Article on plants for kids

The amazing world of plants is filled with exciting and fun facts that are waiting to be explored. If you are keen to fire your child’s imagination with interesting information, get ready to get surprised by plants facts even you aren’t aware of.



50 Fun Facts about Plants for Children

Heard about weird species like Venus flytrap or poison ivy? The following information about plants for kids is a veritable treat for those who love interesting facts related to the magnificent plant kingdom:



  1. We human beings use more than 2000 different types of plants to create various delicious food items in our meals.
  2. Bamboo is an extremely rapid growing plant. In fact, some bamboo varieties can grow almost a metre (about 3.2 feet) in a single day.
  3. Caffeine works as a pesticide in a coffee plant.
  4. Apple’s volume consists of 25% air which is why it floats on water.
  5. More than 85% of plant life is found in the ocean.
  6. Poison Ivy produces a skin irritant known as urushiol which can cause an allergic reaction like an itchy rash on the exposed skin.
  7. Many plants are carnivores like the Venus Flytrap and eat tiny little insects and spiders to gain useful nutrients.
  8. In order to help plants to grow, fertilisers are added to the soil or sprayed on them. Manure, which is actually animal waste is a fertiliser too.
  9. Gingko Biloba which dates to about 250 million years ago is the oldest living tree species in the world.
  10. Banana is actually an Arabic word for fingers.
  11. Cabbage has 91% water content.
  12. There are more than 300,000 plant species identified till date and the list is constantly expanding.
  13. Plant matter which settles down at the base of water bodies like swamps etc. can turn into coal through a process is known as metamorphosis.
  14. Plants convert carbon dioxide, water and minerals into food when they use energy from sunlight and this process is known as photosynthesis.
  15. Tree resin often contains plant material or tiny insects that are trapped within.
  16. Oak trees do not produce acorns until they become 50 years old.
  17. The African tree, Baobab can store 1000 to 120,000 litres of water in its tree trunk.
  18. Lightning is known to strike oak trees more than any other tree.
  19. A cluster of bananas is known as a hand and consists of 10 to 20 bananas which are known as fingers.
  20. A cucumber is not a vegetable. It is a fruit as it has seeds.
  21. Elephant grass found in Africa is named so because it can grow up to 4.5 metres, which is high enough to hide an elephant in it.
  22. Your potato fries will be healthier if the skin is left on it as all the nutrients are in its skin.
  23. Bananas contain a natural chemical that makes people feel happy.
  24. Apples, onions and potatoes have the same taste. Test this by closing your nose while eating them.
  25. The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7000 years ago.
  26. The country Brazil is named after a tree
  27. An average-sized tree can provide wood enough to make 170000 pencils.
  28. Rafflesia grows over three feet in diameter and is the largest flower in the world.
  29. Avocados and tomatoes are actually fruits.
  30. Algae and mushrooms are not plants but have their own kingdom.
  31. About 600 species of carnivorous plants eat small animals and insects too.
  32. More than 20% of the world’s oxygen supply is produced by the Amazon Rainforest.
  33. Baseball bats are created from the Hickory tree while cricket bats from Willow trees.
  34. Onions contain sulphuric acid which causes tears when we cut them. The tears produced is how the body washes it away from the eyes.
  35. Onions can make you sleepy if you eat too many at a time since they act as natural sedatives.
  36. A carnivorous plant in the Philippines is capable of devouring a full-grown rat alive.
  37. Around 70000 plant species are being utilized all over the world for medicines.
  38. Plants can be used as natural dyes. For example, tea bags or walnut juice can be used to colour cloth.
  39. Chemicals released from freshly-cut grass can be highly effective to relieve stress.
  40. Dandelion can be eaten whole, right from its roots up to the petals.
  41. England’s Alnwick Garden has The Poison Garden that is filled with plants which can kill you.
  42. All teas, white, black and green, come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, only the processing methods are different.
  43. Plant roots are covered with root hairs that are used to absorb minerals and water.
  44. Onions contain a mild antibiotic which can fight infections, relieves itching, soothes burns and is useful against bee stings too.
  45. Water travels in the upward direction from the roots to its stem and then into the plant leaves.
  46. There are no flower species that are completely black in colour nor has anyone been able to develop it.
  47. 96% of raw cucumber and 84% of a raw apple is water.
  48. The drug Quinine is obtained from the dried bark of a South-American native tree.
  49. Snapdragon flowers resemble a dragon and its mouth can open and close when it is squeezed from its sides.
  50. Strawberry is the only fruit that has seeds on the outside. It has about an average of 200 seeds.
    The exciting plant kingdom is a wonderful place to spend time with, whether you are a child or an adult. It surely makes for some interesting conversation with kids as you ply them with fun facts about plants.

Also Read: Earth Facts for Kids

When I think of spring, I think of planting seeds, growing plants and flowers, gardening ideas and all things outdoors! With these easy plant activities, even the youngest kids can explore, investigate, plant seeds and grow a garden! These plant activities are also great for a plant theme for preschool, at home or in the classroom. Preschool science activities are perfect for early learning!

EASY PLANT ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL!

EASY SEEDS TO GROW

Whether this is your first year planting seeds with kids or you do it every spring, you want to be prepared to make your plant activities a success!

Here are some easy seeds to grow:

  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Nasturtium

We just made these awesome homemade seed bombs! Perfect for a plant theme for preschool activity. Use recycled materials and give some as gifts too!

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges?

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy STEM challenges.

EASY PLANT ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

SEED GERMINATION JAR

A seed jar is one of the coolest and easiest plant activities to try! We had a blast watching our seeds go through each phase of seed growth.

GROWING SEEDS IN EGGSHELLS

You can also plant seeds in eggshells. We checked out our seeds in different phases of growth. Also a fun dirt sensory activity.

HOW DO PLANTS BREATHE ACTIVITY

COLOR CHANGING FLOWERS

Turn white flowers into a rainbow of color and learn about the parts of the flower at the same time.

FLOWER SEED BOMBS

Find out how to make seed bombs for a great hands-on preschool plant activity or even to give as gifts. All you need are some flower seeds and scrap paper.

REGROW LETTUCE

Did you know that you can regrow certain vegetables from their stalks right on the kitchen counter? Give it a try!

LEAF STRUCTURE ACTIVITY

3 in 1 FLOWER ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

Explore real flowers with an ice melt activity, sorting and identifying the parts of a flower and if there is time, a fun water sensory bin.

MORE EASY PLANT ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

I love all the mini seed activities from Gift of Curiosity. She has some great ideas for setting up awesome mini experiments with seeds. What do seeds need? Such great learning!

Exploring and investigating seeds from Fantastic Fun and Learning is also a great science activity and perfect for young kids.

An Every Day Story set up an experiment to see how deep you should plant your seeds.

Make your own paper plate greenhouse from J4Daniels Mom to watch your seeds grow with a fun craft and science activity!

Growing grass from Pre-K pages is a simple plant activity that also makes a great classroom plant project.

Did you know an avocado pit is a seed? Take a look how you can use your next avocado pit for a seed science activity from Share It Science.

PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES

  • Dinosaur Activities For Preschoolers
  • Preschool Science Experiments
  • Pumpkin Activities
  • Preschool Apple Activities
  • Preschool Farm Theme
  • Earth Day Activities

EASY ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL PLANT THEME!

Click on the link or on the photo below for more fun spring science activities this season!

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges?

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy STEM challenges.

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10 Plants to Grow with Kids (Kids Gardening Guide)

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Backyard gardening with your kids can be a rewarding experience for all involved and is a great way to make memories while teaching your children where food comes from. It does not have to take up much space or time, but this simple family activity could help shape your child’s health, habits and concern for the environment in the future.

Here are just a handful of the reasons you should include your kids in your backyard gardening:

1. Teaching kids to garden helps them learn how to care for living things.
2. Teaching kids to grow plants helps them connect to nature and care about the environment.
3. Growing food plants in youth encourages healthier eating habits later in life.
4. Gardening with kids encourages them to spend more time outside.
5. This type of family activity allows you to spend time together and make memories.
6. Hands-on, outdoor activities encourage kids to put down their electronic devices for a bit.
7. It gives you an opportunity to teach your children something, which is good for you and them.

If you would like to read more about the benefits of getting your kids into gardening, check out “5 Reasons You Should Garden with Your Kids.”

Backyard Gardening: 10 Food Plants and Flowers to Grow with Kids

You can involve your children in growing just about anything, but it is easier to get them interested and hold their attention if you choose particular plants. For example, food plants that grow faster will keep them more interested in gardening. To help you determine which food plants and flowers to grow with your children, here are ten options that are good choices for getting kids interested in backyard gardening.

1. Radishes: While it may be true that some children are not excited when they see radishes on their plates, this is a great place to start. One of the benefits of growing radishes is that it just might encourage your kids to want to eat them. The main benefit of choosing radishes, though, is that they grow very quickly. You can go from planting seeds to harvesting your crop in just 30 days, which is very fast in the world of food plants. Your kids will also be able to see the greens growing quickly as they care for them for that short maturation period, which should help keep them interested. Learn more about growing radishes here.

2. Spinach: Spinach is another fast-growing food plant that is easy to grow with kids. This one can even be grown in a container on your patio, on a windowsill or in a vertical garden, which makes it a great choice for folks with small backyards. This is another one that kids do not always get excited about eating, but if they grow it themselves this could change. If you are not a big fan of spinach, just about any lettuce is just as easy to grow and can also be grown in a container or vertical garden.

3: Carrots: Carrots do not grow as fast as radishes, but they are incredibly easy to care for, have greens that your children can watch grow, and are usually among the vegetables that kids will actually eat without much of a fight. Plus, they are so versatile in the kitchen that you know you are going to use any carrots that your family grows. Some cooking options include roasting the carrots, using them in soups or stews, cutting them up for quick snacks, baking carrot bread or cake, or cooking them as a side dish.

4. Celery: Celery is, perhaps, the best food plant to use as an introduction to gardening for your children. This is because they can actually see a difference in the celery the very first day. Now, this is not true if you plant seeds, but this is one of the many foods that you can actually grow from kitchen scraps. Next time a recipe calls for celery, cut all of the stalks off at once while leaving about two to three inches of the bottom of the bunch intact. Place the bottom of your celery bunch in a bowl of water on the windowsill in your kitchen, and you should begin to see a small amount of growth from the center stalks later that day. Your kids will be able to see how much the celery grows each day until it has some roots growing from the bottom and it is time to plant it in the garden. You can use the leaves and stalks as it grows, which also makes this a good choice for keeping kids interested in gardening over time.

Growing celery from the leftover end of the bunch can also help teach your children thriftiness and how to reduce waste.

5. Pumpkins: Pumpkins require a bit more patience than radishes or spinach, but the vine grows relatively quickly, and this option is just a lot of fun. One of the best ways to introduce your kids to gardening through pumpkins is to save the seeds from your Halloween pumpkin to plant the following spring to grow your own pumpkins for the next Halloween. Growing their own Halloween pumpkins is the biggest benefit of this option, but it can also save you money next Halloween and introduces your children to seed saving.

  • How to Grow Pumpkins for Halloween this Year
  • Growing Pumpkins Guide: How to Grow Giant Pumpkins, Unique Varieties + PRO Tips

6. Tomatoes: Tomatoes make this list because they are just so easy to grow in the ground or in containers on your patio. Plus, you can start from plants that are already a pretty good size so that your children do not have to wait as long to start seeing tomatoes on the vine. Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are good choices for harvesting with little hands, and this is a fun one to let them eat right out of that garden – just be sure you grew them organically and give them a quick rinse with the garden hose first.

7. Lavender: Lavender may seem like an odd choice for a kid’s garden, but this beautiful, fun-to-grow herb can withstand quite a bit and is easy to grow. It also attracts pollinators, which includes butterflies – making this a great choice for a butterfly garden. The best part about growing lavender with kids is that you can teach them just how many uses some plants can have. For example, after harvesting lavender flowers, you can bake with them or use them in salads, or you can dry them for tea and craft projects, such as making sachets, eye pillows or soap.

8. Basil: Basil is another easy-to-grow herb that is fun to grow with kids. They can harvest the leaves for use in soups, salads and sauces, which may increase their interest in the culinary arts. As an added bonus, you can even eat the blossoms, so when the plant reaches the end of its life cycle, you can enjoy the blossoms with your kids.

9. Marigolds: Marigolds are easy to grow, can withstand rough treatment by little hands, and attract butterflies and bees to your garden. They also provide pest control for food plants, so you may want to plant marigolds around the border of your garden. Some varieties are even edible, so if you think that it might be fun to eat flowers with our kids, look for one of the edible varieties to plant in your backyard garden.

10. Sunflowers: Kids love sunflowers, and that is reason enough to add them to your backyard garden. Since they germinate in about a week, children can begin to watch the sprouts grow pretty quickly after planting, which is good for short attention spans. Depending on the variety you choose, your kids will be able to watch them in awe as they grow taller than them, then taller than you, then taller than the fence to tower over the rest of the garden. Harvest the seeds and dry them for sunflower seed snacks, or you can sprinkle them around the garden or add them to your birdfeeder to attract birds to your garden. This added bonus allows you to go beyond teaching them about and interesting them in gardening to also include encouraging a connection with nature and wildlife – with some backyard birdwatching on the side!

Backyard Gardening with Kids: Additional Resources

  • How to Get Children Interested in Gardening
  • How to Encourage Kids to Spend More Time Outdoors
  • Gardening for Beginners Guide: Top 10 Tips + Ideas

Click to Download this Resource

Choosing the right plants is always important, but it’s especially crucial for gardens designed for young children. This list includes annual and perennial plants considered safe for wee ones. You’ll find two main categories – cool season and warm season plants – so you can plan to have something blooming or ready to harvest for most of the gardening year. These are subdivided into which to purchase as established plans rather than start from seed. Generally, seeds are more economical, but some is small and hard to handle, a challenge to germinate, or the resulting plants may take a long time to mature.

