How to keep a plant alive: Tips from Ms. Warner


Artwork by Elizabeth Campos (9)

Photo by Frida Capitán Parra

Want to find a way to reduce stress levels? Gardening is a great way to fight depression, reduce anxiety, and mitigate associated lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This spring, get in touch with mother earth with these plant care tips from Ms. Warner.


Good starter plants are ones that best fit your space. Ask yourself, do you have sun? Shade? Lots of water?  Working with native plants can save money, water, and time since they’re already adapted to the environment and require less maintenance. Plants native to Texas include Copper Canyon Daisy, Texas cornflower, mint and other herbs. Contrary to popular belief, fruits and vegetables are not as simple to grow as they seem.


The most common cause of death in plants is over watering. Usually, for fall gardens and vegetable gardens, you don’t have to water very often because it rains more in that time but if you have to water.  When working with plants, especially indoor ones, it’s important to keep the soil damp. A good way to check to see if you are watering deep is by sticking your finger about an inch deep in the soil.   


Like humans, plants need their vitamin D, set your plant near a sunny window. Plants adapt to their environment by turning their leaves and orienting themselves to the best place to get sun and warmth. Avoid moving your plant often as it might not be able to adapt so quickly each time.


Prune your plant regularly by trimming the dead bits to keep them from sucking the life out of the alive parts ultimately killing your plant. If you see that your attempts are in vain and that it’s still dying, just know that plants often wilt when being introduced to a new environment.   


“Fire ants love depleted soil where organisms don’t necessarily live, so you can introduce organic nematodes and they will eat the larva of the fire ants,” said Ms. Warner.

Aphids are another common thing you may find when starting your garden, but when trying to eliminate pests find their natural predators.

“Every once in awhile you have to put soapy water on a plant, but usually I don’t kill any of the insects,” Ms. Warner said.                                                       

Don’t feel discouraged if your garden doesn’t flourish right away. Every skill needs a little time to pick up and just know there’s no secret to maintaining a plant.

“You can just start planting and then that’s how you’ll learn.” Said, Ms. Warner,