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Home Gardening Tips and Tricks from Our Gardeners

Gardening at home is a great way to stay connected to nature. Whether you're caring for house plants or growing a garden outdoors in your yard or on your window sill, plants need a lot of tender loving care to grow healthy and to care for us and the environment. Our horticulturists plant millions of flowers and native plants each year in New York City, and they have a lot of advice to share for beginner and experienced gardeners alike!

Here are are some tips and tricks from our expert gardeners: 

House Plant Decor

Plant in groups of three; odd numbers look best in small spaces. When shopping for house plants at your local supermarket or grocery store, pay attention to the size on the label and design accordingly.

A tall Norfolk Island Pine in a pot stands among two other plants growing in pots on a shelf in a home.

Growing Native Plants in Your Garden

Due to climate change and development, habitats and food sources for bees and butterflies are in danger. Growing native plants in our gardens is the single most important strategy for increasing the abundance and diversity of beneficial insects. Help support your local wildlife by growing a pollinator garden. For outdoor containers, plant native perennials, which return every year, such as milkweed (shown in the image on the right), bee balm, and native grasses which are great for bees, butterflies, and moths. 

Window Box Beauty

Growing plants in window boxes will give you the feeling of gardening outdoors with the flexibility of caring for it indoors! Consider growing native plants to help support our pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Be sure to give the window box a good soaking after you plant in it.

A bee feasts on milkweed, clusters of light pink flowers, growing in a garden in the park.

Good Potting and Soil

For proper drainage, get a good, well-draining potting mix and make sure your pots have drainage holes. The best potting soils contain peat, sphagnum moss, perlite, and vermiculite. If you're looking for sustainable potting mix alternatives, try mixing your own soils using things like coco coir, perlite, leaf mold, or vermiculite and worm castings instead of peat moss!

Best Plants for Beginners

Sansevieria (shown in the image on the right), also called snake plant, is long-lived and hardy. It makes an excellent and forgiving starter plant. 

Image of Sansevieria, also known as snake plant, in a pot in a home. It looks like long thick green spikes growing in various directions.

Spring Outdoor Gardening Tips

Growing an outdoor garden? Learn when to plant, prune, and dig up annuals.

March

  • Prune roses when the forsythias (shown in the image on the right) are in bloom
  • Shear ornamental grasses 3-6 inches high. Be careful not to cut into the crown
  • Add compost to the soil as needed
  • Add fresh mulch up to 3 inches as needed; keep mulch away from the base of the plants

April - May

  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs, tubers (cannas, dahlias, gladiolus), and summer annuals after the last frost. Direct-sow annual seeds (sunflowers, cosmos)
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs (forsythia, lilacs) right after they've bloomed
  • Dig up tulip bulbs, treated as annuals, after flowering then compost or discard them. Move or divide daffodil and other perennial bulbs after the foliage turns brown
  • Clean up and discard dead plant material

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