Are you guilty of the most common gardening mistakes? From overwatering to not giving plants enough space, these bad habits are putting our beautiful gardens at risk.

When you’re starting out with your first garden you are going to make mistakes and you will learn from them. But there are some that are easy to avoid. Giving your plants too much water is an obvious one. As seedlings they do need lots of TLC to grow, but as they begin to develop, their roots will do the work of sucking up any moisture.

It’s easy to get behind on garden tasks too, but it is important you keep on top of them. A few minutes every few days checking round is a good place to start. You can then make a checklist of what needs to be done and when and work your way through it.

You’ve been working hard to see your garden grow, but something is just not right. Even if you have been watering your plants at regular intervals, checking for bugs, and doing everything you can for your plant babies, it’s just not going as you expected. If something is going wrong, there’s some frequent mistake you’re not aware of. To help you figure out, here are some of the most common gardening mistakes people make.

  1. Overwatering

Often, overwatering can be just as bad as forgetting to water your plants completely. When you water your plants, remember to water the roots and not the leaves. Seedlings need plenty of water once they are planted, but after they have roots of their own, they will suck up the moisture from the soil.

Roots, like any other living organism, need air, and they breathe through the air pockets in the soil. If the air pockets are filled with water, your plants can drown. You should water your plants at regular intervals and increase the frequency gradually so that your plants can strengthen.

If you overwater a container, plants might turn yellow, leaves might drop, and your plants might look wilted and limp. If that’s the case, you might have to remove drowned plants and replace them with fresh ones.

  1. Climatic conditions

It is always good to start your garden after analysing the climate of the place where you intent to start the garden. This is because you can always be prepared with what to expect out of the climate and the garden.

Climate plays a very important role in the ripening of the plant. When we are starting our gardening journey, we tend to pick certain plants that cannot be grown in our climatic conditions. One should always ask for an expert’s opinion or research extensively to know what grows well in what climate.

Always check when plants or seeds need to be placed into the soil.

  1. Pruning you plants at the right time

Pruning is one of the most fundamental tasks in gardening, and knowing when to trim is as essential as knowing how. Pruning woody plants at the wrong time can interrupt bloom cycles and damage stressed plants.

When you prune plants at the wrong time the results can create highly undesirable results.  The right time to prune will depend on the type of plant, the desired outcome and the severity of the pruning needed. Pruning to remove damaged, dead or diseased parts can be done at any time of the year.

To get a healthy plant you need to get rid of the dead ends and give healthy stems a better chance at using the energy and giving fruitful results. Dead ends take energy from the plants that can otherwise be used by them.

  1. Keeping sun-loving plants in the shade

Another simply yet incredibly vital ingredient to growing healthy plants is the sun — and lots of it, too. Make sure you are aware of how much sunlight the flowers you plant need (as they tend to vary depending on what type they are).

Some plants need direct sunlight to bloom. Bougainvillaea, a sunstroke plant, needs to be planted in a direct sunlight patch to give you the beautiful result you want. The right amount of sunlight will nourish the plant.

  1. Give plants space

It can be easy to pack your plants into one small space, but they need plenty of room to grow and stretch their roots. Check to see how much space they need before you place them in the ground.

Space is yet another factor to consider when growing plants. Both the roots and foliage (leaves) need room to grow. Without enough room, plants can become stunted or too small. Overcrowded plants are also more likely to suffer from diseases since airflow may be limited.  Other diseases a plant might get can be transferred from one plant to another, thus ruining the entire bed.

  1. Planting pollinator-friendly plants

To enjoy a garden, you need pollinators along with the soil, the seed and the sun! Pollinators are essential to the reproduction of 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants. When selecting plants for your pollinator garden, skip imported, hybrid, and double-flowered varieties and choose native flowering plants instead, especially those adapted to your local climate and soil conditions.

Include a diverse array of flower colours, fragrances, heights, and shapes to attract different pollinator species. Bees, for example, have a preference for flowers in shades of blue, purple, white, and yellow. Butterflies are tired to red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple blooms. 

Plants need to pollinate in order to produce fruits and vegetables. If your garden doesn’t have flowers, it will not attract pollinators and thus, your plants will not be able to produce fruits and seeds to your liking.

  1. Preparing the garden bed

“Preparing garden bed” is all about preparing the soil for planting. Every gardener gets excited by the thought of finally getting her hands in the soil and planting out the newest plant acquisitions.  The joy of finally getting to see the garden come together in spring is certainly a rewarding experience.

Preparing the soil in your beds doesn’t have to be difficult, although it is great exercise.  Adding organic matter is the one thing that all soils can benefit from whether your soil is sand or clay based.  The addition of organic matter is beneficial, even if you are blessed with loam soil.

You need to prepare the garden beds and make the soil soft in order for the roots to grow deeply and strengthen the plant. If you fail to cultivate the soil thoroughly, the soil will turn rock solid at the deeper level and the roots of the plant will not be able to penetrate the soil, leaving your plant fragile.

  1. Watering from above

If you water your plant from above and not its roots, you are not giving your plant enough water. A shower from above is a great thing on a very sunny day, but plants need water in their roots to survive.

Plants don’t need daily watering. Instead, water deeply but less frequently. Deep waterings allow the water to seep beneath the roots, which encourages the roots to grow downward.

The truth is that plants don’t care much one way or the other about water on their leaves. They take up water through their roots, which are, though this seems almost too basic to mention, under the ground. Getting water down to the roots is the single most important thing you can do to keep your plants alive.

  1. Avoid fresh mulch

Mulch is the ultimate gardening time-saver, no matter if you’re tending to flower beds or vegetable gardens. And while mulching itself may be a pain, it reaps many rewards: When done properly, mulch cuts down on the time it takes to water, weed, and fight pests. All in all, this makes for healthier fruits, veggies, and flowers.

Using fresh woodchip mulch piled high and deep can hurt landscape plants. First, if fresh woodchips are applied directly in contact with the soil around the plant, it can cause a loss of nitrogen. The plants would typically receive this nitrogen from the soil.

Avoid applying fresh woodchips until they have aged for at least a few months You should avoid putting fresh mulch in your plants as fresh mulch has weed seeds in them. Keep the mulch out for a few months, give the weed time to grow and die, and then use the mulch. This will give your plant the nutrients of mulch without the fear of excessive weed.

  1. Using pesticides on the wrong day

Responsible pesticide use in gardens is important, regardless of whether you use a chemical form or a natural homemade combatant. The very fact that it is used to kill something means it requires respectful and smart handling. You should always dress protectively and follow the manufacturer’s instruction regarding mixing, application rates, and timing.

The best time to use a pesticide is when the soil is moderately dry and no rain is expected, on a cloudy day when temperatures are moderate. Never apply pesticide when there is wind to prevent the chemical from drifting to non-target areas.