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Words Matter: Gardening 101 - Common Blunders to Avoid

By Samyukta Iyer

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram, admiring the beautiful houseplants and terrace gardens ? “I wish I could do that,” you think,” but I kill everything I touch.” Now, I’m not an expert, but I’ve done my fair share of planting, weeding, and harvesting. From watching and guiding people through building their own gardens, I’ve come across 4 blunders that appear time and time again, so hopefully sharing their solutions will help your thumbs turn a few shades greener!

  1. Buy plants, not pluckings. As holidays come and go, many people buy bouquets and other floral arrangements as a gift, but why stop there? Instead of giving a beautiful but temporary present, opt for a live plant that can be repotted over time, like spray roses, marigolds, or zinnias.

  2. Beware of overwatering. Many beginner gardeners fall to the deception of overwatering. Most people know to water a plant regularly, but when it comes to actually growing a plant, it’s important to be aware and adhere to the watering needs and schedules for the specific plant. An easy way to spot overwatering is to place a tray under your plant. If the tray begins to fill substantially with water, it’s a sign to pull back and water less.

  3. Sunlight is key. Based on where you live and where you have space for a garden/plant, the level and timing of sunlight will also vary. In this case, it is crucial to recognize what constraints you have in terms of sunlight and invest in plants that thrive in those conditions. For example, shade plants like hydrangeas, chaenomeles, and begonias produce beautiful blooms but don’t need consistent sunlight.

  4. Buy for buds, not blooms. Although a fully flowered plant can be enticing on the shelves, if you’re looking to build and cultivate a long term garden, it’s not the best choice. Instead, look for plants with healthy, unscarred leaves and lively buds. If you need assistance in identifying this, definitely ask an employee or expert to guide you further.

Armed with this advice, you’ll be ready to take on your next big gardening project as spring approaches!

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