When you first start dipping your toes into the magical world of plants, it’s tempting to buy so many flats of annuals and perennials, put them in the ground, and just hope for the best. But hold up: If you don’t have the right tools to take care of them, it won’t be long before your garden starts to look really sad.
Whether you have a green thumb or not, experts always recommend putting together a gardening starter kit that’s filled with all the tools and products you’ll need to help your garden grow. From a trowel to snips, these are the things no plant lover should ever go without.
How to buy a gardening starter kit
1. Fertilizer: SUPERthrive Plant Food for All Plants, $25
Sometimes your plants need an extra boost, and that’s why Nick Cutsumpas, the plant coach and urban farmer behind Farmer Nick, always recommends keeping a fertilizer on hand. “Plants need to eat, and a good fertilizer is essential to support your plants during the key growing seasons of spring and summer,” he says. “SUPERthrive is one of the best NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) fertilizers out there, and it’s saved many plants in my collection.”
2. Trowel: Fiskars Big Grip Trowel, $11
The second you begin your plant lady journey, buy yourself a trowel. “Even if you own just one plant, you’ll need that trowel for repotting and moving around soil,” says Rachel Mayo, the plant expert behind @growinthelight. “As your plant collection grows, you’ll find that you use it more and more.”
3. Pruning shears: Mr. Pen Pruning Shears, $10
Mayo always has garden shears or pruning scissors on hand to ensure her indoor jungle keeps thriving. “Simply put, you’ll need them for removing dead stems or leaves, which allows for new growth,” she says. “When I prune my plants, they grow bigger and faster. It’s similar to trimming the dead ends on your hair to allow it to flourish.”
4. Snips: Gonicc Micro-Tip Pruning Snip, $20
Snips are essentially smaller and sharper garden scissors, and they’re a gardening starter kit must-have because of how great they are at making super-precise cuts. “They’re good for propagating, while shears are larger and better suited for pruning back unruly branches, stems, and leaves,” says Cutsumpas.
5. Spray bottle: Sally’s Organics Amber Glass Spray Bottle, $20 for 2
Sometimes indoor plants can be a little high-maintenance (looking at you, fiddle leaf fig!), and that’s where something as simple as a spray bottle comes in handy. “I keep a glass spray bottle filled with water and essential oils so that I can mist my plants daily,” Mayo says. “I sometimes even spray them twice daily.” A true plant mom indeed.
6. Lava rocks: Hoffman Volcanic Lava Rock, $13
Lava rocks are great for any pots (indoor or outdoor) you have without drainage holes. “Adding a 1- to 2-inch layer of these porous stones will reduce the risk of overwatering and root rot,” Cutsumpas says. “I even use them in pots with drainage holes to ensure that the soil doesn’t have any blockages.”