Gardening Is Good For You And Good For The Planet
Whether you’re attempting to reconnect with nature, trying to freshen up your home, or just looking for a new hobby, gardening is surely near the top of your list? Now more than ever we need as many plants as possible, as greenspace is eaten up with industrial sites and new homes.
Whatever we can plant is good for the planet and good for us, physically AND emotionally!
When starting out, things might seem a little bit daunting, so we’ve put together a guide, laying out the ten best plants for beginner gardeners, so that anyone can have green fingers, no matter their skill set.
Plants, as well as the materials and tools needed to tend and care for them, can quickly become costly, especially if you’re not sure what to look for.
If you don’t want to waste your time or your money on hard to care for plants, yet still achieve the flourishing botanical paradise of your dreams, read on for a rundown of the best plants on the market for beginner gardeners.
Best Plants For Beginner Gardeners
Snake plants are by far one of the most suitable plants for beginners. Not only are snake plants easy to look after, but they also have an amazing amount of health benefits. Snake plants can absorb harmful toxins and help to tackle some airborne allergies.
Snake plants thrive in bright, indirect light. If you’ve not got many bright areas in your home, that’s fine! These hardy plants can also grow in the shady areas of your home too, they’ll just grow a little slower. They typically grow to be around 4 to 6 inches tall.
Snake plants are happiest with a free-draining soil mix, in order to avoid rot. Preventing rot also means allowing the water to drain properly from the soil, so bottom-watering can be best for these plants.
- Drought resistant – they can survive without a lot of water
- Flexible lighting – they can tolerate low light
- Improves air quality – absorbs harmful toxins
- Snake plants are prone to rot
Sunflowers are also often a popular choice for beginners, to no surprise; they come in a variety of colors, they’re easy to care for and they can range anywhere between 5 feet and 12 feet tall!
Sunflower seeds are edible and can be used as sources of protein, iron, and calcium, as well as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin E.
If you’re a fan of insects and wildlife, you’re in luck! Not only can they improve your health, but they also improve the health of other plants! Sunflowers are pollinator-friendly and will draw butterflies and bees to your garden, helping to pollinate other plants.
Birds also really love to eat the dried seeds near the end of the season. These easy-to-care-for flowers can brighten any garden!
- Versatile – they look nice, but their seeds can be edible too!
- Pollinator friendly – natural pollinators such as bees can encourage growth in the rest of your garden
- Sunflower seeds prevent weeds
- Can affect the growth of other plants
All beginners will get along well with a pothos plant, also known as devil’s ivy, as it is close to impossible to kill.
Capable of growing up to a staggering 66 feet tall, Pothos enjoy low-light and they don’t need the same level of care as other plants Their heart-shaped leaves give them a unique but elegant appearance, sure to impress any visitors.
Interestingly, pothos stays green, even if they have been kept in the dark. They thrive indoors but can be grown outside in shady areas. Pothos has been found to absorb harmful toxins like formaldehyde from the air, as well as eliminating odors.
You don’t need to worry about forgetting to water your pothos, as they only need to be watered once within 1 to 2 weeks.
- Air-purifying – pothos are known to absorb harmful toxins
- Fresh home – pothos can eliminate odours, meaning a fresh, nice smelling home!
- Low maintenance – pothos require very little watering and can survive if forgotten about for a week or two
- Poisonous if ingested and can be irritant to the skin if touched
Although Bromeliads might look difficult to take care of due to their intricate appearance, they are surprisingly low maintenance.
Bromeliads can vary in form and color. They need medium to bright light as indoor plants, and only need to be watered once every week or so. Bromeliads can also be grown outside and will be healthy and thriving all year long in tropical climates.
- Exotic look, uniquely shaped with bright colors
- Night time purifiers, most common house plants oxygenate during the day, combining Bromeliads with foliage plants can provide round the clock oxygenation.
- Drought resistance, watering once a week is sufficient.
- Hard water can cause damage
Succulents come in a wide variety and are notorious for being easy to look after. Most succulents need at least half a day of sunlight, but they may occasionally need some shade if they are in extremely hot areas.
Succulents are drought-resistant and are adapted to living in dry environments, as they store large amounts of water, which is why they have a fleshy, swollen appearance.
- Less frequent watering – succulents benefit from sporadic watering
- Can adapt to high temperatures, ideal for direct light through glass
- Fast reproductive cycle, enabling you to expand your garden!
- Suffers in cold conditions
Marigolds come in a wide variety of colors and can be used to brighten up any garden. Growing marigolds in your garden repel insects that might otherwise eat your other plants, and can also be shown to reduce the growth of weeds. Marigolds will grow in a range of conditions and soil types.
The most important thing marigolds need in order to bloom beautifully is plenty of sunlight. Marigolds only need to be watered once a week unless the weather is particularly dry for your climate.
