Gardening fails: 7 rookie gardening mistakes I’ve made


If you’re only starting out in gardening, you’re bound to make lots of mistakes. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, you’ll one day do something you probably shouldn’t have! In this blog I share the rookie gardening fails I made.

I’ve been gardening for a few years now, but I still don’t know everything there is to know.

I’ve written this blog for you, so you can learn for my mistakes.

Or if you’re a seasoned gardener and are reading this for some entertainment, have a laugh and count yourself lucky you haven’t experienced these gardening fails (or..have you?!).

7 rookie gardening fails I’ve made that you can avoid

Spraying weed killer instead of pesticide on your flowers

It’s so easy to pick up the wrong bottle and without realising until it’s too late, proceeding to kill your plant. 

Double check every bottle you pick up and make sure it’s what you need. Label all bottles that don’t have the original packaging label.  

Of all the gardening fails, this would be the most upsetting. There’s nothing worse than accidentally killing a plant especially one you’ve had for a long time.

Adding vinegar to hydrangeas

I bought a Hydrangea when it was in full bloom and blue. And for the next two years I was obsessed with trying to get it back to that blue colour, but I could only manage to get it to grow purple. 

Then I Googled ways to get your Hydrangea to become blue. The advice was to make sure the soil was acidic. Then I read advice about adding vinegar to the soil. 

So I added vinegar to the soil, and the next day the leaves were all drooping and I knew that I had killed the plant. Talk about gardening fails!

I tried to flush the soil with lots of water, but it didn’t help.

I threw out the Hydrangea (but I plan on buying a new one this year and not making the same mistake!).

Planting trees too close to the fence

When we first built our home and landscaped our garden, we decided to have a raised garden bed along the back fence. We planted trees in this raised garden bed, not thinking about having enough space between the tree and the fence.

While the trees have grown ok and are healthy, some of the branches have almost damaged the fence. 

And one of our neighbors complained about a tree whose roots were growing under the fence and into their yard. It caused a lot of tension between us and ultimately, we had the tree removed.

Gardening fails like this one can cause lots of problems especially if neighbors become involved. A bit of prior planning can save a lot of heartache.

gardening fails

Overwatering my indoor plants

I got over-excited about having indoor plants and wanted to water them every day. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that succulents don’t like a lot of water. And having them in a humid room like a bathroom, adds more moisture to the plant.

Gardening fails like this one are often better resolved by throwing out the overwatered plant but sometimes you can resurrect them if it’s in the early stages of overwatering.

I now have the opposite problem of forgetting to water them!

Planting new plants in the middle of summer

I really should stay away from nurseries during summer- I’m always tempted to buy something!

The problem with planting in summer is that young plants can’t survive extreme heat. It’s much better to save your money and wait until early spring.

Not tying my roses to stakes

If you live in a windy area, it’s important to tie your plants to stakes so that they don’t snap in the wind.

I have standard roses that I forgot to tie properly, and one of them unfortunately snapped. Luckily though, the stem had not snapped all the way through and I was able to tape it and it has survived. 

Gardening fails like this can be costly and frustrating. Windy weather isn’t a gardeners friend, that’s for sure.

Neglecting my garden through winter

When it’s cold and wet outside, it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything let alone go outside and maintain the garden.

In the past I used to ignore the garden and end up with an overgrown lawn and weeds that took a long time to pull out. We’d end up spending two weekends in spring trying to fix everything in the garden.

Now I spent a little bit of time every few weeks during winter, pulling out weeds. And when we have a dry week in winter, my husband mows the lawns. 

It’s much easier to maintain your garden during winter than to let it go and forget about it until spring.

One final word

These tips should give you a few ideas of what not to do when you first start out as a gardener. There are plenty of mistakes you will make in future, but it’s all part of the process of creating and maintaining a garden.

As long as you get enjoyment from being out in your garden, all the mistakes you make will be worth it.