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WORDS: EDITORIAL TEAM IMAGES: SUPLLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK

Not everyone is blessed with green fingers. But just because your mere gaze turns a can’t-die plant into a withering heap of leaves, doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden to be proud of. To that end, the whiz team at Lifestyle Home Garden gives some advice.

You shouldn’t water your plants at night

This one is… TRUE

Watering during the cooler periods of the day is best – whether that be at dawn or dusk, when the sun is not too hot. This allows water to be absorbed at a more efficient rate, as opposed to evaporating too quickly. Watering in the heat of the day is also not ideal, as when the soil is hot, water can easily become heated and damage plants around it. Watering too late at night is, however, not recommended, as soil and leaves don’t have time to dry off, and this may result in fungal diseases developing.

Beer is a good way of getting rid of slugs

This one is… TRUE

Beer is as tempting to our slimy friends in the garden as has always been believed – they’re drawn in by the smell and will drown in small dishes of beer buried at soil-level near the plants affected. We’re unsure if they prefer stout or pale ale, but we do know this is definitely no myth!

You don’t need to water drought-tolerant plants

This one is… FALSE

Even drought-tolerant plants require water, but far less of it. Water them in seasons when there’s no rain, and during rainy periods avoid giving them additional water. “Drought tolerant” simply implies that the plant can go for lengthier periods of time holding onto its own water supply. These plants usually store water in their leaves, stems or roots and are able to withstand heat and drought far easier than plants that are not waterwise.

Gravel at the bottom of a container aids drainage

This one is… TRUE

Gravel or broken pot shards create an aerated space at the bottom of pots where soil cannot sit and remain water-logged. It’s common practice to place gravel, pebbles or stones into pots to lead excess water away from soil which may have received too much water. This effectively prevents roots in the pot from becoming water-logged and rotting. Another hint is to put sponges in the bottom, which adversely, helps to absorb and hold on to water, effectively keeping the plant moist.

Bonemeal and compost are essential when planting

This one is… TRUE

Adding bonemeal as a way of introducing phosphorous is an excellent idea to promote root formation in new plants. Adding compost, manure, rotted organic materials and other natural matter is a great way of increasing soil organisms and microbes, ultimately improving soil health. Adding this duo when preparing soil for planting is the best way to proactively work towards healthier soil and plants.

Indoor plants need direct sunlight

This one is… FALSE

Indoor plants benefit from indirect bright light, but direct sunlight will scorch and burn them. Most indoor plants herald from more sheltered jungle-type environments – under the canopies of trees in forests. So, emulate that environment to the best of your ability by placing them near windows but not where they will get burnt.

Natural is better

This one is… TRUE

In all regards, using organic, natural, heirloom, non-synthetic, indigenous… anything natural is a better solution. Nature will respond better to what is natural in every respect. Plants and seeds produced from heirloom seeds will display the same characteristics as the parent plant, whereas hybrids have been cross-pollinated and may produce sterile seed or revert back to one of the parent plants. Organic pesticides will do their job, but without killing beneficial insects in the process and without doing further harm to the environment. Natural is always better.