Skip to main content

Instagram user @greenladymeg taught us these critical 4 horticulture lessons

One of the most rewarding parts of maintaining a garden is watching your fruits, flowers, and veggies grow from seedlings into their vibrant final forms. Currently on our radar for gardening tips and progress pics is Instagram user @greenladymeg, aka horticulturalist Megan Arnold from Adams County, PA located in Zone 6b. Arnold’s feed documents plant pictures and tips, broadly speaking, but you’ll find specific information about herbs, pansies, and pest management. Because Arnold is a plant grower at the Ashcombe garden center in Pennsylvania, we also get plenty of insight into her work there. Over the years, Arnold has doled out pretty helpful tips about gardening along with beautiful pictures — here are the best lessons from the @greenladymeg page!

Purple and blue pansies outdoors
Karen Cann / Unsplash

You can still have colorful plants in cold winter weather, though it might take a bit of work.

In this post, Arnold shares pictures of thriving pansies, germanders, cabbages, and kale heads in her front garden bed. According to her, pansies are pretty hardy — they won’t start to suffer until temperatures dip beneath 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The germanders, likewise, are hardy perennial herbs that function beautifully as border plants. But kale and cabbage, on the other hand, do require some elbow grease. For Arnold, the extra work comes from managing caterpillars, installing plant growth regulators, and providing supplemental calcium.

Winter doesn’t need to mean a barren garden with nary a green leaf in sight. To maintain a vibrant patio or yard during winter, select hardy, frost-tolerant perennial plants first and foremost — flowers and brassicas can especially thrive in cool weather. From there, take measures to protect your plants from the elements, whether it’s BT for pests or mulch for cold temperatures.

Your plant can survive even if you cut it down.

Arnold has shared her false banana plant’s (Ensente maurelii) journey throughout her Instagram feed. Here, she chronicles how she cut off the leaves of her large false banana plant and only left it with a few roots to overwinter it. After making the chops, she stored her plant’s bare root inside her attached garage, which stays above 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. When it warms up in late winter, she’ll place her plant in potting soil once more.

The lesson to be learned is that plants are pretty hardy — even if you cut them down to their roots, they’ll be able to bounce back. You certainly don’t need to cut as much as Arnold does, of course. If you notice a struggling plant at home, it can be helpful to prune it back so that it can push out bushier growth during the growing season. When cutting back a plant, you have the best shot of your plant surviving if you leave green stems and leaves on it so that it can photosynthesize properly.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Consider the temperature when you bring your seedlings out in the spring.

In this post, Arnold highlights her bountiful pink celery harvest, which turned out to be her best of this veggie yet. However, she does talk about exposing her seedlings to less than ideal temperatures earlier in the year, emphasizing the importance of a greenhouse for protecting vulnerable seedlings. If you’re not lucky enough to have a greenhouse, it may be best to keep veggie seedlings inside for a little longer until temperatures warm up. While they were stunted in the spring, the celery plants bounced back during the summer for a bountiful harvest.

Knowing when to bring seedlings out can be tricky, as temperatures fluctuate during the transitional period between winter and spring. Start your crops in late winter, just a few weeks before your area’s last frost date. If the temperatures aren’t yet ideal by the time your seedlings have grown, a greenhouse can be helpful. Likewise, you can harden off your plant by leaving it out for a few of the warmest hours of the day until the temperatures stabilize. Or, of course, you could simply leave your plant inside.

Annaev / Shutterstock

Wait for the right time to dig up your plants.

Here, Arnold spotlights her Manpukuji carrots, which she waited to harvest. Because her soil was dry, she avoided digging the carrots up until it started raining, as taking them out in dry soil could’ve broken them. Here, the lesson is that gardening patiently will save you time, energy, and heartache in the long run.

When you’re digging up root vegetables at home, it’s ideal to harvest after the rain so that the roots loosen up a little. You don’t want the soil to be soggy, which could make the process messy. But you also don’t want it to be so dry that you end up breaking your veggies. For root veggies, your soil should be loose and sandy in the first place, but a little moisture, whether from rain or watering, does make the extraction process easy.

For beautiful harvest and bloom images where you can see growing cycles progress, check out @greenladymeg on Instagram. You’ll be delighted by her striking images of fruits, veggies, and flowers while learning a few growing tips along the way. And hey, you can see for yourself how her false banana plant fares over time!

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
4 lessons we learned from Instagram user @urbanfarmstead
Cabbage crop with mulch

Ever had a question about designing a food garden or planting edible crops? You may have come across Kyle Hagerty, aka the owner of Urban Farmstead, while skimming through YouTube and Instagram. A professional firefighter by trade, Hagerty also produces highly detailed educational and instructive videos on YouTube about gardening while running his very own urban farm. His Instagram account (@urbanfarmstead) is also a treasure trove of advice—ahead, we’ve rounded up our favorite nuggets of wisdom from his archive!

When it comes to successful crops, it’s all about being proactive rather than reactive.
Based in Sacramento, Hagerty explains in this post that he first started prepping for California's heatwave and drought in the winter, keeping an eye out for heat-tolerant seeds. He planted seeds next to mature plants, which would provide the new crops with shade. He also installed drip irrigation early on for deep watering of roots and used organic fertilizers instead of chemical ones that cause growth spurts requiring lots of water.

Read more
5 lessons we learned from Instagram user @houseplantjournal
Alocasia leaves

Have you ever panicked over a yellow leaf or beat yourself up over a plant dying? It's time to follow @houseplantjournal on Instagram, stat! This popular plant account is run by Darryl Cheng, who's beloved for his even-keeled approach towards plant maintenance. House Plant Journal has been operating for a minute now: First on Tumblr, then on YouTube, and now on Instagram. Cheng's approach to plant care is a sensible and forgiving one—he views plants as dynamic living beings that interact with their environment and grow or struggle accordingly.

An engineer by trade, Cheng suggests that having a green thumb isn't so much about luck as it is about being observant with your plants and accepting their limitations. Known for time-lapse pictures of his plants, he offers tips on lighting, watering, and other general plant care tips based on detailed observations. So what are some of his best tips? We've gathered our favorite ones below! 

Read more
Our 10 favorite Instagram accounts for outdoor spaces
instagram inspiration

Instagram is a fantastic source of inspiration when it comes to everything from fashion to recipes. There are even accounts with stunning outdoor design ideas, landscape inspiration, and furniture suggestions to live your best life during the warmer seasons. It doesn't matter if you live in California, Wisconsin, or Maine -- creating a space outside to live and enjoy nature can improve parties and dinners and enhance your mental health. 

Get inspired to create your own outdoor haven with these fantastic Instagram accounts that regularly post new ways to enjoy the great outdoors. 
Landscapes WA
Based in western Australia, Landscapes WA posts gorgeous photos of patios, decks, and fireplaces that they have designed. The styles feature concrete, palm trees, gravel, sand, and geometric landscaping. Although they're on the opposite side of the world, many of us could benefit from a scroll through their feed. 

Read more