Green Thumb (have a)

Also: Green Fingers (UK)

Meaning of Idiom ‘Green Thumb’

To have a green thumb means to have a special skill for gardening and the ability to make plants grow well.


While the UK version, green fingers is plural, the American version tends to be used in the singular. However, green thumbs can be used without changing the meaning.

As well, the adjective forms green-fingered and green-thumbed are possible.

Green thumb idiom meaning

Examples of Use

“Lucy’s garden is always so beautiful. She really has a green thumb.”

“I’ve tried gardening but the plants always die. I guess I’ve never had much of a green thumb.”

“You are not born with a green thumb,” said Mr. Hale, “it takes practice to be a great gardener, just like anything else.”


Dating from the early 1900s, green thumb is thought to allude to the stained fingers of dedicated gardeners. It is probable that the idiom once referred to someone who enjoys gardening but today it has evolved to have a more specific meaning, someone who has a special skill at horticulture.

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