Plants to Avoid

Although every child needs to learn that some plants are not good to eat or touch, it is best to avoid poisonous plants or those with irritating characteristics like thorns. Online databases of poisonous plants are available here:

  • NC State University Poisonous Plants
  • Cornell University Poisonous Plants

WHAT’S AN ANNUAL?
For those of you new to the gardening world, it’s helpful to become familiar with a few plant terms to help you navigate through the myriad choices.

  • Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle during one growing season; that is, they sprout from seed, blossom, set seed, and die within a short time. In this list, we divide them into cool-season and warm-season annuals. Cool-season types, such as lettuce and spinach, grow best when daytime temperatures are 60° to 70° F. Warm-season annuals, including beans and corn, grow best when daytime temperatures in the mid-70’s through the 90’s.
  • Biennial plants live for two growing seasons. During the first season they build up reserves that they use during the second to blossom and produce seed, after which they die. Common biennial plants include carrots and onions. (Gardeners don’t grow these two crops for flowers or seeds, but you may wish to let some specimens complete their life cycles just to illustrate the biennial cycle to children – just be aware that the roots will no longer be palatable!)
  • Perennials live for three or more years. Lifespans vary, with some lasting just a few years and others living for decades.

Cool-Season Plants

GROW FROM SEED

  • Beets are grown for their nutritious roots. To kids, harvesting root crops is like digging for buried treasure! Colors include red, orange, yellow, white, pink and striped. Leaves are also edible. Harvest roots while fairly young – they can become tough and fibrous when they grow too large. Beets can be eaten boiled, baked, or pickled. Biennial.
  • Carrots are packed with health-promoting nutrients and taste great fresh from the garden! Varieties range in size from baby carrots to foot-long roots. Although orange carrots are most common, yellow, white, orange, and maroon varieties are available. All have attractive, feathery leaves. Carrots are fairly easy to grow in well-drained, well-tilled soil. Keep soil evenly moist to ensure even germination of seed. Biennial.
  • Calendulas, sometimes called pot marigolds, look more like daisies, with bright flowers in a range of yellows and oranges. They prefer cool temperatures but do not tolerate frost. Some gardeners grow them as companion plants to vegetables because they repel certain pests. Annual.
  • Dill can grow up to five feet tall with airy foliage and beautiful yellow flowers. This herb is used to flavor dill pickles, dressings, fish, and dips. The flowers attract butterflies, and the leaves are a food source for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. In hot climates it grows best during the spring and fall months, but it thrives all summer in cooler climates. Annual.
  • Lettuce grows quickly and forms the foundation for fresh classroom salads. Dozens of varieties are available in many different colors (reds, purples, and all shades of green). Heading lettuce forms a tight mass of leaves that you harvest all at once. Looseleaf lettuce can be harvested by the leaf throughout the growing season. An excellent crop for both spring and fall. Annual.
  • Radishes germinate in 3 to 7 days and many are ready for little hands to harvest 30 to 45 days. Like beets and carrots, the roots are the prize, and they come in a wide variety of shapes (round to oblong), colors (including red, white, pink, purple, yellow), and sizes. Most are eaten raw to add a spicy flavor to salads. Annual.
  • Peas come in several different types from snow peas to field peas, some with edible pods and others dried and used for soups. Most have a vining habit and need support in order to yield a good crop. Try growing them on a trellis, fence, or bamboo tepee. Peas are a good source of protein, minerals, and vitamins, and they’re great fun to pick. Annual.
  • Spinach leaves are packed with powerful nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, iron and calcium. It grows easily and very quickly, and prefers the cool temperatures of spring and fall. You can start harvesting as soon as plants have five or six leaves. Annual.
  • Swiss Chard is grown for edible petioles (leaf stalks) and leaves. The variety ‘Bright Lights’ is popular with kids because its stems and leaf veins come in a range of bright colors, including yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, white, and green. Like spinach, it’s high in vitamins and iron. Annual.

OBTAIN ESTABLISHED PLANTS

  • Broccoli, grown for its green, immature flower buds, is a tasty treat that is also high in nutritional value. When you offer kids the opportunity to “eat flowers,” they’re sure to be intrigued! Broccoli can blossom prematurely (called bolting) in hot weather, so plant seedlings when the weather is cool to ensure a good harvest. Annual.
  • Brussels Sprouts as you may guess from their appearance, are related to cabbages. They are a fun size for small children, especially when they grow alongside a cabbage for size comparison. Annual.
  • Cabbage forms an edible head of tightly clustered leaves. They come in a variety of sizes and colors (red, purple, and white). Eat it cooked or raw. Annual
  • Onions are a universal seasoning. Grow and taste both the edible bulbs and green tops. Plant onions seedlings or “sets” (small onion bulbs), available from garden centers and catalogs in the spring. They vary in skin color (white, brown, yellow, red, or purple), shape, and flavor (from sweet to spicy). The tops grow quickly for student sampling. Biennial.
  • Pansies, with their happy “faces” and wide array of colors, are definitely kid-pleasers. They’re also easy to grow. The flowers are edible and great for pressing to use with craft activities. They grow and blossom best in cooler temperatures. Annual.
  • Parsley is high in Vitamin A and by weight has more Vitamin C an orange! The curly variety has a tight, mounding growth that resembles a bed of soft moss, making it a nice “touch plant”. Parsley is also a food source for black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Biennial.
  • Snapdragons come in a range of sizes (from dwarf to tall) and in every color except true blue. Kids love pinching their velvety, tubular flowers to make the “dragon’s jaws” snap! Annual.

