How to Care for Garden Plants


Designing and planting a garden provides great satisfaction. The maintenance of garden plants involves a commitment to providing basic care to promote healthy growth and vigor in the garden. Caring for garden plants begins with providing an excellent base soil for plants to thrive. Learning proper watering techniques, pruning plants, and providing the correct growing conditions ensure a long life for each garden plant.

Step 1

Obtain a soil analysis to determine exactly what the soil lacks in nutrients to sustain plants. Always incorporate rich organic material such as compost, manure or humus into the planting bed before installation of any plants. Tilling the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches ensures blending of organic additives.

Step 2

Place plants in the correct location. Read the plant labels and follow the instructions carefully--each plant has basic requirements for sunlight, soil and moisture. Recheck the status of your gardens from year to year to determine if light availability changes due to maturing trees or newly added landscape structures.

Step 3

Mulch yearly to restrict weed growth and conserve moisture.

Step 4

Prune garden plants as needed to maintain appearances and for optimum plant health. Remove spent flower blooms from annuals and perennials. Clip back dying branches of shrubs and perennial flowers as soon as you notice them.

Step 5

Water each plant individually and deeply to promote healthy roots. Use a soaker or trickle hose to place water right around the base of each plant. Allow it to absorb into the soil.

Step 6

Fertilize with the correct type of fertilizer at the proper time each year. Resist the convenience of applying all-purpose fertilizer and check out each plant's individual needs. Avoid exposing foliage to fertilizer of any type to limit burning and curling of leaves.

Step 7

Remove weeds regularly to limit competition between ornamental and nuisance plants. Weeds absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil. Conduct weed removal each week to stay ahead of these annoying plants and to maintain the healthy look of your landscape.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Pruning clippers
  • Garden hose and water
  • Fertilizer


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Lawn and Garden Care
  • Utah State University: Preparing and Improving Garden Soil

Who Can Help

  • Home Gardening Tips from Cornell University
Keywords: outdoor plant care, garden care, caring for gardens

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.