I love plants, but keeping them alive isn’t exactly my forte. The other day one of my air plants died, and that’s a plant that gets a lot of its nutrients from the air.

I’m sure I’m not alone. Plants are surprisingly difficult to keep alive, according to Amy Enfield, horticulturist manager and instructor at Scotts Miracle-Gro. “The most common issue people have with keeping plants alive is much more basic than one task in particular,” Enfield says. “Most people have no idea what they need—soil, tools, plant food, etc.—or what plants will work best for them in their space.”

In addition to that, people have no idea how to properly space plants or choose correct container sizes, Enfield explains. Most of the plants you purchase at a nursery are small transplants or starter plants, so they’re not going to stay that size forever. Even routine maintenance is tricky, since both under-watering and over-watering can kill your plants.

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