While traveling to their next destination, Ash and his friends decide to take a rest in a clearing in the forest. Ash decides to release his Pokémon to play, but the newly-evolved Bayleef unintentionally Tackles him, failing to understand that her increased size is a problem. Later, they play a fetching game; Bayleef, determined to win, uses her size to her advantage, knocking the other Pokémon away and easily winning. She then runs to Ash and again tackles him, accidentally sending Ash into a nearby stream. Ash is upset and scolds Bayleef, but Brock tells him that Bayleef only just evolved and it will take some time for her to control her power. At lunchtime, Bayleef tries calmly approaching Ash, but he misinterprets her intentions and tells her to stay away. Hurt by this, Bayleef runs off without anyone knowing. While they are eating, Misty notices that Bayleef is gone and tells Ash. Meanwhile, at the side of a river, Bayleef angrily kicks a rock towards some bushes, provoking a swarm of Beedrill. As she runs, she steps on a loose rock and falls into the river.
Later, an old woman, Haruno, with a Machoke notices an unconscious Bayleef on the shore and decides to take her in. Bayleef wakes up near a fireplace under a blanket. Haruno and her Machoke present Bayleef with a bowl of cream stew, which she enjoys. The old woman offers to help Bayleef find her Trainer, but Bayleef, believing that Ash no longer cares for her, refuses. The old woman says that Bayleef is welcome to stay with her and the other Pokémon living there, and she agrees to, just as a Bellossom and Skiploom enter the room. Bayleef proceeds to befriend Bellossom and Skiploom.
Ash begins searching for Bayleef, but he fails to understand why she ran away. Misty promptly tells Ash off for scolding Bayleef earlier. Just then, Pikachu gets a scent and the group follows it, only to find the place where Bayleef fell into the river. Ash is now overcome with guilt over how he treated Bayleef and becomes determined to save her. They walk further down the river and find a house. Ash calls at the door but receives no answer. The group then notices the old lady, her Pokemon and Ash's Bayleef playing in the gardens. Ash rushes towards Bayleef, but Skiploom Tackles Ash, preventing him from stepping on the flowers. The old woman informs the group that they are not in a public garden. Ash apologizes and explains that he was trying to find Bayleef. Ash begins to walk towards his Pokémon, but Bayleef rebuffs his apology by violently slapping his hand with her leaf.
Haruno introduces herself to the group and invites them for some tea. She suggests that the group stay over while Ash and Bayleef repair their friendship, and Ash accepts her hospitality. Misty and Brock notice the tea is particularly aromatic. Haruno explains that she and her Pokémon enjoy gardening and tending to the many herbs. Ash spots an opportunity, but Bayleef sees through his attempt to be likable and continues watering the flowers elsewhere. Brock tells Ash to stop chasing Bayleef around, and focus on bringing her to him. Misty suggests that Brock take his own advice when it comes to girls, and the barbed comment wounds Brock. Ash attempts to lure Bayleef with a plateful of fruit and a brush, but she simply ignores the bribes. As the Pokémon play with each other, Ash is feeling disappointed with himself. Haruno reassures Ash, and she likens friendship to growing a flower, which cheers him up.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket sits in a tree and they set their sights on stealing Haruno's Pokémon. James is keen to use the Pokemon to establish their own edible garden, but Jessie and Meowth dismiss the idea as too much work. The trio makes their presence known when they show up in a huge Bayleef robot. As everyone flees, Team Rocket replicates the Vine Whip attack to capture Skiploom, Bellossom, Pikachu, and Bayleef. Haruno pleads for her Pokémon to be returned, but Team Rocket are determined to make their getaway. The robo-Bayleef stand onto two legs and prepares to crush Haruno, luckily Machoke rescues the old woman from harm. Team Rocket rushes off with their catches, but Ash pursues them. He finds a path to higher ground, allowing him to jump onto the leaf of the robot's head. Team Rocket abruptly stops the robot in an attempt to throw Ash off, but Ash is instead thrown to the container where the stolen Pokémon are. Ash tries to break it and then pry the container out, but with no success. Ash begs Bayleef to help him out, but she still refuses. However, after Ash’s determination, she reconsiders and pries the container out by charging at it on one side, freeing the Pokémon. Ash has Pikachu and Bayleef work together to bring the robot down. Team Rocket tries to have the robot use Vine Whip again, but Bayleef cuts the vines with Razor Leaf. Pikachu then uses Thunderbolt, sending the trio blasting off.
Haruno gives her thanks, and Ash apologizes for causing her trouble. He then apologizes to Bayleef for being inconsiderate. Bayleef promptly starts to run to him, but then controls herself and lowers her head sadly to apologize for Tackling him before. Brock notes that Bayleef has learned some self-control, and Ash gets down on his knees and tells Bayleef that she should be proud of herself. Bayleef puts her front paws in Ash's hands but ends up mounting him. Everyone is surprised, and Brock tells Ash that Bayleef has just learned Body Slam. Ash congratulates Bayleef on her achievement, and the gang prepares to continue on to Olivine City and Ash's next Gym match.