Keeping plants alive... - Knowledgebase Question

Parrish, Al
Question by Butterfly207
March 19, 2010
I cannot keep any kind of plants alive for anything.
Last year my hubby bought my a Bonsai Tree, it died. This year he bought me a bougainvillea and it lived for about a week.
I have even killed Hosta's and Cactus's!!! What am doing wrong? Or what am I not doing? I love plants and would love to have a green thumb like my Mom but I definitely don't... HELP ME PLEASE!!!


Answer from NGA
March 19, 2010


I think you must hold a record if you managed to kill a bougainvillea in only one week! Let's see if we can't help you out here. First of all, every plant has a preference for a certain exposure to sunshine. If you put a shade lover such as a hosta in full sunshine, it will die in no time at all. The opposite is true for sun lovers - if you put them in the shade, they won't live very long. A second problem you might be having with your plants is watering - either over or under watering. Some plants like moist soils (hostas) and some like soils on the dry side (cactus and bougainvillea). So the key to keeping your plants alive is to give them the sunshine or shade they require and water regularly, but not too much. The good news is that most plants come with tags that outline their growing requirements. But even if you get a gift plant with no tag, you can always have it identified by nursery staff and then look it up on the internet. I think your mom earned her green thumb through experience with plants. All you need to do to develop your own green thumb is to provide the plants with their basic requirements. Keep notes if you have to! Best wishes with your future plants!

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