Planting Your Plant in
the Wrong Spot
Hmmm. Does it really need full sun?
I’m an impatient gardener. I don’t have much spare time and when I see a plant I like, I have to fight the temptation to just buy it, put it in the ground and worry about it later. I hoped somehow the gardening gods would smile upon my love and effort. But over the years I’ve become a little more discerning, I’ve learned to read the light requirements of a plant and pass it over if it won’t fit my situation. Rather than selecting plants and then considering the location, it’s much better to evaluate your site and then get a list of plants that will do well in those conditions.
Paying good attention doesn’t always mean you have to forgo the plants you want. It may just mean creating a better location for them. Would cutting one tree limb give you some much needed sun for a rose bush? Love ornamental grasses? Japanese Forest grass enjoys shade. Very often solutions are at hand, so don’t give up!
Not Amending the Soil
Dirt is dirt, right?
Okay, this is a big deal. It really is. This mistake will take the biggest toll on your garden over time. You’ll watch perennials get smaller and weaker until they disappear unless you’ve selected only the plants that actually thrive on bad soil (yes, they do exist). You’ll see annuals suffocate or rot right before your eyes. Green leaves will turn pale. All kinds of mishaps grow from soil problems. Lawn problems are almost entirely owed to incorrect soil care and have nothing to do with the grass plants themselves. Above all, use potting mixes to fill pots and boxes. Soils meant for the garden bed are too heavy for potted plants. You’ll see immediate disaster without potting mix.
You can start amending soil right now! Fall is a good time to spread compost on garden beds when temps are nice outside and weeds are already in check. You’ll be ahead in spring after the winter works the compost into the soil for you!
Get a soil test. Don’t use lime or sulfur unless a pH test says you need it!
Incorrect Watering of Plants
I don’t need instructions on watering plants!
All plants have certain water requirements and it really pays to know the in’s and out’s of watering. We admit this isn’t an entirely intuitive task, but it’s easy to avoid the big watering mistakes if you follow a couple of simple rules.
Always use soaker hoses for trees, shrubs and perennial flowers. Soakers provide a deep watering at a slow enough rate to reach deep into the ground. Deep watering allows roots to search deeply for moisture. Deep roots stabilize plants! Surface watering with a regular hose isn’t beneficial for permanent plants.
Drowning plants is no better than not watering. Overwatering and underwatering are easy to do especially with potted plants. The best way to water potted plants is to water thoroughly and let the plant dry out before thoroughly watering again.
Realize that pots and baskets will generally need to be thoroughly water twice a day in the hot weather particulary in full sun.
When purchasing plants, make sure you know what the water requirements will be.
Drought tolerant doesn’t mean no water is needed. Drought tolerant plants need the same watering to get established as any other plant.