Warm-Season Plants

GROW FROM SEED

  • Bean seeds are large enough for kids to handle easily and plant, and they grow quickly, some maturing in as few as 45 days. Both bush and pole varieties come in a wide array of types and colors include yellow, green, and purple. Pole beans are great for creating child-friendly structures like tepees and tunnels. Kids can harvest snap, string, or French beans for eating raw or cooked. Types meant for drying, such as pinto, kidney, and black beans, stay on the vine until the pods become brown – they make an exciting package for curious kids to open, with shiny, colorful seeds inside. Annual.
  • Cantaloupes provide sweet, refreshing fruit and are a wonderful source of Vitamins A and C. These vining plants require lots of room to spread (leave at least 5 feet between standard plants, and 3 feet between compact “bush” varieties). Children will enjoy monitoring the growth of these ball-shaped fruits. Annual.
  • Sweet Corn, with its tall stature, can offer a structural as well as edible element to a preschool garden. Because it is pollinated by the wind, in order to get edible ears you need to plant it in blocks of several rows (at least 3 by 3 feet) or in tight “hills” of at least 3 stalks. After you harvest, leave the stalks in place and let kids play hide-and-seek in the patch, and use the stalks to make decorations. Annual.
  • Cosmos has fine, delicate foliage and bright daisy-like flowers in orange, yellow, red, pink, white, and purple that attract butterflies. It’s very easy to grow, even in poor soil. Different varieties grow from 16 inches to 4 feet tall. Annual.
  • Cucumbers can be eaten fresh, added to salads, or turned into pickles. Like its cousin the cantaloupe, it’s a vining plant. Let it sprawl across the ground, or if you’re short on space, or train it up a trellis or choose compact “bush” varieties. Annual.
  • Gazania is another daisy-type flowers with white, pink, red, orange, yellow, and some bi-color blossoms. It’s fairly drought and heat tolerant. Blossoms close at night and in cloudy weather – have children watch for these changes. Perennial in zones 8-10; annual elsewhere.
  • Gomphrena blossoms are made up of papery bracts (modified leaf structures) that make them easy to dry for play and for craft projects. Globe-shaped flowers come in purple, red, and white. Annual.
  • Gourds are vining plants with fruits that come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Bottle gourds can be used to make birdhouses, luffa gourds for sponges, and ornamental types for creating table displays or even to use as playthings. Gourds have been used for thousands of years for decorative purposes and also used as early bottles, storage containers (the first Tupperware), utensils (spoons), and musical instruments. They produce vigorous vines that need support from a fence or sturdy trellis and lots of space to produce well. Annual.
  • Hollyhocks are tall, old-fashioned garden favorites that are fairly drought tolerant and easy to grow. The large showy flowers come in a rainbow of colors that can be fun for young children to play with. Biennial or perennial.
  • Nasturtiums are available as compact plants or trailing varieties with edible lily-pad-shaped foliage and velvety blossoms. Flowers range from white through yellows and dark red. Blossoms are sweet with a peppery watercress flavor and contain Vitamin C. They’re beautiful on salads and sandwiches. Annual.
  • Peanuts are perky green plants with bright yellow flowers. They have a fascinating growth habit: After pollination the flower stalk stretches down to touch the soil, and fruits (peanuts) develop underground. Annual.
  • Pumpkins are a children’s favorite – kids love to grow their own Halloween pumpkins. Although orange pumpkins are the most common, they also come in red, white, and gray. Pumpkin plants need lots of room for their vines to spread. Miniature varieties may only need 6 to 8 square feet, but large types need between 50 and 100 square feet for healthy growth. At harvest time, pumpkins can be turned into jack-o-lanterns and their seeds roasted for a tasty and nutritious snack. Annual.
  • Strawflowers, like gomphrena, have papery bracts that make them excellent dried flowers. They come in a variety of colors including shades of red, orange, yellow, pink and white. Brighten up a winter classroom with flowers the children have helped grow.
  • Sunflowers are universally loved by children. They’re easy to grow and produce cheerful, vibrant, flowers. You can grow dwarf varieties no taller than your students or giants that tower to 8 feet tall. Flowers are also variable in size, from dwarfs that would fit in the palm of your hand to giants that are as large as your head. Colors include white, yellow, orange, and burgundy, and some bicolors. They’re known for their edible seeds and seed oil, but the unopened buds and flower petals can also be eaten and taste like a mild artichoke. Flower petals are bittersweet. Annual.
  • Tithonia, also known as Mexican sunflower, has red, orange, and yellow flowers that attract butterflies. The plants can grow tall and a bit wild looking, but they are heat and drought tolerant. Annual.
  • Watermelons are a summer time favorite and rewarding for kids to grow. Like cantaloupe, plant them in hills and give them need lots of space (7 to 10 feet between hills). Annual.
  • Zinnias come in hundreds of varieties, ranging from dwarf plants up to 3 feet tall, and in a rainbow of colors, some of which are specked and striped. Flowers may have a single layer of petal-like ray flowers or may have more layers for a fuller look. They are hardy and grow well in hot, dry conditions. Zinnias make great cut flowers and attract butterflies. Annual.

OBTAIN ESTABLISHED PLANTS

  • Basil, like other culinary herbs, is a stimulating sensory plant for children to smell and taste. Aside from traditional basil, there are also lemon, lime, anise, and cinnamon flavored types. Leaf color and shape also varies, from tiny, pale green leaves to deep purple ruffles. They also come in different sizes, but classic basil can reach 2 feet at maturity. Basil grows best in full sun. Basil plants also produce attractive flowers, although if you are harvesting leaves for cooking it is best to remove flower buds and encourage vegetative growth. Annual.
  • Impatiens bring bright color to shady beds. They come in red, orange, pink, purple and white, with some variegated and double blossoms. They’re easy to grow and bloom continuously throughout the growing season. Annual.
  • Petunias grow well during cooler months in the far south, but throughout the summer in cooler climates. The trumpet-shaped flowers bloom prolifically and come in a wide range of colors, some with interesting patterns including stripes and speckles.
  • Pineapple Sage, another plant for sensory exploration, derives it’s name from the pleasing pineapple-like odor of the crushed leaves. As an extra bonus, the foliage adds sweet flavor to teas and salads. The scarlet flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Perennial in zones 8-10; annual elsewhere.
  • Rosemary is an evergreen woody shrub that produces pine-scented leaves used in cooking and potpourri. Flowers are white or blue flowers and you can choose varieties with upright growth or with trailing branches. It is also commonly used in cooking with breads, meats and vegetables. Perennial in zones 8-10; annual elsewhere (bring it inside for the winter).
  • Stevia, also known as sugarleaf, is another good sensory plant for children. The leaves taste 10 to 15 times sweeter than an equal amount of sugar! It grows slowly at the outset, but can reach 2 to 3 feet. Pinch off the flowers if you wish to maximize the sweetness of the leaves. Perennial in zones 8-10; annual elsewhere.

Perennial Plants

You’ll find both flowering and fruiting perennials in this list. You can plant most perennials throughout your growing season, although each variety may have an optimum planting date for your area. The most flexible planting time in most areas is in the spring after chance of frost has passed, but many will also thrive if planted in summer or fall. If you do plant them in the heat of summer, monitor water needs frequently. If you plant in fall, allow enough time for roots to become established before cold weather hits. Seeds of many perennial are challenging to germinate, and most do not blossom during their first year, so start with small transplants or mature plants so you can enjoy the benefits sooner.

