Plants require certain conditions to survive and grow. The basic requirements for plants include adequate amounts of sunlight, soil nutrients and moisture. Some plants survive with minimal amounts of these requirements, but few thrive and flourish where these necessary ingredients are absent. You can encourage healthy plants and increase plant growth by regulating their environments.
Test your soil to determine which nutrients are lacking. Perform a soil test to identify the proper actions required to increase the health of your specific type of soil. Purchase a test kit from your local university extension office or garden center. Follow the included instructions when performing the test.
Add nutrients to your soil to increase plant growth. Organic fertilizers, such as compost, increase soil porosity and soil nutrients. Plants suffer when their roots can't expand in hard and compact soils. Avoid this problem by breaking apart the soil with a good garden tiller and incorporating some compost. Loosen the top few inches of the soil and add the ingredients recommended in the results of your soil test. Mix the compost and soil additives into the existing garden soil with a rake or garden tiller.
Provide the essential nutrients required by individual plants for optimum growth. Select planting locations that provide adequate amounts of sunlight for vegetables and flowers. Choose shady locations for varieties that require limited amounts of sun, such as ferns. Water plants regularly to increase healthy growth.
Prune plants to increase healthy growth. Encourage new growth by removing dead branches and stems from trees, flowers and shrubs. Increase growth and production in vegetables by harvesting ripe produce in a timely manner. Do not allow vegetables to wither on the vine. Prune perennial plants and flower bulbs in the fall by removing all dormant top growth. This procedure encourages healthy, new growth in the spring. Remove flower buds the first season after planting shrubs and flowering trees to increase long-term performance.
Fertilize plants every year to maintain health. As plants grow and mature, they remove existing nutrients from the soil. Add a fertilizer formulated for use with your specific types of plants. Select from varieties intended for vegetables, fruit trees, evergreens or flowers. Follow all instructions on the fertilizer package.