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13 Common Gardening Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, According to Experts

All plant parents have the best intentions at heart. But gardening mishaps are all too common, and sometimes may seem inevitable. 

So, how can you avoid making these gardening mistakes? Experts share a few tips.

13 Common, But Avoidable Gardening Mistakes

Wrong Place, Wrong Plant

Shade-loving plants shouldn’t be placed in the sun. And sun-loving plants shouldn’t be placed in dark shade. Plant parents will know this, but this is still a very common gardening mistake. 

Obvious signs of distress are burnt leaves, yellowing, or weak growth. These will start to show if plants are installed in the wrong place. 

To avoid making this mistake, check hardiness zones and plant tags and pick plants that are well-suited to your climate. You can also analyze the shade and sun pattern of the area where you’d like the plant, along with soil type and moisture levels.

If you want to save yourself some time, do reach out to us for our plant installation services.

Over-pruning Shrubs

Overzealous gardening practices can cause over-pruning of shrubs. This makes your plant weak and more vulnerable to diseases. It also gives rise to a dead, twiggy center which can be hard to amend. 

Experts recommend starting with plants of the right size and then pruning delicately and selectively so that you leave some areas open to allow air flow.

Not Checking Soil Health

What feeds your plants lies way beyond the soil surface. To ensure your soil is healthy enough, conduct a basic soil test. 

Does it have sufficient pH levels and plant nutrients and minerals? If there are any deficiencies, amend the soil with top-grade organic fertilizers and compost.

To guarantee great soil health in the long term, avoid using leaf blowers on garden beds. Practices like these will strip the soil’s top layer, killing essential nutrients that help plants grow. You can use high-quality mulch instead, or a natural leaf letter below your trees and shrubs. Additionally, avoid using chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers. If used in excess or incorrectly, they can kill soil organisms.

Neglecting Weeds

This is yet another rookie mistake. Weeding is essential especially when live plants are young. Since weeds compete for nutrients and water in the soil, they may rob your plants of the same.

Experts say it’s best to weed by hand. This is because using herbicides can damage the other plants around, and damage the soil microorganisms too. 

A great way to decrease weed growth is to cover bare soil areas with bark mulch. Some more tips for effective weed control include letting sleeping weeds lie, weeding when the ground is wet, and more.

Being Overly Dependent on Pest Sprays

Don’t be quick to reach for those pest sprays. Instead, aim to raise healthy, strong plants that can do with a nibble or two. In addition to that, grow plants that can support beneficial insects and pollinators. For example, ladybugs make short work of aphids.


Another very common, but avoidable gardening mistake is overwatering. This is also linked to soil health. For instance, if your soil doesn’t drain easily, and you water your plants in excess, it can lead to plant death.

According to experts, overwatering can make plants overly dependent on water. This causes them to establish surface-level roots instead of deep ones. Although, it should be noted that plants do require frequent watering right after planting. Experts also recommend checking on plants regularly instead of just relying on irrigation systems.

If you’ve overwatered your indoor plant, you can still save it. Simply by wrapping a dry towel around the base of the plant and leaving it overnight, you can avoid any damage to your plant.


Common signs of underwatering include dry soil, drooping branches, and wilting leaves. Young plants and seedlings that are yet to establish roots are more vulnerable to getting dried out. Experts recommend watering them often.

Often, we may tend to water large trees for a few minutes, forgetting that trees do need a good soaking when it’s windy or hot. Instead, it’s recommended that we set a hose on a low dribble and move it all over the drip line of a tree for at least an hour.

If you need help with indoor plant care, fret not. We’ve got your back. You can first choose from our wide range of live plants and then we can closely work with you to figure out the best way to help them thrive in your space.

Planting Too Closely

If plants are placed too close together, they won’t get enough exposure to light. They won’t receive the air circulation they need to grow into their space. Additionally, overplanting can cause plant diseases and uneven growth.

The solution to this problem would be checking plant tags, and estimating for 3-5 years’ worth of growth for large plants.

Planting Too Far Apart

Planting too far apart can make weeds grow in between the gaps. Planting closer will prevent weeds from growing and help in keeping the soil cool too.

The solution for this mishap is the same as the point above. Check plant tags. Another solution would be to fill spaces with perennials and ground cover plants.

Mowing Lawns Too Short During Summer

Cutting grass too short in the summer can expose it to too much sunlight. This will naturally harm the grass. Plus, shorter grass will allot more energy toward growing blades rather than creating a deep root system. Which in turn weakens the blades, roots, grass, and overall structure of your lawn.

You can help grass survive the summer if you sharpen your mower blades, take care of fertilizing, and know when to water.  

Making Mulch Volcanoes

Mulching is great to keep weed growth under control. However, a pile of it (aka mulch volcanoes) can cover the natural tree flare. When this mulch volcano gets wet, the bark of your trees can decay, which in turn can expose it to diseases. 

To prevent your live plants from getting infected, maintain distance between the mulch and bark. This would mean keeping much pulled back from tree trunks, woody perennials, and shrubs.


Experts say that feeding your soil is better than feeding your plants. If you amend your planting beds with organic materials and compost before planting, you’ll not find it very necessary to use fertilizers.

Some usage of fertilizers is essential to helping plants grow. But over usage will do the opposite of helping them thrive. Especially if you’re using synthetic-based fertilizers. Over usage can give plant leaves or roots chemical “burns”, giving rise to plant diseases and killing soil microorganisms. Because nitrogen fertilizers seem to be used in excess - causing harmful effects to both water and soil - the government can aim to curb overfertilization in agriculture.

Leaving Trees Staked For Too Long

The whole idea behind planting with stakes is to help them grow straight. This might be essential for the first few years. After that, it is unnecessary for the tree. According to experts, leaving trees staked too long can cause stake ties to girdle a trunk, or interrupt the development of a sturdy trunk. The best way to go about this problem is to remove tree stakes after a year or two.

We hope you enjoy your gardening ventures, keeping these tips in mind! And remember, for all those live plant installation needs, we’re here.