  • Black-eyed Susan is a cheery, daisy-like flower that has a long bloom period. They make great cut flowers and also attract butterflies.
  • Blueberries not only provide fruit early to mid-summer, they are attractive, low-maintenance shrubs with good fall color. Bush varieties range from four to seven feet tall, and “wild” blueberries stay low to the ground. All require acidic soil, but they have few pests other than hungry birds.
  • Butterfly Bush (buddleia) can grow into a large shrub (up to 12 feet) and produces beautiful, fragrant, cone-shaped flower clusters in whites, purples, pinks and reds. As the name suggest, it attracts a number of butterflies and other insects. Once established, it is a very hardy and drought tolerant plant.
  • Catnip is a member of the mint family, is easy to grow, very fragrant, and has attractive flowers. Young children enjoy growing this plant as a special treat for their feline friends.
  • Chives are normally grown for their flavorful leaves, which can bring a mild onion/garlic-like flavor to dishes like salads and baked potatoes. Chive flowers are also edible and come in white, lavender, or purple.
  • Coneflower is a North American native wildflower. New flower colors are being developed, but the most common are purple, white, or yellow. The ray-like petals surround a pincushion center. They’re excellent cut flowers that also attract butterflies.
  • Coreopsis has attractive yellow flowers that bloom throughout the summer. It’s easy to grow and can tolerate poor soil and hot weather.
  • Coral Honeysuckle is an evergreen to semi-evergreen vine with beautiful, tubular coral flowers that attract hummingbirds. Whether you grow it in the ground or in a container, provide a trellis for it to climb. Although it is easy to grow, it doesn’t become invasive like Japanese honeysuckle (yellow blossoms).
  • Lamb’s Ear has soft, woolly, blue-green leaves that kids love to pet. This low growing, clumping perennial grows vigorously, so it can take the attention. Plant it along borders where small hands can reach it easily.
  • Lemon Balm has attractive green foliage with a refreshing citrus flavor. Let children smell and taste the leaves, and add them to tea and fruit salads. Grows to 2 feet tall. Perennial in zones 4 to 9.
  • Mints of all kinds are a sensory treat. The most common are peppermint and spearmint, but there are others to try, such as ginger mint and chocolate mint. Plants grow from 8 inches to 3 feet tall. All spread quickly by underground rhizomes, so if you don’t want them to take over other plants, plant mint in a pots or a separate bed.
  • Monarda (bee balm) attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, providing lots opportunity for exciting observation. Flower colors include red, pink, white, and purple. It’s a mint, so make sure it doesn’t take over the garden. It will grow in part shade, but flowers best in full sun.
  • Oregano is a compact herb plant with attractive pink and purple flowers. The herb is a favorite in Greek, Italian, and Mexican cooking. Plant it in full sun. Perennial in zones 5 to 9.
  • Salvia is available in many different shapes, sizes and colors, with varieties adapted to different climates and growing conditions from very wet to very dry soils. The red, pink, white, purple, and blue flowers are borne on spikes and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Remove spent blooms to encourage new flowers
  • Strawberries are usually the first fresh fruit of the growing season, making them a children’s favorite. Typically flowers are white, but there are some with pink blossoms.
    It makes an excellent ground cover or border plant because of the long stems, called “runners”, that trail and sprout new plants.
  • Thornless Blackberry shrubs have long canes that grow to heights of five to 10 feet tall. Fruit matures in mid to late summer. Great picking for little hands!
  • Thornless Raspberry shrubs range from 4 to 6 feet tall. Summer and fall-bearing varieties are available. Children enjoy wearing the berries like thimbles on their fingertips before popping them in their mouths.
  • Verbena comes in varieties with white, pink, red, or purple flower clusters that attract butterflies and other insects. Some have an upright growth habit, while trail. They grow well in sunny locations and well-drained soil, and established plants are fairly drought tolerant.

Discover Easy-to-grow Kids Plants

By Emily Murphy

Gardening is a fun and easy way to get kids outside. Instill a love for the wonder of nature, even at a very young age, when you show kids the joy of plants that are easy to grow. Taking care to research flowers and vegetables that require minimal care and produce abundantly will ensure kids feel rewarded for their efforts and get the most out of their first gardening experience. Learn more about the easiest plants to grow in Gilmour’s Plants for Kids guide.

  • Easy-To-Grow Plants for Kids

Easy-To-Grow Plants for Kids

Calendula

Calendula petals add a wonderful pop of color and unique flavor to salads. Children appreciate the large, prehistoric-looking seeds that resemble the vertebrae of long-lost animals. Add the flowers to make herbal oils once they are dried. Herbal oils can then be added to homemade candles, soaps and lotions for fun DIY projects. Direct sow calendula during fall in mild climates or in spring as soon as soil can be worked. Plant it with your veggies as a companion plant to thwart aphid-attacks. Water calendula three to four times per week, depending on the weather and temperature.

French Sorrel

Known to some children as sour grass, French sorrel is a thrill to the taste buds. Its sharp, tangy flavor is unlike anything else in the garden. Like calendula, it is a plant for grazing as much as it is for the kitchen. Sorrel is a perennial, so grow it in a container or a dedicated spot in the garden where it can come back year after year. French sorrel grows best in rich, well-draining soil and requires regular watering. Use the Flexogen Super Duty hose and Thumb Control Watering Nozzle to complete the task.

Cucumbers

Unlike sorrel, cucumbers are mild in flavor. They are excellent producers, giving kids something to harvest nearly every visit to the garden. Their seeds are big enough for small hands to sow, while their furry leaves (and sometimes prickly fruits) are full of character. Best of all, when children grow plants like cucumbers, they are more likely to care for them from seed to fruit, giving them the pride that comes from a seed-to-harvest experience. Plant cucumbers in rich, well-draining soil, fertilize them in mid-summer using compost or manure tea and water them three to four times per week.

Sunflowers

Some sunflowers grow from seeds with stripes, but others come from seeds that are black, white or somewhere in between. However they come, sunflower seeds are fun to plant and watch grow. It won’t be long before varieties like ‘Mammoth Russian’ are taller than anyone in the family or school. Let them self-sow from one season to the next or plant them in spring as soon as the soil is ready. Tuck sunflowers in along the northern ends of beds or give them a patch all their own. Sunflowers do best in rich, well-draining soil and they need regular water.

Berries

Who doesn’t love finding red ripe strawberries hiding under leaves or cascading over the sides of containers? Strawberries are easy berries to start with because they don’t require much room, and they nearly always find a way to grow. Plant in rich to medium soil in an area that receives ample sun. Water regularly using a garden sprinkler. If strawberries are growing in containers, watering is easy with Gilmour’s Thumb Control Watering Wand.

Kale

Some kids may not love kale (yet), but chances are that will change once they grow it themselves. Kale’s beautiful leaves are often colorful, like on red Russian kale. It can be picked along with French sorrel for an easy outdoor snack. Grow kale on the north side of sunflowers to give it much-needed shade on the hottest summer days. Or, wait to plant kale in August, so it grows into the cooler temperatures of fall. Kale likes rich, well-draining soil and plenty of water. One quick watering tip: if kale leaves start to become tough, it needs more frequent watering.

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums provoke a sense of wonder. Their round, lily pad-shaped leaves and vase-shaped flowers often become the building blocks of fairy homes and make-believe play. Encourage children to use leaves in art projects to create leaf prints. Planting nasturtiums at the edge of garden can lure aphids away from other fruits and veggies. They also do well in containers where they can fill a corner with flowers. Add spicy leaves and flowers to salads and pickle the seeds to make homemade capers. Nasturtiums like sun but will tolerate part shade. Plant them in rich, well-draining soil whenever possible, and water two to three times per week.