- Can help repel pests and weeds, chemicals produced in the roots and stem may deter nematodes and other pests
- Attracts beneficial insects to your garden, such as bees and hoverflies
- Vibrant colors, orange, yellow, red, mahogany, or combinations
- Attracts slugs
Zucchini is potentially one of the easiest vegetables to grow, whilst also being super good for you! Zucchini plants can keep producing into the late summer when continuously harvested.
Zucchini can grow up to 3 feet in length, however are normally harvested at 6 to 8 inches.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals, high in fiber and low in calories
- Highly productive, you’ll be able to harvest into late summer if you keep picking
- Can be grown in pots or gardens, great if you don’t have a large garden
- Needs consistent watering to avoid blossom end rot
Spider plants, also known as spider ivy or ribbon plant, are commonly considered one of the easiest air-purifying plants to grow.
Spider plants can tolerate low-light conditions but do best in bright, indirect light. Their soil needs to be kept slightly moist, meaning that they only need to be watered once a week in spring and summer, and even less often during winter.
- Can grow in low light, great for office spaces
- Air-purifying, removes harmful toxins and bad odours
- Almost impossible to kill, if planted in a pot with drainage holes
- slightly hallucinogenic to cats
Radishes are not only great to add to your salad, but also an extremely easy vegetable to grow! With a short time between planting and harvesting, you can enjoy your very own, homegrown radishes in no time.
Radishes come in a variety of colors, flavors, and sizes. They only need a small amount of space, so despite being primarily outdoor plants, it is possible to grow them indoors too.
Radishes like a lot of moisture, so watering little and often is the key to keeping this plant happy. They suffer from very few pests and diseases, meaning less stress and expense on pesticides.
- Super easy! One of, if not the easiest vegetables to grow
- Cost effective – very cheap seeds mean that they can be replanted and harvested in no time
- You need to sow seeds regularly
When first delving into gardening, many beginners will be drawn to cacti, and for good reason: they are extremely hardy, produce beautiful flowers, and don’t need very much watering.
Cacti come in a variety of colors and forms and require very little maintenance. They need to be placed in a very well-lit area and can be planted inside or out.
- Low maintenance – with a little water and a bit of light, these cacti will do alright!
- Variety – owning only cacti would still allow for a range in colors and shape
- Drought resistant – cacti are used to hot, dry climates and can survive extremely well in these conditions
- Some cacti never flower
Before buying your plants or seeds, having a good understanding of the conditions you will be growing them in and their personal requirements for growth is always helpful.
Plants are like animals, and certain plants require different needs. We’ve included some key points to consider below when choosing your plants or seeds.
Indoor Or Outdoors
As shown above, there is a range of easy to care for plants that can thrive in either the garden or the home.
The first thing any budding gardener should do is work out what conditions they will keep the plant in.
Different plants thrive in different conditions, so someone living in a high-rise apartment will need very different types of plants to those living in homes with sprawling gardens. Humidity, heat, and sunlight can all vary depending on location, and whether the plant is indoors or out.
As with all living things, plants have predators, and pests such as slugs, flea beetles, and caterpillars can all find their way into your poor plants and take a little snack for themselves.
In order to avoid pests, it is important to make sure that you encourage and maintain healthy soil, use pest repellers, and monitor your plants so that you can intervene quickly before too much damage is done.
You may choose to look into using pesticides, and with many on the market, including organic and homemade products, you won’t be short on options.
Despite this, it is important to do your research, as pesticides can kill insects that are beneficial for your plants, as well as the nasty ones, and might not be the best for the environment.
It is important to manage a pest problem as quickly and thoroughly as possible, as pests can quickly start to damage other plants too.
Certain plants require specific soils, and so doing research in this area is important. The mineral provided to your plants and the pH of the soil can vary based on which soil you use, and some plants have very specific demands.
The three main types of soil are sand, silt and clay. An even mixture of these three will suit most plants, and often compost can be incorporated too.
If plants are in containers, potting soil can be beneficial.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I water my plants?
The amount of watering required will vary for most plants, depending on their native climate and conditions.
Certain plants might need to be watered from a dish at the bottom of the pot. This is because top-watering only makes the top of the soil moist, and never reaches the roots at the bottom.
Bottom-watering is beneficial as this will encourage roots to grow down instead of sideways, specific to the needs of the plant. Plants such as succulents and cacti hugely benefit from this method.
Just make sure to be careful of overwatering your plants if you choose to grow in standard soil, as opposed to a sand or perlite mix. Soils holds onto a lot of moisture, and a common mistake newby gardeners make is overwatering their plants and doing more harm than good.
Should I use fertilizer?
Fertilizers are used to help and improve plant growth. If you already have healthy soil, using fertilizers isn’t necessary but can help to increase productivity if growing vegetables or to help flowers bloom more impressively. However always be careful that you buy an organic fertilizer, otherwise you’re not only hurting yourself but also damaging the environment.