Black thumb challenge

Generally, I'm pretty confident about my abilities in the 'crafty' (shudder - I hate that word! Can we come up with something better to mean the same thing??) or domestic domains. But when it comes to any sort of gardening, I fail miserably. I seem to be able to kill even the most hardy plants. But my track record isn't stopping me from trying to add a little life to my doorstop.

After looking at these sad, empty pots on my doorsteps all month, I had to do something.
FrontStepUrns

So off I went to my home improvement mecca of the day and pick up a few random plants. I don't get direct sunlight so my choices are somewhat limited.

Of course I had to make a mess in the installation
PlantMess

And finally I had a little life growing. Thankfully we've had a crazy amount of rain this week so I can report they are not only alive and well but thriving (so far). Wish these planties luck, they have the odds stacked against them.

UrnswithFlowers

Any other black thumbs out there? What plants and strategies have kept your plants alive?

28 comments:

  1. Lovely! I have a definite black thumb. This shall prove interesting as I really made an effort to weed, plant, and grow some stuff this Spring. I have great luck with petunias. You just water them, rip the dead flowers off, and they keep blooming. It's really hard to kill them. I should know.

    I started a (gulp) SMALL vegetable and herb garden last week. Too late for lettuce, but I got some tomatoe plants and thyme. I want to go back for rosemary and cat nip (an herb! who knew?) b/c I read that they are natural mosquito repellants and we have them in our yard so bad right now. Ick!!

    I don't know if I'll be able to grow anything or even keep them alive, but it's worth a try, huh? ;)

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  2. Those look fab! I tend to forget plants on my front steps need attention, so they get replaced a lot. . .

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  3. I have zero ability to keep anything alive in a pot. I AM able to keep ferns alive. They are completely boring and green, but the one I keep in my urn by the front door stays green and alive all summer. Good Luck!

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  4. Oh they look great. Totally thriving. I'm a black thumb as well. I try and try, but things never end up working out so at the moment the lawn is just plain boring! No helpful hints from me.

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  5. I can't say that I have a green thumb, but I've managed to keep our garden alive for a couple of years. I love your pots on your porch! I have always wanted to put two little Christmas type evergreen trees in planters, and have them flank my doorstep. I think evergreens are pretty easy to maintain, and love that they stay green throughout the winter when everything else is brown.

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  6. I had a black thumb until my genius, horticulture degree having mother shared a little secret with me: Miracle Grow potting soil. I didn't know one dirt could be so much better than another kind, but this stuff truly works wonders. I've killed many plants in the past, but this year I used it in every pot and my plants are so happy. I actually have a 3' tall pepper plant that is flourishing in a Rubbermaid tote, that's my proof that you can grow anything in the cheapest containers as long as you have the right soil.

    Also, it helps if the pots have adequate drainage and watering should ideally be done in the evening or early in the morning. From what I've been told, watering when the sun is shining somehow causes the roots to get too hot and that apparently damages the plant.

    Good luck with your potted plants, they look quite lovely.

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  7. I kill everything. I can't seem to find the perfect balance between not enough and too much water. It's so bad I have no desire to even try anymore. I will admire your lovely new additions from afar. They're beautiful!

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  8. My only strategy is if a plant is not doing well in the yard, I transplant it somewhere else and it usual solves the problem. I know herbs need a fair amount of sun, but you might try rosemary, it's like the weed of the herb world and would look great in pots.

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  9. It's sad to think of how many plants I've killed - usually through sheer ignorance. I stick to the very unkillable plants.

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  10. Miracle Grow potting soil and Miracle Grow Plant food. And water every day or every other day. Plants in pots dry out frequently. At the beginning, water every day. Later, check the soil with your finger and when it starts to feel dry - water again.

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  11. You know K is the gardener in our house but he's had good luck with a moisture meter (like a thermometer that you put in your potted plants to test the moisture of the soil.) It's also useful to know what type of soil your potted plants like (sandy, rich, etc.) -- all purpose potting soil only goes so far.

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  12. I haven't really tried keeping any plants alive before. The most I've done is kept some cut flowers in a little vase on my desk (and thankfully their eventual demise can't be attributed to me.) I think I'd like to give a little desk plant a try, though.

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  13. Nope no advice from me. I suck real bad too at anything that requires regular attention. But I too rock with the "crafty" (vomit word) and domestic duties too.
    I guess we can't be good at everything!!

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  14. So elegant and chic! I have a black thunb as well! We planted 2 peony bushes so cross your fingers and wish us luck!

