If you’re a beginner gardener, it can sometimes be overwhelming to figure out where to start. You don’t want to pick difficult plants & immediately shoot yourself in the foot. We’re here to help! Here’s our roundup of 25 great plants to try for beginner gardeners.
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Now is the perfect time to start a garden! Spring is coming and the need for self-sufficiency is greater than ever. In this modern world, it’s become less common to have access to your own food supply, but that doesn’t have to be the case! You can grow your own safety net of delicious, nutritious food, starting with these easy to grow, high yield plants!
– Vegetables –
Learn more tips & tricks for planting lettuce here.
Garlic is incredibly easy to grow and disease resistant. You can plant garlic in the fall or spring, depending on the harshness of your winters. We typically plant them in autumn in Zone 8 to give them more time to grow large heads. After planting, garlic takes very little maintenance before harvesting in late summer.
Read more about growing garlic from start to finish here.
Want More Help Growing Garlic?
Check out this video for more tips & tricks on planting onions.
Onions are incredibly easy to grow and naturally disease resistant. And look on the bright side, if they don’t do well, you’ll still have onion greens to eat!
Learn more about planting your spring onion starts in the ground here.
Zucchini was one of my first plants as a beginner gardener. And despite having it in a tiny container, it still took off! I was up to my eyeballs in zukes. I highly recommend as a low-maintenance, high-yield plant for beginner gardeners.
Cherry tomatoes were my other “beginner” plant, back in the day. With their small size, you can worry a little less about blossom end rot and some of the problems that come with full-sized tomatoes. Something like a Patio Tomato would be perfect for a container garden or balcony. Low maintenance and nothing beats the taste of a homegrown tomato!
Learn the secret to a big tomato harvest here.
Cucumber is another prolific plant. A small cucumber variety is great for beginner gardeners. Make sure you water them consistently because inconsistent watering can result in bitter cukes. But other than that, just give them tons of light.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas can be planted in both spring and fall, though a spring planting will yield sweeter fruit. Because they’re trellised, they can help occupy vertical space in your garden. Plus, they’re very low maintenance. Stay on top of harvesting and you’ll have more peas than you know what to do with.
Though we’ve found regular radishes to be a little tricky, daikon radishes grow like weeds. They’re a 12-18 inch long radish that resembles a giant carrot, with a similar bite to traditional radish. However, because of their size, they’re great for breaking up soil in your garden and prepping upcoming beds.
Potatoes are an easy plant to grow that performs well in poor soil conditions. You can get seed potatoes at your local nursery. If there are some large potatoes in the pack with multiple sprouts, you can cut them in half to increase your harvest. Just let them sit out to scab over for a few days before putting them in the ground. Small seed potatoes you can plant directly. They take very little upkeep until harvest time. Try something fun like a purple potato!
– Herbs –
Basil is incredibly resilient. It just keeps growing. Often times, our biggest problem is staying on top of the harvest. You can grow basil in a container or sow directly in the ground. It also does wells in an indoor herb garden. Pairs great with your cherry tomatoes.
Mint is an indestructible plant. But for that reason, growers beware. It will take over your garden and you’ll never get rid of it. It survived our move, it survived being incredibly root-bound in its pot, and it still keeps coming back for more.
Rosemary is a wonderful perennial. Once you plant it in the ground, it will die off in the winter and come back year after year. It’s cold hardy and will get very large if you don’t keep trimming it back. So be sure to harvest those herbs! Rosemary can also thrive in poor soil conditions and with very little water.
Cilantro is surprisingly hardy. We’ve dug ours out of the snow in winter and it’s been just fine. Plant seeds every few weeks, so you have a continuous supply. When buying seeds, be sure to look for slow-bolting varieties. And if you let it go to seed at the end of the season, you can harvest coriander, which is the citrusy seed of cilantro.
Dill is a prolific grower. A few plants will give you more dill than you know what to do with. If you’re growing it outdoors, consider letting it go to seed. Pollinators are a huge fan of the flowers. You can also use dill flowers and seeds for pickling your cucumbers.
– Flowers –
Nothing perks up my spirit like seeing daffodils blooming in early spring. They’re a cold-hardy, very easy perennial flower. Just plant the bulbs in fall and you’ll see them bloom the following spring!
Marigolds are another garden staple. We just started our own Marigolds under the grow lights for this spring. They grow quickly from seed or you can pick up starts at your local nursery. Plus, the bright yellow color attracts bees and they repel mosquitos. They’re the perfect flower for beginner gardeners.
Zinnias are incredibly easy to grow. They’re a garden staple. We grow them every year. They can be sown directly in the ground in spring and come in a beautiful rainbow of colors. Zinnias also particularly great for attracting pollinators and butterflies.
Calendula is a great flower for starting your medicinal garden. It’s very easy to grow from seed and incredibly low maintenance. The flowers can be dried and infused in skincare products to help with acne, inflammation, healing minor scrapes, and sunburns.
I’ve always wanted a Forsythia because it’s the first thing to bloom in early spring, typically weeks before anything else. They’re slow to start from seed, but also a very hardy perennial that survives our winters in Zone 8. One thing to keep in mind is that Forsythia can get quite large, so you’ll want to stay up on the trimming. It makes a lovely, floral hedge.
We have Honeysuckle growing at our new property and it’s just lovely with wonderfully fragrant flowers. It’s a vining perennial, so it’s great for filling vertical space in your garden. It’s also tolerant down to medium sun conditions and can grow in almost any kind of soil! The fact that Honeysuckle is semi-evergreen means that it can have foliage all year, depending on the harshness of your winters. Though I find that even in Zone 8, it loses all its leaves in the winter.
We had to leave our Hydrangea behind at the old place, but we will be getting a replacement. They’re hardy enough to grow in almost any environment. Plus, the color of the flowers depends on the Ph of your soil, so you could end up with blue, purple, or even pink flowers!
– Fruit –
We’ve been growing strawberries for a few years and I can say that they’re incredibly hardy. Just pick up some bare-root strawberry plants at your local nursery in early spring. They overwinter like a champ and will put out “runners” every year. Basically, the plant just keeps multiplying.
Raspberries are surprisingly easy to grow. Give them a few years and they’ll spread, dominating the space they’re in. You can get both summer and autumn fruiting varieties. Trim them back every February and you’ll have a strong harvest year after year!
Blackberries can, for sure, take over. We have more than our fair share of them growing around the property. If not maintained, they can become a huge pain. But for that reason, they’re also very low maintenance. They’ll grow in almost any environment and make a great hedge or fence. Just be sure to cut them back every year before you’re drowning in blackberries.
There you have it! That’s our list for the 25 best plants for beginner gardeners. They’re all very fruitful, easy to start, and easy to maintain. We hope you’ll give gardening a try and plant at least a few of these varieties this year.
Get Ahead of the Season…
If you’re interested in getting more information on how to grow a specific plant mentioned, please let us know in the comments below.
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