There are a number of ways to encourage your children to get involved in the garden, and choosing the right plants is one of the most effective. Flashy but high-maintenance plants like orchids or camellias can easily tempt kids, and while older kids and teens may be able to take on the added responsibility, younger kids may lose interest if they don’t get the results they expect.
Edible or flowering plants are always an excellent choice for gardening with children because they offer a substantial tangible reward – something yummy to eat, or something pretty to look at. But which ones are the easiest to grow?
Before we dig into our plant recommendations, there are two important things you should keep in mind when you head to your local garden center:
- Your climate. If you live in the deep south, a plant that prefers shade and cooler temperatures is unlikely to thrive. Use these maps to determine your hardiness zone, and choose plants that will prosper in your area.
- The age of your kids. Older children and teenagers can handle high-maintenance plants, but younger children are more likely to succeed with hardy plants that can stand to be a little mistreated.
With a bit of planning and research, you can avoid the disappointment of dead plants and enjoy colorful blossoms or a magnificent harvest throughout the summer.
So without further ado, let’s dig in!
Fruits & Vegetables
Edible plants are a great choice for gardening with kids. They’re more interesting (not to mention more delicious) than ferns or ornamental grasses, and they can also promote healthy eating habits.
Strawberries are basically candy, and anyone can grow them. They may be a sprawling plant, but they grow incredibly well in a Minigarden. Simply place your Minigarden in a sunny area and get planting!
Strawberries are also very healthy, so don’t be afraid to turn your helpers loose and let them pick and munch away.
A couple of tips for planting and growing lettuce:
- Loose leaf lettuces (as opposed to head lettuce), are better suited for container gardening systems like Minigarden.
- Choose a “cut and come again” variety of lettuce for repeat harvests.
- Lettuce likes regular shallow watering, so it makes a great plant for kids who need consistency in their routines.
Peas are incredibly easy to grow, and they stand up well to accidental overwatering. Combine their hardiness with Minigarden’s self-draining modules and you’ll be munching on peas all summer. Plus, the flowers are edible as well!
Cherry tomatoes ripen quicker than full-sized tomatoes, and like strawberries, they’re the perfect size for munching right off the vine. There are also a number of differently colored varieties available. Tomato salad, anyone?
Herbs are not only tasty, but they also offer lots of interesting textures, colors, and scents. Here are a few good varieties to grow with kids:
- Mint: Mint has a very distinctive (and delicious) smell, and there are a ton of varieties – you can even plant chocolate mint!
- Dill: If your kids like pickles, dill is an obvious choice for an herb garden. Plus, it has a cool texture that’s different from most leafy herbs.
- Thyme: Thyme is especially hardy, and it can be used in a lot of recipes if you’re also hoping to get your kids more involved in the kitchen.
- Chives: Chives have a unique and interesting grassy texture, and they produce edible blossoms that many children may enjoy.
Plants that produce colorful blooms are always popular with kids, so take your kids along on your next visit to your local nursery and let them pick their favorites.
Here are some of ours:
Nasturtiums come in bright colors, they’re very easy to grow, and they’re edible (so you don’t have to worry if your little ones get curious!). Plus, nasturtiums are popular with bees, which gives you an opportunity to teach your kids about pollination and food production – and maybe show them that bees are nothing to be afraid of after all.
Marigolds are also available in a variety of colors and sizes, and they may help deter unwanted pests like rabbits and squirrels.
Begonias have pretty blooms and showy leaves, and they’re often in bloom so you and your kids can enjoy them throughout the summer. They’re easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, so they’re perfect for Minigarden!
There are lots of great plants you can grow with your kids, and thanks to Minigarden, you don’t need to worry about overwatering. You don’t even need a yard – just grab your kids and head to your local garden center!