I’m sure there is now more false horticultural advice online than accurate information. I don’t want to seem mean, but that’s especially true of Pinterest and Facebook. Sometimes the suggestion is just so ridiculous you can’t imagine anyone following it (starting a rose cutting in a potato, placing little mirrors in the garden to scare away slugs, etc.), but apparently people do.
Before you waste your time, energy and money (yes, some homemade recipes are actually quite costly) on something that doesn’t work, why not check out the advice on a site you can trust?
I like to think I’m fairly careful in what I advise on the laidbackgardener.blog site, but I suspect the safest places would be sites run by botanical gardens, agricultural colleges and (in the US) cooperative extensions, sites where they’re used to researching things thoroughly. And I think I’m in love with Linda Chalker-Scott, whose Horticultural Myths page is wealth of carefully verified gardening information.
• Never trust a site that is selling you a product. Do read what it proposes (hey, it might be a great product!), but then check out the back story on a few other sites (never just one) that have no commercial interest in the product.
• Too many exclamation marks (!) is often a clue that the site is clueless!!!!!
• Sites with photos of plants in unlikely colors (true blue roses, different coloured tomatoes on the same plant, jet black strawberries, etc.) are likely to be lying to you.
• Sites not specialized in gardening (women’s magazines, for example) offering lists of gardening tips (10 ways of doing this, 15 of that, etc.) have probably never tested any of them. Most are likely going to be totally useless tips they’ve stolen from someone else’s equally untrustworthy site.
• Don’t trust hardiness zones on brand-new plants. If they’re new to the market, they will not have been tested. There was once a long-standing tradition that plants had to be thoroughly tested before they were launched, but I don’t think any nursery has done that in 20 years! They just hybridize new varieties and push them into production. You can try such plants (sometimes they’re hard terribly to resist!) but then consider yourself part of a vast experiment and be prepared to replace the dead ones.
Finally, any garden hack that sounds too good to be true probably is. Check it out before wasting your time on it … and risking your plants’ health to boot!