Snap Peas

Like cucumbers, snap peas are excellent producers. They yield sweet, juicy pods for weeks on end, and their shoots and flowers are great in salads. Children love to eat them right in the garden for a quick snack. Best of all, their leafy vines create a shady area to play and explore. Snap peas like the cooler temperatures of the shoulder seasons, so plant them in early spring for spring harvesting and again in late summer for fall harvesting. Snap peas like rich, well-drained soil and they should be watered three to four times per week using Gilmour’s Thumb Control Watering Nozzle.

Pineapple Sage

Children love pineapple sage because of its bright red trumpet flowers and the fact that it attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds in the fall months. The plant grows quickly and has a striking pineapple scent that is often a surprise at first, given its red blooms. Plant in a space that gets abundant sunshine in well-drained, rich, moist soil. Fertilize consistently during the growing season but take care not to over-water. Water regularly the first few weeks after planting, but once established, pineapple sage really only needs water during drought-like conditions.

Mint

Mint is known for its wild appearance and strong, vigorous scent. It is a hardy perennial that needs very little care once established. Kids love it because it will establish quickly, rewarding them with quick results. Mint likes well-drained but moist soil. Most varieties do very well in full sun, but typically can tolerate a bit of shade. Full-grown plants will be 1 – 2 feet tall, but keep in mind, left untamed, mint spreads fast. Prune regularly if a well-shaped plant is the end goal. Water enough to keep soil moist.

Radishes

While it is not uncommon for many children to dislike the taste of radishes, most kids do love to grow them. They grow very fast, and the small, bright red round roots that appear popping out of the soil are both fun and exciting. Since radishes are ready to harvest in less than 4 weeks, they are extremely gratifying for young gardeners. Plant in the spring or fall, but in the hottest part of the summer, they will bolt – which means they will not produce the edible radish part of the plant. They do like sunny areas and if they do not get enough sun, they will begin putting energy into producing larger leaves rather than a vegetable to harvest. Plant in rich organic matter and water consistently.

Carrots

Every kid loves growing carrots. There is great satisfaction in pulling the long, brightly colored root from the ground. Carrots can grow in several climates and are generally a cool-weather vegetable. Plant in light, loose soil. Most of the time, soil will need sand added for optimal growth. Be sure to till deep into the ground, as carrots simply will not work hard to grow deep, instead giving up if they hit any clumps in their path. Do not try to transplant carrots – they should be planted directly in the soil where they will grow. Plant in full sun to light shade. Extremely shaded carrots will not grow as abundantly. Soil should remain moist, but water shallowly while seeds are germinating. Do not allow top soil to dry out or crust over.

Borage

Borage’s delicate, drooping, star-shaped pale blue blooms that come from hairy, bristly buds are a kid-favorite mostly because the plant is different and fun to watch grow. It is a quick-growing annual but will self-seed and return in future years if left to do so. It produces cucumber-flavored leaves and will attract bees to the garden. Borage likes well-drained soil and full or partial sun best, but this easy-to-grow plant will do well in any type of soil. Keep in mind, though, borage does not tolerate transplanting well. Water evenly until established, and once established, it is fine to allow soil to dry out between waterings.

Squash

Squash is by far one of the most thrilling vegetables for kids to grow. It will sprawl, and huge green leaves and vines can spread wide and far, tripling or even quadrupling in size, making squash fascinating for gardeners of any age. Squash grows best in warm weather, and it should be planted in fertile, rich soil. Virtually all varieties of squash, whether growing summer squash or butternut squash, need consistent moisture throughout the growing season.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a delight to grow. When timed right, it can be easy to harvest your own jack-o-lantern this Halloween. Whether growing small pumpkins for pies, or hoping for a huge pumpkin to carve, pumpkins of any variety take the same amount of time to mature to harvest. Anywhere between 90 and 120 days after planting, pumpkins will be ready to pick. They like full sun but can thrive even if planted in partial shade. Water frequently and deeply and take care to keep leaves and foliage dry to avoid mildew.

Lettuces

Children love to grow lettuce for the simple reason that it is easy, it will grow in both spring and fall and it matures very quickly. While there are many varieties of lettuce, all are fairly easy to take care of, and since it does not need to develop deep roots, lettuce can succeed in a variety of locations around the yard. Lettuce won’t tolerate extreme heat and it should be planted in loose soil. Consider adding organic material to provide it with necessary nutrients and to improve drainage. Water lightly but be consistent. Be careful not to overwater.

Violas

Violas are available in many different species, but all are very easy to grow and take care of, making them an ideal plant to use in gardens that children will tend. Viola flowers are edible and the bright, vivid blooms that come in white, yellow, blue, cream and that classic deep violet are a fun and pretty addition in salads, frozen in ice for summer drinks or just as garnish. Plant violas in full sun in rich, well-drained moist soil. Keep soil moist, but do not overwater.

Parsley

Most herbs are easy to grow, and parsley is no exception. Its lush, full foliage makes it a great companion plant that looks nice when contrasted against brightly colored flowers like petunias. Parsley grows in abundance from spring until the first frost, although in more mild climates, it can be even be frost proof and survive winters. Parsley likes partial shade or full sun, and it should be planted in rich soil. Water thoroughly whenever the topsoil is dry.

Gardening is a life-long hobby that brings people old and young outdoors, and it can be a year-round, relaxing and rewarding activity. Exposing children to it can not only instill a love and appreciation for the outdoors, but also expose them to new and healthy foods that they may be more inclined to try (and love!) since they had a part in growing them. Choosing the right plants, that are easy to grow and will have the best chance at putting on a show for kids to appreciate, is a good way to ensure the garden, and the children’s excitement, pays off.

The Structure of a Plant

There are many different kinds of plants. Some have flowers. Some don’t. Some give us fruits. Some give us vegetables. Some plants are poisonous, some have thorns and some are food for animals.

Even though there are so many different kinds of plants, there are several things about plants that are alike. Let’s look at some of the ways plants are alike:

  • Plants start from seeds (most of them, anyway)
  • Plants have roots
  • Plants have stems
  • Plants have leaves
  • Plants need soil, sun and water to live
  • Plants make their own food (photosynthesis)
  • All plants give us oxygen

How plants are made

Almost all plants start from a seed. When the seed is planted in the soil, it germinates.

Here is how it happens…

Once the seeds are in the soil, they need water and warm soil to be able to take in oxygen and minerals from the soil and water through the seed coat’s tiny pores (holes) to give the inside of the seed the food it needs to break open and make its way through the soil so it can grow into a plant.

When the seed is full enough, it pops open. The first parts of the seed to come through the seed coat are the cotyledon and the radicle (root). The root takes hold of the soil and starts to take in food from the soil. But because it is still so small, the cotyledon is still the main source of food for the seed.

The next part of the seed that appears is the hypocotyl. The hypocotyl is sometimes called the understem because it first appears under the cotyledon. The hypocotyl continues to grow upward with the epicotyl. The epicotyl becomes the first leaves of the new plant.

By the time the epicotyl are showing, the plant is now above the ground. When this happens, the cotyledon (which is sometimes called the seed leaves and looks like thin, dried brownish-white skin) has finished its job. Because their job is done, they fall off the plant and become part of the soil.

Once the cotyledon are gone, the plant’s tiny leaves take over the job of supplying food to the new plant.

