Gardening for Beginners 101

How to plan and start a garden. Growing a garden takes time and patience. Whether you're starting small with a container garden, graduating to a large in-ground garden or somewhere in between, Home Depot gives you the know-how to get you potting, planting, and growing!

How to Prepare Your Soil

Improve Your Soil

Having good soil is one of the most important factors in growing a healthy garden. Proper soil structure allows water and air to move through the soil and will enhance root growth and overall plant health.

Potting Mixes

These are made specifically for planting in containers. They are formulated with ingredients high in porosity to allow for increased air movement which prevent root rot and allow for healthy and strong root development. They also contain ingredients which provide greater moisture retention to help your plants retain water in between watering.

Soil Enhancers

These products will add vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to benefit not only the root structure, but the leaves, fruits and flowers of your plants.

Premium Garden Soils

Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil are made from ingredients specifically designed for in-ground gardening. This improves the existing soil so plants can build strong roots and produce bigger blooms or a more bountiful harvest. These are mixed 50/50 with your existing soil.

Top Soils

Top soils are low in nutritional value and are primarily used to fill large holes during landscaping.

How to Prepare Your Soil

How To Read Plant Tags and Other Gardening Tips

How To Read Plant Tags and Other Gardening Tips

Each plant, flower, tree, and shrub comes with its own plant tag, and those tags give you a lot of information — which can be overwhelming for any gardener. The Home Depot’s Plant Tag Library is a comprehensive but easy to understand tool designed to explain all of the content on your plant tag so you can correctly care for your plants.

Front of tag: Usually has plant’s common and scientific name, colour and close-up photo.

Back of tag: Contains more specific details using symbols & icons giving information such as:

  • Right amount of sunlight: Full sun, part shade, shade
  • Water requirements: frequent watering or drought tolerant
  • Bloom time: so you can mix a variety of plants to get constant
    blooming from early spring to late fall
  • Height and width: so you know where and how far apart to plant
  • Hardiness: will tell you how cold tolerant the plant is
  • Easy to follow step by step planting instructions
Easy to Read Tag Backs

Easy to Read Tag Backs

A. Variety Name

B. Blooms (when and how long your plants will bloom)

C. Height (how tall your plants will get once they are fully grown)

D. Space (how far apart you should plant this plant from other plants)

E. Hardiness (the lowest temperature that the plant can survive in)

F. Water (how often you should water your plant)

G. Planting Instructions (steps for planting your plants in the ground)

H. Miscellaneous Plant Information


Need to look up your plant’s information? Search by plant name, category, bloom colour and more using The Home Depot Garden Club.

Planting Tips:

Planting Tips

Step 1. Before planting—whenever possible—loosen soil to a depth of 12 inches and mix in Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil 50/50 with your existing soil. Dig a hole as deep as the plant’s container and 1 ½ to 3x as wide.

Step 2. Squeeze the container and gently tap it to remove the plant. Gently tease apart the roots with your fingers. If the root ball is tightly bound, cut into the root mass with a knife or trowel and loosen. Spread the roots in the planting hole.

Tip: To promote strong root development use Nature’s Care™ Organic Bone Meal or Miracle-Gro® Quickstart® when transplanting. Follow label instructions.

Fill the hole with garden soil. Lightly press the soil around the plant to ensure good contact between roots and soil. Water regularly every 2-3 days, until established.

How To Care For Your Plants - Watering, Mulching, Pruning



Plants need plant food in order to reach their full potential. There are 3 different types of plant foods available in the market: water soluble, granular and spikes. Water soluble plant foods come in either granular or liquid forms and feed immediately upon application. These plant foods feed instantly and need to be applied every 7-14 days during the growing season for best results. Granular plant foods such as Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘N Feed® and plant food spikes are slow release plant foods that can feed up to 3 months. They release nutrients throughout the season and only usually require 2 feedings per season.

Watering and Irrigation

Watering and Irrigation

Be sure to water plants deeply and thoroughly. The best way to know if your plants need water is to dig 2 inches down into the soil with your finger. If the soil is dry, it should be watered. Be careful not to water container plants too often. Containers should be dry to touch between watering, and should not sit in water.



Mulch helps your garden retain moisture and prevent weeds. Choose a mulch made from natural forest products like Scotts® Nature Scapes® Mulch. It will naturally degrade over time and add organic material to your soil.

Pests and Insects

Pests and Insects

Inspect your plants regularly for insects that can prey on your garden. Insects can create damage in a matter of days. When looking for insects be sure to inspect both the tops and bottoms of leaves as well as on the ground around the plant. Slugs and snails require moist conditions so they like dense growth such as hostas and ivy. Control slugs and snails with Scotts® EcoSense® Slug B Gon® Slug and Snail Bait. Aphids can distort or stunt growth and can also carry many plant diseases. Aphids can be controlled with an insecticidal soap, like Scotts® EcoSense® Bug B Gon® Insecticidal Soap. Insecticidal Soap kills insects on contact so be sure to cover all sides of the leaves. Re-apply every 2 weeks, until the problem is gone.



Pruning can be used to shape or manage plant growth, promote flowering or increase yields and maintain health by the removal of diseased or dead limbs. As a general rule, prune spring flowering shrubs after they bloom, and for shrubs that bloom later in the year, July onward, prune in early spring before plants start to actively grow. Removal of dead or damaged limbs can be done at any time. Always refer to plant tags or reference guides to determine proper pruning times by species.

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