Are You A Plant Hoarder - Top 10 Checklist Of Things To Watch Out For

Okay, it's no secret that gardeners love their plants. That's a given, and I'm one of them. But how do you know when this passion has gotten out of control? As we begin a new gardening season, it may be a good time to reevaluate your inventory and avoid becoming a PLANT HOARDER.

I've been gardening for nearly thirty years and plants are, by far, my favorite source of pleasure. They bring me happiness and provide instant relief when I'm overly stressed. I never considered that my love of plants could lead to trouble. How on earth could that be? There's nothing troubling about this pastime. Or is there?

Gardening, like many other hobbies, can become addictive - not that this is necessarily a bad thing (spoken by a tried and true plant junkie). When your favorite pastime begins taking over your life, you could have a problem, especially if passersby are mistaking your home for a plant nursery. So, could you be a plant hoarder? You might be plant hoarding and not even know it. Here are the top things to watch out for to find out:

  • Does your house become overrun with plants, taking up nearly every nook and cranny, including the kitchen table (who needs to eat there anyway?), when you bring them indoors for winter? Yep, that's definitely me! When you have too many plants inside, more than you have room to put them, you might be a plant hoarder.
  • Do you have more plants outside than you know what to do with? (Um, can you really have too many plants?) Are your garden beds overcrowded and out of control? Do you find it necessary to create additional garden beds throughout the landscape to make room for new plants? GUILTY! You might need to seek help.
  • Does the thought of giving away surplus plants or tossing them out (who does that), including weeds (these are plants too), make you feel anxious? When pruning, do you find it necessary to keep ALL the clippings? Perhaps you use cuttings to start new plants for yourself (because there's always room for more), or maybe you plan on selling them (so you can buy more plants) but then refuse to let go of them. If you find it difficult to part with plants, you may need to re-evaluate why.
  • When seed propagating, do you have a tendency to start far more plants than is necessary? Is your home, greenhouse and surrounding landscape overflowing with flats of seedlings? Do you have so many seeds and packets that you need a binder (well, yes, I do) or cabinet to hold them all? This may be problematic.
  • Are you overly obsessed with or possessive of your plants? If you get unusually upset when your beloved plants don't thrive, get knocked over, or someone touches them without your permission, there's another sign that you may just have an issue my friend!
  • Do you feel the need to buy plants EVERY TIME there's a sale? When nearly all the plant nurseries know you by name (local and online) or you're in the running for the MVP (Most Varied Plants) award in the neighborhood, it's a good sign you may be acquiring too many.
  • When you spend more money on plants and gardening than you should, you may have a problem. If you buy a plant simply because you want it without regard to whether or not it's even appropriate for your region, look out!
  • Do you stick plants in "holding" containers or other out-of-the-way places? Maybe you've convinced yourself that you'll find a spot for them later, only to forget about them (and then become inconsolable once you remember the near-dying plants). Yea, been there, done that too.
  • Do you continually talk about the plants in your life? When you cannot carry on a conversation without mentioning your plants, this could signal a problem. If you talk to your plants more than PEOPLE, you definitely have a problem. Talking to plants is something many gardeners do (I do it all the time), but carrying on long conversations with them may be a bit much.
  • If you treat your plants like they're your family, giving them more attention than the people in your life, you may need to consider joining Plants Anonymous. Gardening is great and all, but you still need to lead a normal life.
Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.