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Keep killing the plants in your garden? What you’re doing wrong

The beautiful weather has you spending more time outside. Heck, you even have a farmer’s tan because of all the gardening you’re doing! But your plants keep dying on you and your family has dubbed you a plant killer. Here’s why your garden is suffering and what mistakes you’re making. Don’t worry – we’ll also tell you how to revive them! Make it a DIY or hire a landscaping expert!

Whether you’ve been gardening for 6 months or 6 years, killing a plant is bound to happen. In fact, it’s almost impossible. When Frank Ferragine – a.k.a. Frankie Flowers – spoke at the Canada Blooms flower expo in March, he told the audience: If you’ve ever gardened, you’ve killed a plant. For those didn’t raise their hands when asked who’s killed a plant, he jokingly referred to them as liars. There’s nothing wrong with it. And landscaping experts will attest that it’s common!

Here are the reasons why your garden and plants are dying long before their actual life cycle. Can you spot which of these mistakes you’re guilty of?



As a gardener, it’s your job to nurture the plants you bring into your home and outside in the garden. It’s natural that you’ll literally pour ever drop of water around the plant and over the soil to give it what it needs. But if your plants could talk, they would tell you to stop watering! Over-watering any house plant, garden or flower will drown the roots, which essentially kills the plant.

But is there a way to tell if you’ve over-watered? If you’re gardening outdoors, the soil should look wet, but not completely drenched to the point where you have puddles of water sitting overtop the soil, unable to filter through because it’s just too much. With house plants, if you tilt over the pot and enough water comes out that you can fill up a glass of dirty, brown water. This isn’t good for you and it isn’t good for your plant or garden.


Here are the telltale signs to look for when you haven’t watered your plants or garden enough:

  • Leaves are limp and wilted.
  • Flowers are faded and not blooming.
  • Leaf edges are brown and dry.

Here’s how you know you’ve watered too much:

  • Flowers are mouldy.
  • Leaves on the plant aren’t falling off.
This plant has seen better days!

This plant has seen better days!

I know, these tips look the same! But watering too much and not enough can actually cause the same problem! Gardening isn’t a science. It’s trial and error, so keep doing your best, adjusting the amount of water you’re using and keep trying.

And if you’re worried about if you’re watering at the wrong time, don’t be. Plants can be watered morning, afternoon and night. But not too late! Pouring water on your plants too late at night when the temperature is dropping will actually cause the plant to rot.

I didn’t say it was easy, but I did tell you how these tips would help! landscaping5


Now that you know you can over-water your plant, it’s no surprise that you can underwater it as well. Perhaps your fear of over-watering the plants and flowers are causing you to underwater them, or you simply forget! You won’t even realize you’re making this mistake until it’s too late – the plant’s already wilted, the flowers have lost their colour and are lifeless.

The best way to ensure your plants are getting the right amount of water is to make watering part of your daily routine. For example, if you’re spending the early evening cooking in the kitchen, be sure to take a break to water your indoor plants. When it comes to your outdoor plants and garden, do the same. Work it into your schedule and you’ll naturally remember to continue the process.

If you need help regulating how much water goes into your plants, why not consider purchasing an automated self-watering system? They can be purchased online or at your local hardware store. Take a look at how they work:

Is the temperature right?

Sigh, if only plants could talk. It’s not enough that you have to worry about over or underwatering, but now you have to make sure your plants are at the right temperature. It’s obvious that low temperatures and frost isn’t good for any plant or garden.

So how do you decide if your plants are warm or cool? (This mainly applies to house plants). If you’re cold, your plant is cold. If you’re warm, so is your plant. It’s that simple!

It’s too hot!landscaping7

Your plants can’t talk, but they show their true colours when they’re uncomfortably hot. Look out for these signs:

  • Wilting leaves.
  • Flowers fade.
  • Plant/flowers need water constantly (like humans, they dehydrate fast in the heat!).

Brr, it’s chilly!

Alternatively, your plants and garden can get too cold, which will hinder growth. Watch out for these signs:

  • Leaves curl.
  • Leaves fall off.
  • Plants are dead (especially if left outside int he winter).
  • Plants/flowers rarely need water but soil is damp.

While you can’t control the temperatures outside, you can control where you put your indoor plants in your house. Move them around and keep them in places where they won’t be too hot or cold. It’ll take some time to figure this out, but you’ll find what works best for your plants in your home.

Let there be light! (but not too much)

It’s obvious that plants need sunlight to grow big and strong. But in case you haven’t already learned, plants are finicky. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Leaving your plants in an abundance of sunlight will hinder its growth.

The fix? Don’t leave your plants in direct sunlight, for it will suffer from the equivalent of a sunburn. Test different locations in your home and you’ll quickly realize which area is best for your plant’s growth. This includes where your hanging and potted plants are placed outdoors. Have a landscaping expert walk around your place for a consultation. They can easily identify what plants go where!


Too much fertilizer

This mistake falls under the same category as over-watering. Plant and garden enthusiasts love their greenery so much that they want to shower them with as many nutrients as possible, but they get overfed and either grow distorted or die.

Thankfully, there is a VERY simple fix for this and it doesn’t involve trial and error. Read the instruction on the back of the fertilizing bag/container! It’s that simple. The directions will explain what is a healthy amount for your plants and garden. remember, less is more! Excessive amounts of fertilizer won’t make your plants grow bigger, better or faster.

Take a look at our guide for choosing the right growth for your garden!

Alas, here are all the tools you need to stop killing your plants and start enjoying the beautiful ambiance they’re supposed to offer you!


If you’re looking for tips on what kind of plants and flowers you want for your indoor and outdoor spaces, have a chat with one of our landscaping experts! We have a huge list of professionals to choose from.

Happy gardening!

More in Gardening

Canada Blooms: Frankie Flowers Talks Gardening Success

Garden Duty: Growing Concerns

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