10 Gardening Mistakes That Are Killing Your Plants

Gardening is a rewarding pastime that gets you out in the fresh air to cultivate beautiful greenery. But even those gifted with a green thumb can fumble from time to time—and that's when knowledge and persistence come into play. If you are feeling foiled by your foliage, check out these 10 common mistakes you may be making in your garden, and learn how to avoid them in the future.

Shady Situations

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Garden Sunlight

Take note of the way the sun falls on your garden throughout the day and be sure to plant light-loving varieties in the path of direct sun, while reserving darker spots for shade-loving plants.

Related: 12 Plants That Are Perfect for Window Boxes

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Aggressive Neighbors

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Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are varieties that grow quickly and spread rapidly, easily taking over your garden and yard in the process. While some of these aggressive plants—like ivy—can create beautiful chaos, other species can become hard-to-get-rid-of nuisances. Always research a plant's growing habits before you introduce it into your garden.

Related: Bad Neighbors: 11 Plant Pairs Never to Grow Side by Side

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Shoddy Soil

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Poor Soil

Any avid gardener will tell you that proper soil health is the key to success. Your soil’s pH level, mineral balance, density, and aeration should be monitored and maintained throughout the seasons.

Related: 10 Low-Cost Solutions for an Ugly Lawn

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Tight Spaces

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Garden Spacing

If you are starting from scratch, it can be tricky to space your seedlings properly. Research suggests that it's best to leave space between each species to avoid complications from overcrowding, such as bad air circulation, poor sun exposure, and the spread of diseases.

Related: 10 Foolproof Flowers Anyone Can Grow

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Poorly Timed Harvesting

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Harvest Calendar

Not picking vegetables when they are ready actually slows a plant’s production and annual yield. If you have a large garden, try staggering your planting. By making sure your entire crop doesn't ripen at the same time, you can be eating fresh veggies for weeks without waste.

Related: 10 Ways to Buy Your Garden on the Internet

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Skipping Mulch

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Mulch For Garden

Beginning gardeners often underutilize mulch. This organic material should be applied on top of soil to help retain water, protect the soil from the elements, and provide a habitat for beneficial organisms.

Related: 10 Ways to Weather-Proof Your Garden

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Poor Plant Picks

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Bad Plants

Attempting to grow plant varieties that are a bad match for your climate is like fighting a losing battle. Do a bit of research before selecting your plants to set yourself up for success.

Related: 25 Plants for Your Easiest Garden Ever

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Lack of Protection

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Protecting Garden

Wildlife and pets can wreak havoc on your garden if it is left exposed. Fences and chicken wire can help keep out pests like deer and raccoons, while buried barriers can ward off burrowing critters looking for a snack.

Related: 7 Ways to Buy Yourself a Green Thumb for Under $40

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Planting out of Season

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Gardening Off Season

While you may assume that spring is always the best time to start a garden, you should know that many plants thrive with summer or fall planting. Schedule your start dates to give every plant its best chance to succeed. 

Related: 8 No-Care Plants for Killer Curb Appeal in Every Season

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Watering Woes

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Watering Garden

Watering may seem like the most basic element of garden maintenance, yet it can be one of the trickiest—especially if your garden contains a mix of plants with different needs. Consider labeling plants in your garden and creating a watering schedule that can help you stay organized and prevent problems.

Related: 9 Clever Landscaping Hacks for Your Best-Ever Yard

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Gardening 101

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Gardening 101

Take that brown thumb and turn it green with these helpful tips. 

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