In plain ole every day terms, a person who is a skilled gardener has a “green thumb” .
The seedlings that they plant with loving care…grow! They don’t wilt down two days after being replanted, never to raise their heads again. Mr/Mrs.Green Thumb can buy (or be given) the worst looking plant in the nursery, the one that was on the dead plant pile, and nurse it back to life. There’s magic in them fingers!
On the other hand, there are people who were born with a “brown thumb” and are not good at handling (or growing) plants. They try everything, follow all directions and feel in their hearts that "my plants will grow this year!" This person should NEVER buy or be given any living greenery; flowers, trees, shrubs or ground cover. It won’t grow! It will wilt, turn brown, mold, and end up where no plant wants to be…in the garbage can with the dead grass, moldy flowers and a few scrubby dandelions.
SHE had the magical green thumb….she raised African violets by the dozen…pink ones, blue ones, double ones, single ones and they were all beautiful and healthy. They were in her front window, in the kitchen window, the bathroom window and on the porch…all blooming like crazy. Oh yes, she also grew Christmas cactus that actually bloomed every year. Another one of my disappointments.
My failure with the African Violets, I was told, is that I watered them too much and got water on their leaves. Well, excuse me! If the forebearers of those African violets lived outdoors anytime in their history, they would have gotten water on their leaves. It rains almost everywhere at one time or another. Unless Africa was one big dry greenhouse.
But no matter how many I managed to overwater, underwater or allow to shrink away, she always tried again. As for the Christmas cactus, I followed the instructions that I was given…."keep them in a dark place for several weeks and they would start to put on blooms".