to spend as much time caring for your plants if you choose plants that are suited to your environmental conditions and gardening style. To ensure that you purchase the right plants for your situation, visit a garden center and speak with an expert. Some plants require a lot of tender loving care, while others are very hardy and will not die due to neglect.
- Watering: Test the soil in your containers every day with your finger. If it's dry an inch below the surface - water. If you can't water your plants on a regular basis, consider self-watering containers. If you've got hard-to-reach plants, I recommend that you purchase a watering wand, as shown in Figure 1, which will save you lots of stepstool time.
- Fertilizing: Fertilizer is important. Mix a dry, time-release fertilizer into the soil when planting, and use small amounts of liquid fertilizer for regular feeding every few weeks.
- Fighting Pests: Inspect plants regularly for fungus, insects, bugs, etc. Remove any diseased or dying leaves. Spray insects with water or other natural repellants to get rid of them.
- Pruning: Don't be afraid to cut or trim plants to keep their shape and encourage growth - just leave at least 2/3 of the original plant intact so it'll have enough surface area to absorb sunlight. Pinch (aka. deadhead) faded flowers regularly to encourage more blooms on annual plants. A good set of tools can make all the difference.
Figure 1 - Indoor & outdoor watering wand
Keep in mind that every plant is different. Take some time to read up on your plants and learn as much as you can about their individual needs. A little time spent reading and planning now can save you a lot of time and disappointment later.