So here is an article that I borrowed from the 'Life On The Balcony' Blog. I am always trying to inspire and include my daughters to garden with me. and they do love it, for the first few days.... :) I am excited to try some of these ideas this spring with them. As always I look forward to hearing your ideas and feedback. Thanks - tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom) - Enjoy!
A Container Garden for Children and The Young At Heart
While growing vegetables is one way to teach children about nature and enchant them with gardening. It’s not the only way. If you’d like to add flowers to your children’s garden, you have come to the right post! Below you’ll find a container plan, as well as fun–and even weird–plants that kids will love.
The plan above is for a 48 inch planter box, though you could easily change it to fit a smaller planter box by reducing the number of plants. These plants need full sun.
- S – Sunflower
- P – Penstemon ‘Firecracker’
- E – Eyeball Plant
Sunflowers are a great plant for kids. They grow easily from seed, bees, butterflies, and birds love them, and with any luck, the flower will create the edible seeds that kids everywhere love to munch on. Look for a short variety, like Sunspot so the flowers will be within reach of your kids.
Firecracker Penstemon will attract hummingbirds, which are always fun to watch. The plant also provides an opportunity to learn about native plants and how Native Americans used them. For example, they used Penstemon in ceremonies, and looked for its blooms as a signal to stop planting melon seeds. If it is already past your last frost date, look for the plants in nurseries. But there is still time to sow Penstemon seeds outside if your last frost date is a few weeks away.
Eyeball Plant (Spilanthes oleracea) is just plain fun. The flowers look like little eyeballs, hence the name. The seeds germinate quickly, so they’ll keep kids interest while they wait for the odd flowers to appear.
More Fun Plants to Grow With Kids
- If you grow ‘Lemon Queen’ Sunflower, you can participate in the Great Sunflower Project and count the bees that you see visiting your plant. Kids can practice counting and adding (if they’re preschool or kindergarten age) and about conducting research and collecting data if they’re already in elementary school.
- Chocolate Flower smells like chocolate, and will attract butterflies. Fun on both counts!
- If you’d like to grow something indoors that will get your kids attention (I remember loving this plant as a kid), look for Sensitive Plant (or grow it from seed). When the leaves are touched, the plant quickly closes them up. This plant is only appropriate for children old enough to know not to eat it, as it’s poisonous if ingested.