The growing plant

Once you have a plant with two sets of leaves on the new stem, the plant starts making its own food. It continues to drink water through its roots, too. The water also gives the plant vitamins and minerals it gets from the soil. All of these things help to make the plant grow.

Plants don’t just grow on top of the ground, though. The root system of a plant grows as the plant grows. The main root that comes out of the seed is the tap root or main root. It is connected to the stem of the plant and sends water and nourishment from the soil to the stem of the plant. The tap root gets lots of help from the lateral roots. The lateral roots also help to hold the plant in the ground.

The parts of the plant

The stem is the main part of the plant. It is strong enough to hold the weight of the leaves and flowers and carries the water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, flowers and fruits or vegies. Without a healthy stem, a plant cannot survive.

Buds are the first thing to grow on the stem of a plant. Buds are little bumps on the stem that grow into petioles. The petiole is another name for the:

    • Branch of a tree
    • Smaller stems with leaves or flowers on the end of them

Leaves appear on the plant soon after the stem comes through the ground. The leaves are responsible for making food for the whole plant to eat. The leaves use sunlight, water (from the stem) and carbon dioxide (from the air) to make sugar for the plant to eat.

If the plant is a non-flowering plant, it will continue to grow and make more leaves over time. If the plant is a flowering plant, the plant will grow and make more leaves, but it will also be working to make flowers.

If the plant is a flowering plant, the flowers on a plant appear after the plant has matured (grown up). In some plants, the flowers turn into fruits or vegetables. In other plants, the flowers are ‘just’ flowers.

Every flower sits on the end of a stem. Some flowers (like tulips) have a single stem for a flower to sit on. Other flowers (like marigolds) have several stems; each with a flower on the end of it.

When we look at a flower we see the pretty colors and designs of the petals. But did you know flowers actually have many different parts and that each part has a special job?

The receptacle is the green ‘cup’ the flower sits in. The receptacle is directly connected to the stem. The colorful parts of the flower are called petals. Inside the petals of the flower you will find all the parts needed for the flower to make seeds so more flowers can grow.

The parts inside the flowers are:

  • The stigma and the style. The stigma is the tube in the center of the flower. The style is the opening of the stigma. These two parts together are called the pistal.
  • The stigma brings pollen up from the part of the receptacle called the nectary. The nectary is where nectar is made. These are the flower’s juices that bees take with the pollen to make honey.
  • Stamen are the thin tubes that surround the pistal.
  • Anthers are the fat tips at the top of the stamen. The anthers are covered in pollen.

Flower power

Use a magnifying glass to examine as many different flowers as you can find. How are each of them different?

Read more about Plant Facts for Kids

Facts about Flowers for Kids

To most humans, flowers are seen as objects to decorate homes, gardens, bodies, and more. However, flowers have a much more important purpose than decorating. Flowers are the part of plants that make seeds which in turn make new plants. In order to make a seed, pollen from one flower has to combine with the eggs from another flower; this is called pollination. Flowers are highly adapted to attract their specific pollinators such as bees, flies, moths, hummingbirds, and bats just to name a few. This is why flowers are brightly colored and highly scented making them the beautiful creations that they are. The facts about flowers are that without them, we would not have food, medicines, dyes, textiles, and other necessities of daily living. There are so many interesting facts about flowers!

How Flowers Eat and Grow–Photosynthesis

  • Some facts about flowers are that flowers get their food from sunlight, water, and minerals in the soil; flowers are the reproductive parts of a plant, and plants make their own food by photosynthesis.

  • Plants can photosynthesize due to cells called chloroplasts that contain chlorophyll; this is what makes plants green. Sun strikes the chloroplasts and combines with carbon dioxide that plants get from their leaves, and water that plants get through their roots, to produce sugar, or glucose. This is the plant’s food, and this gives the plant energy to grow and produce flowers.

  • Plants take in carbon dioxide, or CO 2 ,through little holes in their leaves, which are called stomata. They then produce and release oxygen through the stomata. Plants and animals were meant to live together! Animals need the oxygen that plants put out, and plants need the carbon dioxide that animals put out.

  • Sometimes people add fertilizer, or plant food, to give plants extra minerals and nutrients so that they can grow better. Fertilizer does not take the place of sunlight and water.

  • Without sunlight and water, plants will die.

Parts of a Flower

  • The outside of a flower that can be seen easily consists of petals, the colored part of the flower, and the sepals, the small green structures that look like little petals at the base of the flower.

  • Inside a flower is the pistil, or the female parts of the flower. The pistil looks like a vase with a long neck. The top of this “vase” is called the stigma. The long neck is called the style. The bottom, fatter part of the vase is the ovary and contains the ovules, or eggs.

  • Also inside the flower are the male parts of the flower, called the stamens. The stamen consists of the anther and the filament. The filament looks like a stiff, standing piece of string. On top of the filament is a rounded ball of pollen called the anther. The pollen is usually a bright yellow or orange color.

  • Pollinators like bees, animals, and birds come and gather pollen from the flowers. The pollen sticks to their bodies. When they go to visit another flower to gather more pollen, the pollen from the previous flower drops into the pistil of the new flower, fertilizes the eggs inside the ovary, and seeds are made.

Interesting Facts about Flowers

  • Flowers did not always exist; they first appeared 140 million years ago. Before that, ferns and cone bearing trees dominated the earth.

  • Several centuries ago in Holland, tulips were more valuable than gold.

  • Broccoli is actually a flower.

  • Some plants such as orchids do not need soil to grow-they get all of their nutrients from the air.

  • Some plants produce toxic substances that kill other plants around them-the sunflower is an example.

  • Carnivorous plants are flowering plants that eat bugs and small animals! For example, the Venus fly trap has leaves covered by little hairs. When a bug lands on the hairs, the trap snaps shut and digestive juices digest the bug. Other carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants have leaves that form pitchers that are full of digestive fluids. Insects, frogs, and other small creatures are attracted to the nectar and bright colors on the pitchers and flowers. Some unfortunate critters fall in, drown, and are digested.

Fun Facts about Flowers: Weird Flowers

  • Not all flowers smell good. One of the world’s rarest, largest, smelliest, and strangest looking flower is the titan arum, or the corpse flower. It is called the corpse flower because it smells like a rotting dead body. The bloom is over 8 foot tall and 12 feet in circumference. They smell like rotting flesh in order to attract flies, their preferred pollinator. People have been known to pass out from the smell!

  • The largest Flower in the world is the flower of the Puya raimondii, which has a flower stalk 35,000 feet tall and bears over 8,000 white flowers.

  • Mimosa punica, or sensitive plant, will actually fold up its leaves when it is touched. It has whitish pink fuzzy flowers that look like little pom poms.

  • The Bird of Paradise is a beautiful, oddly shaped plant that resembles a colorful tropical bird.

  • Corkscrew vine flower, Vigna Caracalla, has a flower shaped like nautilus shells.

