Container Gardening for Kids

We’ve talked at length about container gardening in several blogs like Winning Container Combinations, Container Planting:  Soil – About Soil and Container Planting:  About Pots; and in our videos called How to Design Your Own Container and How to Plant a Container, but we haven’t talked about container gardening for kids.  So let’s talk about that now.

How to tackle container gardening with children does depend on their age & stage of development and their level of interest.  The best way to container garden with children at an entry level is to keep it simple and keep it easy so that it will have the best change to be successful.

A good way to get kiddos gardening is for them to have a children’s garden of their own.  Here are some options:

  • Small single flower containers – get a pot that is at least 6” across.  Remember to match the size of the container with the mature size of the plant. It’s hard to keep a large plant hydrated in a small container, you’ll end up watering it multiple times a day.  See our blog called Container Planting:  About Pots.
  • Pots with more than one plant – Maybe put in a taller plant, a medium plant, and one that flows out of the pot; like a Geranium, a white Euphorbia, and a Million Bell.  Make sure to match sun exposure and water needs.  A bigger pot, at least 10’ across is need for this.
  • A small raised bed – our neighbour started her 4 year old with a raised bed made out of 2 stacked 2x6s so it was 12” tall and the dimensions of the raised bed was 18” x 36”.  In that he grew a Tumbler tomato and some herbs.
  • A container with quick positive reinforcement – it grows quickly, and blooms freely, abundantly, and continually like:
    • Black Eyed Susan vine, Sweet Peas, Geraniums, Marigolds, Pansies, Petunias, Stocks
  • A container that incorporates multiple senses:
    • sight – bright colored,  multicolored, favorite color, ruffled
    • smell – fragrant flowers like sweet peas, herbs, lavender, lobularia, citronella geranium
    • touch – velvety or fuzzy leaves like Bunny tail grass or Lamb’s Ear
    • taste – you can eat it – strawberries, herbs, or tomatoes – smaller tomatoes like cherry tomatoes produce fruit quickly

Easy care looks like:

  • Easy care pots
    • Plastic pots are pretty indestructible and they hold contain soil moisture wonderfully
    • Clay pots are fun to decorate before planting but are less resilient to being dropped
  • A plant that can handle some ‘drought’ – those days when watering is forgotten – and yet they will bounce back.
    • Dianthus, Gazania, Geraniums, Marigolds, Pansies, Stocks, Tomatoes, Herbs
  • It can handle a little too much water some days.
    • The above list works well here too
  • It can handle a little too much water some days.
    • The above list works well here too
  • Improving watering holding capacity – Adding mulch to the top of the soil of the container

A few more notes about plants:

  • Keep the plant selection simple, not too many plants in one pot and not too many different plants.
  • Flowers that could be cut and last well in a small vase such as Dianthus & Stocks are fun to grow because they can be taken into the house or kept in the child’s room.
  • Interesting plants that close up at night or on dark days like Gazania & Osteospermum are fun to grow because they are a little different.
  • Plants that climb or trail like Mina Lobata & Black Eyed Susan can be interesting to grow because the growing habit is different.

Remember that relationships grow in gardens – taking out time together to go on bug hunts, watering flowers, and exploring nature is always a great way for having interesting conversations.  Enjoy your children and keep growing!

We hope this will help spark a growing passion for gardening among children.  If you are looking for more ideas or have any questions, feel welcome to email us via our website or call us at 780.467.3091.