Inside:  Misconceptions about gardening abound.  Having the perfect garden takes work but it is best not to go overboard even with the good stuff.  Research what your plants need and be careful about old wives tales.  *There are Amazon affiliate links at the end of this post.  If you click and buy I might make a small commission but at no cost to you.

There are many misconceptions about gardening.  Everyone wants a beautiful garden, but the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. You might be making some of these gardening mistakes without even realizing it! Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure your garden is one you can enjoy for years to come.

We will discuss some common misconceptions about gardening that may help you either get off to a great start or help you not make these mistakes next time.

1. Organic pesticides are safer than synthetic ones

For the sake of clarity, natural pesticides refer to products that are derived strictly from sources in nature with little to no chemical alteration.  Synthetic pesticides are products that are produced from chemical alteration.

There are many natural toxins that are often used in organic pesticides that are often still harmful to you and your crops. Many think it’s more eco-friendly and safe for the environment when they go with an all-natural approach to using pesticides; some naturally procured pesticides are deadlier or carry a higher risk than synthetic options.  There are some natural toxins that are hazardous to pets, people, frogs, and bees. Pesticides, when misused, are harmful, it doesn’t matter if they are natural or synthetic. Most pesticides can cause health compilations in animals and people.

In contrast, many synthetic pesticides have been developed for a specific species and are not as harmful to species that they do not target. This means you can use a pesticide to target just what is bothering your plants without harming other helpful insects such as bees.

Farmer spraying his field with herbicides.

Organic vs inorganic pesticides. They both can be bad.
Image by zefe wu from Pixabay


2. If A Little Water Is Good For The Plant, More Is Better

Misconceptions about gardening involve their need for water.  More is better is often the thinking.  However, overly wet soil that drains poorly will not be good for your plants. Giving your plants too much water can be just as harmful as not watering them enough. Overwatering can drown your plants and will kill them faster than under-watering will.

Too much water is bad for your plants because it causes the roots to suffocate and they will begin to rot. The water cuts off the air supply to the roots which is the number one cause of root rot.  Not only can it lead to root rot, but other diseases as well. It’s important to maintain a balance of water and sunlight to achieve the best produce from your garden.  Different plants need differing amounts of water.  Do your research and only give them the water they need.

3. Ants Will Eat Your Plants

Ants do not eat plants. There are many benefits to having ants in your garden. Ants help protect your garden from herbivores that may destroy your plants. They also play a role in seed dispersal. Ants are attracted to the nectar that is found on plant stems. Ants get rewarded for protecting your plants by receiving a rich food source. They also act as decomposers as they will feed on insects, organic waste, and other dead animals.  This scavenging behavior helps the decomposition process and this provides nitrogen that helps your plants thrive.

Ants on a plant.

Ants are not going to eat your plants.
Image by Sandeep Handa from Pixabay

4. Planting in rows is best is One of the Common Misconceptions about Gardening

While there are many benefits to planting in rows it may not be the best for your particular application. Planting in rows takes up a lot of space, restricting the number of things you can plant. Row planting can cause compacted soil from you walking across your garden.

Compacted soil causes less air to go to the soil.  Roots need air to breathe so that your plants can grow well.  Be careful and use raised rows when using this approach so that you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls. Make sure you are planting your seeds or seedling with enough space between them to allow them enough room to grow big and healthy.

There are several ways to get around row planting:

  • biointensive gardening uses the companion planting method where you grow companion plants together in a well-composted area;
  • square-foot gardening uses an area divided into equally sized raised bed squares typically 4 by 4 feet; one large plant or a few smaller plants are grown in each ‘square’
  • small-space gardening often uses containers which can be moved around and are perfect for apartments also
Vegetables in rows.

Planting in rows seems logical but is it always?
Image by Irina_kukuts from Pixabay

5. All New Trees Should Be Staked As Their Planted

Trees do not have to be staked unless there’s a reason to do so. If your tree is top-heavy or you live in a city with a lot of wind, you may need to stake your sapling while they are getting started. Allowing trees to move in the wind will help make their trunks stronger and thicker.

When trees are staked they may grow taller but their trunks may be weak and thin. If you unnecessarily stake your tree it can become dependant on the support. It may come to be dependent on the stake and may prevent the roots from becoming strong and healthy also. Take care when adding support to your trees and remove them as soon as your tree is strong enough to withstand the elements on its own.

There are many great reasons to plant trees on your property.  Adding fruit trees is an excellent way to get nutritious home-grown fruit and these trees will attract birds and bees to your garden.

Do you want to learn the steps to properly plant a tree on your property?  Follow these tree planting tips from ChopDoc and grab a copy of my Tree Planting Infographic through my free resource library and you’ll have a healthy new tree flourishing in your yard in no time.

A newly planted tree staked for support.

It may not be wise to stake a newly planted tree.
Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni LOVE PEACE 💛💙 from Pixabay

6. A Common Misconception about Gardening: You Should Water Your Plants Every Day In The Summer

During the Summer months, you will probably need to water your plants and trees more often. This being said you should educate yourself on how much water your particular plant needs to be healthy and strong. Under or overwatering can be detrimental to the health of your plant. Check the dryness of the soil before watering again to ensure that you are not overwatering your plants.

Child watering his garden.

You do not necessarily need to water your garden every day.
Image by vikvarga from Pixabay

7. Add Sand For Better And Easier To Use Clay Soil

Adding sand to clay soil tends to make it worse by making your soil into something similar to concrete. It turns the soil hard and will make the roots start to rot. Sand is one of the worst things to add to your clay mixture. To loosen heavy clay soil it’s best to use organic matter such as compost, manure, or peat moss. If there are no organic options that work for you, you can always grow your garden in raised beds to improve drainage.

Clay soil

Adding sand to clay soil does not make it better for growing.
Image by luciapcurto from Pixabay

8. You Don’t Need To Water Drought-Tolerant Plants

Overwatering is one misconception held by some gardeners. But it can also go the other way.  Although drought-tolerant plants can use less water than others, you still need to give them water. It’s important to water these plants until they get established. Drought tolerant plants are able to stay healthy through long periods of drought but, like most new plants, they need a consistent amount of water until they are established.

Cactus plants.

Even drought tolerant plants need water sometime.
Image by Christopher Willey from Pixabay


There are many misconceptions about gardening that can stop you from growing a productive and beautiful garden.  The gardening process can be daunting, especially when you don’t know what to expect or how to prepare for the task.  I hope I’ve helped to clear up these misconceptions and that you have a healthy beautiful garden. We have all made mistakes but we can all learn from them.  I hope these misconceptions about gardening prevent you from making the same mistakes. Happy Gardening.

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