10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

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How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

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Top Shade Perennials

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

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Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

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Guide to Succulents

Succulents are the perfect plant -- exotically shaped and so easy to care for! Here are important facts about succulents and how to grow succulents in your garden or on your patio, including tips on succulent soil and watering succulents.

What is a succulent?

Succulents are plants that come from arid areas that are able to retain water in their thick and fleshy leaves and stems. Succulents come in a seemingly endless selection of sizes, shapes, and colors, and can adapt to many different types of growing conditions.

When is a succulent not a succulent?

Sometimes, in the world of gardening, terminology can be a little messy. For example, any plant, usually from an arid climate, that has fleshy leaves and stems to store water is considered a succulent. This includes cacti, sedum, aloe, agave, echeveria, sempervivum, crassula, kalanchoe, and hundreds of other species. However, most gardeners use the term succulent to only include species with fleshy leaves. Any plant with spines is called a cactus, even though all of these plants fall under the succulent umbrella.

Succulent Soil and Succulent Watering

Unlike some other perennials, soil and watering requirements for succulents are less stringent. In fact, succulents thrive on a bit of neglect. 

Water: Succulents will not thrive if water-logged. Your best bet is to pot them in a container that offers good drainage, or pick a good spot in the garden that never gets wet. Water succulents about once a week during the growing season, but let them dry out completely between waterings and never get the soil soggy. If you live in a climate where the succulents go dormant during cooler weather, you can increase the amount of time between waterings. However, if your plants are indoors, you may need to maintain a consistent watering schedule.

Succulent soil: Whether you make your own succulent soil or buy pre-mixed versions, remember: Succulents need moisture but hate oversaturation. Choose a potting mix created specifically for succulents; if you don't have one, mix existing potting soil with sand or a handful of small pebbles or stones to create a more porous growing medium for your succulents.

How to Grow Succulents

In addition to proper succulent soil and good watering practices, succulents require two more things to survive: sun and fertilizer.
Sun: Succulents require at least 6–8 hours of full sun a day.
Fertilizer: Give succulents fertilizer in spring. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Once established, most succulents require almost no care, but a few taller varieties, such as 'Autumn Joy', need to be trimmed back in the fall or early spring.

Hardy vs. Tropical Succulents

Check the plant label before you add any succulents to your landscape. Some succulents are rock-solid landscape performers in northern gardens, while others prefer a warmer climate. Use tender succulents in frost-free regions or as houseplants during the winter.

Where to Use Succulents

Succulents attract gardener types because of their quirky good looks and flexibility in the garden. Succulents woo decorator types because of their interesting shapes, colors, and textures. Succulents are attractive to first time gardeners, too, because they are so easy to care for and look great with very little attention.

Containers: Succulents can live happily in the contained world of a low bowl or pot. The only requirement is that there are drainage holes in the container so water can drain away from the roots of these plants. Pack a variety of succulents together to make a mosaic of color.
See sensational succulent container garden plans.

Gardens: Succulents can solve problems in many landscapes. Use low-growing types such as 'Dragon's Blood' as a ground cover in sunny open areas. Some sedums can even take a little shade.
See easy-care sedums for your garden beds and borders.


Specialty Gardens: Small specimens can be used to make wreaths and are ideal for vertical gardens and green roofs.

Make a succulent in a frame.

Make a succulent wreath.

Get the top ten succulents for your home.

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