What is the deal with that “green thumb thing”?  Why is one person’s yard lush and the next yard struggling?  The secret to a green thumb is really very simple.  Just follow a few simple rules and your thumb, and yard, will be the greenest in the neighborhood. 

The secret is that your plants are really just like you and I.  They need the right amount of food and water, and the proper amount of light, to be happy and healthy. It may seem obvious but it is something that many gardeners neglect or take for granted. If you use these following few rules when it comes to water, food and light, people may ask the secret for your green thumb.   

RULE # 1:  Keep your plants well watered.  Most people know that plants need water but how much and when can be confusing.  Check out our “WATER WISE” article for more on this point.   

RULE # 2:  Feed your plants.  Just like people, your plants get hungry. Just like people, plants will be stronger and healthier on a good diet as opposed to a diet of junk food.  Many times people come to Branches with  concern about a plant that doesn’t seem healthy. One of the first questions I ask is, “How often have you fertilized this plant and what fertilizer did you use?” The answer I most often recieve is, “I haven’t fertilized.”  

The secret is that when you feed your plants you also need to feed the soil as well. Soils should be the primary provider of nutrients to your plants, but they need help in order to provide enough for your plants to thrive. The best way to do this is with organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers help to nourish the soil and the living organisms in the soil as well as feeding the plant.  Healthy soil will produce healthy, strong plants, every time.  Chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, may give plants a 'hyper' boost but they do not feed the soil. Strong, sustained growth with an organic fertilizer is best. 

RULE # 3:   Always be thinking…location, location, location.   The third element for plant success is proper sunlight.  A simple way to find out whether a plant likes sun, shade or a mixture of both is to check the tag when you are at the garden center. The best way is to ask a garden professional as they can give you specific instructions one what light you need before you plant. 

Have you already planted?  Here is how to tell if a plant is getting too little or too much sun. Sun lovers who don’t get enough sun will produce tall spindly plants that are pale. Too much sun on shade lovers will burn or bleach out the plant and cause excess wilting.  If you notice that a plant is falling into one of these two categories just remember- small to medium plants can be moved if needed to a place where the sunlight will make them happy!

Do these three things and you will have your very own ‘Green Thumb’!