The 15 Easiest Flowers to Grow Even if You Don’t Have a Green Thumb
Want to perk up your balcony, patio or garden with summer flowers that add tons of color and fragrance? We’ve rounded up the easiest flowers to grow in your yard—ones that thrive even if you, ahem, don’t have the best track record with green things.
Just remember that easy doesn’t mean no maintenance (if only!). You still have to water your flowers when first planted and during dry spells (say, it hasn’t rained for a week). It’s also important to choose plants that like the light conditions you actually have. If you’re not sure, watch your space for a few days at different times of day. Full sun means an area gets at least 6 hours of direct sun; part sun means about half that. And full shade means your space gets no direct sun, or only a tiny bit of morning sun. It’s a waste to spend money on a shade-loving plant, then allow it to fry in the hot sun. Ditto on sun lovers, which won’t thrive or bloom in shade.
That said, here are our favorite flowers that are super-easy to grow in containers and beds:
Marigolds have to be The. Easiest. Flower. Ever. They come in bright, cheery colors including sunny yellows and oranges and a variety of heights from about 4 inches to 18 inches tall. They do well in beds and pots and will last all summer long, well into fall. Bonus: They’re inexpensive and sold just about everywhere. Give ‘em full sun to thrive.
2. Sweet Alyssum
Looking for a sweetly scented flower that works in mixed containers or one that will tumble dramatically out of window boxes? Choose sweet alyssum—it checks off both boxes. Oh, and some types self-seed so they’ll return next year. It’s available in white, pink and purple, and pollinators love it. Sweet alyssum likes full sun but will take a little shade.
If you have a hot, dry area and poor soil, choose lantana. It’s available in gorgeous, saturated colors such as hot pink and orange, and it’s drought-tolerant once established. Lantana is considered an annual (which means it lives one season) in cold climates but is a shrubby perennial in warm regions. Give lantana full sun.
Begonias come in hundreds of different colors, heights and forms. They’re extremely hardy and make great container plants. Many types of begonias prefer full shade, but some varieties take mostly sun.
These beautiful draping annuals, which resemble petunias but are actually a different flower, come in every color you can imagine, including pinwheels of two different colors.They’re incredibly hardy and look amazing in pots and window boxes. They bloom from planting until frost. Give calibrachoa full sun.
This succulent doesn’t mind neglect and thrives in heat, poor soil and drought. Its bright blooms hug the ground but come in an eye-catching array of colors. Give portulaca full sun.
Impatiens are reliable shade lovers that work well in window boxes, containers and planting beds. Look for newer types, such as Beacon, which have been bred to be more disease resistant to downy mildew, a disease that devastated the most popular type, impatiens walleriana, in home gardens and nurseries a few years ago. Give impatiens full shade.
8. Firecracker Plant
Scorching hot where you live? This plant doesn’t care. Firecracker plant, also called cuphea, has long, tubular flowers that pollinators, especially hummingbirds, love. Give cuphea tons of sun.
If you’re looking for a perennial that needs almost zero care, plant daylilies in your garden beds. They come in a variety of heights and gorgeous colors ranging from salmon to pinks and purples, and some have ruffled leaves. Each flower lasts only one day (thus, the name), but there are many of them on one plant. Give daylilies full sun.
Dianthus has a nonstop show of fringy flowers in bright colors such as hot pink or deep purple. These flowers bloom all season long and don’t mind the heat. Some types are perennial, and some are annual, so read the tag to be sure about what you’re buying. Give dianthus full sun.
So, you can’t jet off to France to see fields of sunflowers in bloom? Plant them in your own backyard instead. Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed in pots or garden beds. Your biggest challenge: Keeping wildlife away! If rodents, such as chipmunks, bother the seeds, plant them inside a small “cage” of metal hardware cloth buried a few inches in ground, or place a few layers of chicken wire directly on the soil or over pots to prevent digging. Give sunflowers plenty of sun.
Although technically not flowers, caladiums, grown for their eye-catching foliage, are stunning. Their heart-shaped leaves are bright pink and lime green, and they make striking accent plants or container plantings. In cold climates, they do better in pots, but they’re fine in ground in hot climates. Give caladiums mostly sun in the north, but they’ll do better with some shade in the South.
This adorable annual has flowers that resemble teeny snapdragons. They drape nicely out of window boxes and containers, don’t mind the heat, and come in jeweltones such as blue, pink, orange and yellow. They bloom from planting until frost. Give nemesia full sun.
This tropical vine looks like you tried really hard, but it’s just ridiculously easy to grow. It needs a trellis to climb so it can really show off. Mandevilla blooms nonstop from spring to frost; give it plenty of sun but in warm climates, it does better with some afternoon shade.
These old standards are popular for a few reasons: They’re colorful, long-blooming and fill a planter or garden bed in a hurry. Look for Wave types, which spread nicely and don’t have to be deadheaded (removing spent blooms) to keep blooming. Give petunias full sun.