Flowers for Kids-Fun Activities to Do with Flowers

  • Snap Dragon flowers look like little mouths. If you squeeze the sides of the flower, the mouth will open and it can “eat” things. When you release the sides of the flower, it will close again.

  • Lunaria, or money plant, has purple flowers that turn into silver papery quarter shaped seedpods that can be used like play money or jewelry.

  • False dragonhead or obedient plant has a spike full of flowers that can be bent into position.

  • Hollyhocks are fun flowers for kids. They have large beautiful flowers that can be made into dolls. Cut off a flower, bud and all for the body and skirt and then choose a bud for the head. Attach it with a toothpick. Draw a face with markers.

  • Press and dry flowers and make crafts. Pick flowers that can be flattened, like violets and put them between the pages of very heavy books. The pressed flowers can be made into placemats, jewelry, and other crafts.

  • One of the fun facts about flowers is that some flowers can be eaten! Flowers of the squash flowers, such as pumpkin blossoms, can be fried in a batter and eaten. Violas, nasturtiums, pansies, and violets can be candied or frozen into ice cubes. Dandelion flowers can be made into jellies, added to salads, or made into tea. Before you eat any flower, make sure an adult has said it is safe. Some plants are poisonous or have been sprayed with poisonous pesticides.

  • Make a daisy chain of flowers by picking flowers with long stems, making a slit in the stem, and pulling the stem of the second stem through until the flower head can’t be pulled through. Continue this to make a chain which can be made into jewelry or garlands.

Flower Facts

Explore Flowers

Flower Research Database

Gardening/Outdoors Links

The Great Plant Escape-games for kids

The Parts of a Flower

Good Guys in the Garden

Stinking Flowers

A “Starter Kit” of Edible Flowers for the Garden and Table (pdf)

Edible Flowers

Weird Plants

Corkscrew Vine

Bird of Paradise

A Garden of Discovery

Take a Child Outside!

Pressed Flower Placemats

How Do Plants Make Food

How Do Primary Producers Make Their Own Food? (pdf)

Common Misconceptions about Plants

Plant Facts

Flower Facts for Kids

Written By Ava Rose.

The different types of plants in the world

There is an incredible number of different plants in the world. Humans separate plants according to particular traits. Some of the most important differences between plants are whether they have seeds or vascular tissue. Plants have been grouped into twelve different phyla depending on these characteristics. Incidentally, learning about the types of plants also takes us on an evolutionary journey as plants emerged from aquatic systems and increased in complexity.

The different types of plants represented in an evolutionary tree. Image credits: Maulucioni.

Plants without seeds

Algae: There are three different types of algae: red, green, and brown. They live in water and, for this reason, are considered primitive plants. All plants started off growing in water, and as single celled organisms. More evolutionarily advanced plants left the water. Algae are photosynthetic organisms that range from unicellular organisms to large multicellular forms.

Liverworts and hornworts:

Liverworts are small plants that grow in damp environments. They do not contain the vascular tissue that transports water from the roots to leaves, which is why liverworts are usually very small and need to live in moist places. Liverworts grow simply by expanding themselves. They do not have a true root, stem or leaves. Hornworts are similar, but have a sporophyte, which is a horn-like structure.

ADVERTISEMENTA liverwort. Image credits: Lairich Rig.

Mosses:

Mosses are close relatives of liverworts and thrive in similar environments, damp areas near water sources. However, they do not require soil to grow, which is why you can see rocks and trees covered in moss. Mosses grow apically — in other words, stems grow from their tips or other special points on the stem. Flowering plants also grow this way.

Mosses growing on rock. Image credits: brewbooks.

Vascular plants without seeds

Ferns:

Ferns need wet environments to reproduce so the sperm cell can swim to join with the egg cell. A new fern develops from the resulting zygote. However, ferns can survive periods with less water better than mosses and worts. Millions of years ago, ferns dominated the land and were the most common plants. There were massive fern forests.

The underside of a fern, showing the spores. Image credits: .

Other types:

There are several other plants that have vascular tissue but lack seeds. Whisk ferns are primitive ferns that lack typical plant organs, such as leaves. Clubmosses have branching stems with simple leaves. Horsetails, also called snake grass or puzzlegrass, are found in the only extant (still living) genus in its family. More species within the same family existed millions of years ago, including very tall trees. Club mosses and horsetails are considered fern allies since all of these plants reproduce by spores and not by seeds.

Horsetails are a very ancient type of plant. Image credits: Rror.

Plants with seeds

Gymnosperms

Cycads:

Cycads are trees that like moisture and heat, therefore, they mostly grow in Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. They generally have long, thin leaves, and produce a cone-like structure which makes them look like palms with cones. Cycads possess a crown of large compound leaves and a thick trunk. There are only a few species left, but they were very common during the Jurassic period, which is often called the “Age of Cycads.”

ADVERTISEMENTA cycad. Image credits: .

Ginkgo:

There is currently only one ginkgo species in existence, Ginkgo biloba. It has not changed very much since the Permian period — when it covered large parts of the world — and is therefore called a living fossil. They have fan-shaped leaves, and trees are either male or female. They produce fleshy seeds that have a strong odour. Ginkgo is only found naturally in central China, but has been purposefully planted in gardens and parks around the world. Flowering plants, however, are outcompeting it.

A gingko tree. Image credits: .

Gnetophyta:

The phylum gnetophyta is also a gymnosperm and consists of three genera that are not closely related. There are about 70 species in total. Ephedra is the largest genus, and its plants grow in deserts. Welwitschia plants grow in the desert in southwestern Africa; they have long, thin leaves. The last genus in the phylum is the namesake called Gnetum.

A plant from the Welwitschia genus. Image credits: Bries.

Conifers:

Conifers have woody trunks and produce cones with seeds. They grow mostly in cold northern climates and keep their leaves throughout the year. Conifers have naked seeds that are protected by cones, and the male and female cones are produced on the same tree. The pollen cones are male and produce the pollen that is spread to the female gametophyte found inside the seed cone. Seed cones are female and contain eggs on scales that form seeds when fertilized.

Conifers have seeds in protective cones. Image credits: John Haslam.

Angiosperms

Flowering plants:

Flowering plants, also called angiosperms, have male and female parts. The male parts produce pollen that is dispersed, and upon reaching the female parts produces an embryo that develops into a seed. Wind and pollinators, like bees, can pollinate these plants. Angiosperms produce flowers and fruit, and the seeds are produced and protected within this fruit. Angiosperms are divided into two groups. Monocotyledons (monocots) have one seed leaf, while dicotyledons (dicots) have two seed leaves. Monocots have parallel veins, scattered vascular tissue, and flower parts that grow in multiples of three. Dicots have net-like veins, vascular tissue in rings in the stems, flower parts that grow in multiples of 4 or 5, and are often woody. Angiosperms form the plant group most equipped to handle dry conditions, which is why they are now the most widespread plant type.

Flowering plants. Image credits: Mostafameraji.

We are now living in the era of flowering plants. Evolutionarily, they are the most advanced and they make up the largest proportion of plants in the world. There are still many other diverse plant species that grow alongside them.

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