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  15. My no-fail plants for containers are impatients and ivy. Also, like the previous people said, good soil and very good drainage are key. If you have good drainage it's practically impossible to over water. Miracle Grow plant food also gets a thumbs up from me.

    Your front step looks beautiful. Those urns are fab!

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  16. It's looking so good. I buy the easiest plants possible and pray.

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  17. My husband calls me a plant killer. Nowdays I am better. I make sure to buy plants that don't require too much light, and when I plant them, that they have a drain hole. I also ordered a basic book on plants from Amazon, that tells me the name of it, how much light and water it needs.

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  18. They look great, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that they live through the summer! My grandma always said talking nice to plants works- so maybe say hi to them when you are walking in the door. Maybe make sure no one is looking so they dont think you have totally lost it :)

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  19. Thank you for this post. I feel a lot better about myself now that I've heard I'm not the only one with a black thumb. In my records of killing every green living thing that comes into our home are orchids and even a cactus. Yes, I said it so you can feel a little better about not having killed a cactus like I have. Everything looks marvelous. Congrats.

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  20. miracle grow, drainage, lovely words, sunny spot all help to make plants happy campers. mint is amazing and can take over rapidly, but a sprig in ice tea or a drink always adds to the fun of saying, I "grew that" in my garden or my urn!
    They look lovely on your front steps.

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  21. I used to kill everything but I'm better now. My #1 tip to anyone is to know where you are planting it and whether it can take full sun/ partial sun or shade. Also in SC you have get plants that can withstand the heat. After that, water water water and miracle grow. My grandmother always says the tips to a good garden is good sun, good dirt and water.

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  22. Tried to leave a comment the other day but the blogosphere ate it. Here are my tips for successful containers:

    1. Deadhead - once flowers reach their peak, deadhead them. The plant will keep producing flowers that way. I deadhead my annuals almost every day, constantly removing dying flowers or ones that are just beginning to pass their prime. It is hard to remove a big pretty flower but when it starts to look a little old, it's time to go. Religious deadheading assures your annuals will keep flowering.

    2. Pick the right plant for your light. In shade, I would choose begonias or impatiens. Other stuff will probably be fine if there is a little light, but getting the right plant for the job is important. I have NO luck with geraniums. I find they always look dog-eared and half-dead and cannot get them to love me. I have great luck with most other things.

    3. Plant food: I give my babies Miracle Grow (I use the powder and mix into a big 5 gallon watering can since I have a LOT of containers) every couple of weeks. Some people do it more often, but i do when I think of it.

    4. Sun and water: Necessary for photosynthesis!! Just don't let them dry out. I water my south-facing flowers every couple of days. The north-facing ones get water when they dry out (every 3-4 days?) depending on the heat. Those 30C days mean you have to water almost every day.

    Good luck! Terri

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  23. Water & Miracle Grow! Small pots need watered twice a day during the heat of the season. Hope that black thumb turns green! :)

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  24. I am beginning my first gardening at our house. The one thing my mom taught me that seems to REALLY work and be true is.. use the Miracle Grow in the pellet shaker. Shake it on your plants and in her words, "they will TAKE OFF." And know what? Mom is RIGHT. I can't believe how nervous I was when I planted some Wave petunias last month. Compared to how HUGE they are now! And it's only June. I can't believe I'm (so far!) beating my own black thumb. Plus, the shaker food is less work than mixing powder.

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  25. I bought about 25-30 plants when I re-did my patio in my backyard- YOU CAN see it here at the bottom of MY HOME TOUR: http://madebygirl.blogspot.com/2008/04/glimpse-into-my-home.html
    and so far only 3 have dies. I think one died because it didnt have proper drainage and the others , I have no CLUE. It may take awhile, and some may die, but dont give up. YOu will get the hang of it. I notice that it is easy to learn the more plants you have...that way you get more practice.
    You got great advice here and I agree, Miracle Grow, proper drainage, and the right plants for that setting (shade or sunny).
    Good luck. :))))))

    Jen Ramos '100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More' www.madebygirl.com madebygirl.blogspot.com

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  26. The planters look great my dear - I do hope that your thumb turns green! Best of luck!!

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  27. I am garden challenged and my new favorite plant is the fern. Prefers shade and looks elegant and full anywhere. I now have a plethora!

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  28. I have a plant called "Crown of Thorns" at my house. They have a really green leaf and tiny little pink or red flowers. They have great color, and the best part - NO MAINTENANCE! I NEVER water these things. The little bit of rain they get seems to be enough.... they are always colorful and cheery. Perfect for a bunch of pots on a front stoop!

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