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Apart from the old wives tale that if you pick dandelions you will wet the bed, what is the worst old wives tale or piece of mis-information you have heard of about plants and gardens?

star gaze lily

Don't know wether its true, but my mum wouldn't cut Lilac and have it indoors....she said it was unlucky


I've heard that about May, never about lilac.

I think you could blame the French for the dandelion thing...........pissenlit

Actually tho, I think it is supposed to have diuretic qualities isn't it ?  You probably have to eat plenty for it to have any effect tho

I also haven't  heard the Lilac one but had heard that lillies were only fit for a funereal flower ?


Ma used to worry when we brought lilac into the house - it grew wild around the farm so I'm afraid it didn't stop me picking it and bringing it in.  I am so definitely not superstitious!!!

The worst piece of mis-information about plants I know of is that myth that if a rose has more than 5 leaflets it's a sucker - so many wonderful species of roses have more than 5 leaflets - I've known someone destroy a wonderful rosa glauca that had been tenderly nurtured after the death of the gardener of the family as it was 'a sucker and would never come to anything!!!' 



Don't know if it's true or not but I was told if you planted wallflowers you introduced club root into the soil.

If you grow broad beans blackfly will invade. I know the delicious tasting tips can have blackfly but do they attract it ?

I knew that one about roses Dove. Is it true that suckers don't have thorns? If not that's another.

Good thread Artjak


philippa - yes lilies are traditionally used for funerals. It's why some people don't like them as gifts.

Sitting on stone walls gives you piles... not strictly gardening but a favourite of my Mum's! you have started something

I suppose to be fair tho, we ought to differentiate between Old Wives Tales ( in which I often think there is at least a grain of truth ) and basic mis information.......?

I'd class the Lilac, dandelion, Lilly thing in OWT but Dove's rose  myth I would call mis information ............what do others think ?


Interesting Edd, doubt you'll need a tin hat

If someone holds a buttercup under your chin and can see reflected colour you love butter, strange what pre-school kids did in my day

Fairy, yeah we were warned about piles lol.


Was told never to grow lupins, due to them always getting lupin aphid...huge great greenfly, only seen them once in a neighbours garden, but haven't dared grow lupins. p.s not afraid of them just didn't want pests.

FG..........stone walls = piles.........I've heard that one too - definitely mis information

Another classic was............Never go outside after you have just washed your hair otherwise you will catch cold............nothing to do with gardening but..........I dry my hair by standing in the wind ( saves on electric and therefore more power for raising plants propagator it DOES have a gardening theme after all)

 Edd............thanks............wonderful list  I confess I used to fall for the bean root/nitrogen thing when I first grew them.  

star gaze lily

Heard the one about May too. Also lillies at funerals but I love lillies.

My mum used to say the same about wet hair and damp grass gave you piles.

My nan used to cover mirrors in  thunder storms because of the lightning......


Having followed the thread about someone wishing to cut down a huge Yew tree, does anyone know why they are/ were so prevalent in Grave yards ?  Was it simply to produce a rather sombre atmosphere or was there another reason ?



Lots of superstition surrounds the growing of parsley, one states that it should only be sown "if a woman rules the household" another is transplanting parsley will bring bad luck to someone in your family.

Its probably linked to the fact that parsley can be tricky to germinate at the best of times and rarely survives transplanting.


My mum used to tell me that giving yellow roses as a gift was bad luck.

there's a tree you have to ask its permission before you cut it, can't quite remember which tree but think it begins with 's'. I'm sure someone will remind me...

I believe the prevalence of Yew trees in churchyards is because these trees were popular amongst pre-Christian religious groups and the church colonised the pre-Christian 'holy' grounds and built their churches there.

Edd, I was always told by my seriously gardening family that the reason for putting a few crocks in a pot was to create an arch over the drainage holes so that they didn't get blocked by compost; therefore allowing good drainage. It also explains why old broken flowerpots (with a curve) are the best things to use.

With urine and composting I have been told on my compost course that it is a good compost accelorator, but should be diluted; human urine is pretty strong stuff.

Edd............what a goodie you are...........thanks so much.......I knew about Yew being used for Bows so all those comments make sense..........and the cattle too. I just hadn't thought the whole thing through.

Really........thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail


Edd, I spent 75 hours last year talking to people about making compost at public events and can assure you that an awful lot of people do not understand the green/brown  (nitrogen/carbon) balance needed for a working compost heap so that compost acceloraters/ addition of scrunched up newspaper/diluted urine can all help