I once cast myself to have a brown thumb, proclaiming every plant I touched would shrivel up and perish. Little did my beginner self realize was that I had the wrong tools to help me build my confidence. Throughout my 2 years of learning and growing, I realized that anyone can change their thumb color and emerge with a green thumb, all you need is a little patience, and these gardening tips for beginners.
In order of importance, these are the gardening tips for beginners that you need to follow:
Number One: Take notice of the quality and quantity of light you have to work with.
Not all plants are happy in every condition. If you’ve seen the “hardiness zone” listed on the growing tag, this zone tells you if the plant is viable in your area and then you need to make sure you meet the minimum amount of light listed on the tag. If the plant says 6+ hours of direct sunlight, you need to make sure that you meet that minimum. If you haven’t lived in your house for more than a year, ask your neighbors if they’ve had success growing certain things. If you don’t have access to enough light for an indoor garden, consider getting additional plant-friendly lighting to help it grow. I love the design of this windowsill herb garden.
Number Two: Start with Miracle Grow Moisture Control Soil
The biggest killer to your confidence is when you’re giving the plant the light and water you think it needs and then it shrivels up and dies, the majority of these deaths are due to improper watering which is why it’s so important to start with moisture control soil. I love the Miracle Grow brand as it’s never failed me or my plants and I can typically find it anywhere.
Number Three: Always have a pot with a drainage hole
Improper water + no drainage hole in your pot = dead plant from root rot. Imagine if you were wearing socks that didn’t breathe and you had to live in those socks for forever. Your feet would stay wet and clammy and eventually the skin would deteriorate. Same thing with plants. If there is no way for the moisture to escape, the roots are going to be overwhelmed in moisture and no one wants that. So unless you have a drill bit that can safely drill a hole in the bottom of that cute ceramic pot, opt for another one that actually has a hole in the bottom.
Number Four: Beware the trendy house plant
Trendy houseplants are so cute for the ‘gram but rarely viable for the beginner. If you’re just starting out, avoid fiddle leaf figs, any sort of container herb garden unless that window receives direct sun for 8+ hours or if you have a light assisted system, and most succulents.
Instead try some of these plants for your home: devils ivy (also called a pothos), crawling jade, and Mother In Laws tongue.
Great beginner herbs for outdoor gardeners are mint, oregano, rosemary, and parsley.
Number Five: Learn How to Prune Properly
When you finally bring a plant home, chances are pruning is a part of the upkeep. I strongly urge you to google “how to prune xyz plant” and learn how to properly prune it so that you don’t accidentally kill it from over trimming. If you don’t prune basil properly, the stalks will become woody and you won’t be able to make this tomato tart this summer, or if you cut a hydrangea too far back, it won’t rebloom next season.
Plants, like people, need a few basic things to stay alive, mainly food (sun), water (that drains well), and shelter (proper pruning). I’m confident that adhering to these steps you’ll be a garden pro in no time!