11 Themed Gardens Kids Will Love

Gardening with kids is so rewarding and can be a lot of fun. If you are looking to get your budding gardener more involved, it might be time to give them their own garden! In this article, gardening expert and mom Jill Drago suggests 11 themed gardens that your kids will love to grow and care for.

A mother and son kneel by a raised garden bed, tending to abundant veggies and flowers.

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Gardening with kids is so much fun. It can teach them that hard work pays off, where their food comes from, and all about pollination. Incorporating a fun-themed garden for a child in your life is a great way to up the fun and engagement. 

These gardens could include edibles or ornamental species, but they should always be fun! When you are selecting plants, keep your child in mind. Colors, textures, taste, and smell are all key characteristics that could make your garden extra special. 

If coming up with an idea for a kid-themed garden is another task to add to your lengthy to-do list, that’s where I come in. I have put together 11 themed garden ideas in this article that your kids will love! Have fun out there!

All About Me Garden

I started with my favorite garden theme. An all-about-me garden is very personal to your child. Using information such as their birthday, favorite color, and name, hunt for plants that will go hand in hand with these details. This creates a very special and unique garden. 

Use your child’s favorite things to inspire you as you shop for plants. A sweet garden sign with your child’s name on it would make for a nice personalized touch. This may give your child a sense of responsibility and ownership over their new garden and excite them about growing with you!  

Birth Month 

January Carnation
February Violet
March Daffodil
April Daisy
May Lily of the Valley
June Rose
July Water Lily
August Gladiolus
September Morning Glory
October Cosmos
November Chrysanthemum
December Holly

Name

Selecting plants that share a name with your child can be a little tricky. Of course, if your child’s name is Rose or Lily, you will have no problem. The good news is that there are so many varieties of plants that, with a little help from Google, you will be able to locate a variety that shares your child’s name or even nickname.

Favorite Color

If your child is a pink fiend or only loves the deep shades of red or purple keep those shades in mind while you are selecting plants. If you want to keep this special garden around for more than one season, be sure to select a few perennials so you will have good bones to start with next spring.

Favorite Food 

Have a chat with your child about their favorite foods or dishes. Recreate their favorite dish by planting ingredients. For example, pizza or salad gardens are really fun, and I get into those a bit later.

Alphabet Garden

When your child is learning the ABCs, their vowels, or how to spell their name, the more exposure they have, the better! You could spin this alphabet garden in any way that suits your needs!

Select a plant that begins with a given letter, depending on what you are working on with your children. Anything goes! Choose fun plants that will work for your garden space. 

Paint rocks with the alphabet to place in the garden, and don’t forget to use plant markers! If you are really motivated, you could shape the garden into one letter or give each plant its own letter shape!

Amaranth

Close-up of a blooming Amaranthus cruentus in a sunny garden. Amaranthus cruentus, also known as red amaranth, features vibrant red or maroon leaves with a lance-shaped, elongated appearance. The plant produces dense, upright flower spikes covered in tiny, red or maroon flowers.
This is a unique, upright annual with late summer to fall fluffy plume blooms in various colors.
botanical-name botanical name Amaranthus cruentus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Amaranth is a fun and less common annual to add to your garden. The upright growth of varieties such as ‘Hot Biscuits’ makes it easy to incorporate into any flower bed.

The fluffy plumes bloom in the late summer through fall and make excellent cut flowers. Flowers could be red, tan, or even pink, depending on which variety you select. 

Black-Eyed Susan

Close-up of blooming Rudbeckia hirta in a sunny garden. Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as black-eyed Susan, showcases bright, golden-yellow daisy-like flowers with a prominent dark central disk, resembling a black eye. Its leaves are lance-shaped, rough, and covered with coarse hairs.
Consider this easy-to-maintain, yellow-blooming plant in your alphabet garden.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia hirta 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

If you tend to love perennials more than annuals, black-eyed susans are beautiful and easy-to-care-for plants for your alphabet garden! Blooming through most of the summer and into the fall, these plants will be covered in golden yellow flowers. 

Plant black-eyed susans en masse for maximum impact or containers if that suits your garden style more. Pollinators love black-eyed susans, so prepare for lots of bumble bee activity!

Cosmos

Close-up of blooming Cosmos bipinnatus in the garden. Cosmos bipinnatus features delicate, fern-like, bipinnate leaves that give the plant a feathery appearance. It produces vibrant, daisy-like flowers with a variety of colors, including shades of pink and white, surrounding a prominent yellow or brown central disk.
Easily grow tall, colorful cosmos from seed or nursery starts, making them ideal for children.
botanical-name botanical name Cosmos bipinnatus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-5 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Cosmos are easy and breezy plants that you could grow from seed or purchase as live nursery starts from a local garden center. There are varieties of cosmos in shades of red, oranges, and even pink, such as the ‘Sea Shells’ blend.

Cosmos are great for children because the plants themselves grow quite tall, while the flowers are dainty and plentiful! Deadhead these flowers to encourage season-long blooming.

Daisy

Close-up of Leucanthemum x superbum blooming in the garden. Leucanthemum x superbum, commonly known as Shasta daisy, is characterized by its dark green, lance-shaped leaves that form a basal rosette. The plant produces large, classic daisy flowers with pristine white petals and a bright yellow central disk.
Cheerful and attractive, Shasta daisies with white petals and yellow centers are great for pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Leucanthemum x superbum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

There isn’t a flower more cheerful than daisies. While there are many different types of daisies available, Shasta daisies are easy to find and easy to grow! Classic white petaled daisies with bright yellow centers will cover this mid-size perennial. 

Daisies are excellent plants if you want to attract pollinators to your garden. These perennials will grow nicely for years in your flower beds or containers!

Animal Garden 

Most kids will go through a phase when they are really into animals. Who am I kidding? Most adults love animals, too! Wildlife makes the perfect theme for a kid’s garden, no matter their age.

Start by selecting a few animals that your child loves and begin the hunt for plants with similar names. The list below is just a starting point to get your imagination going, but you could go in any direction you want. If you have a tiger lover, you could fill a garden with orange and black plants. 

Finish your animal garden by adding a few toy animals to the landscape and using animal-shaped plant markers so that your child knows which plant belongs to which animal. Alternatively, you can design your garden to attract wildlife and enjoy watching all the critters who come to visit!

Elephant Ear

Close-up of a large Alocasia plant in a sunny garden. Alocasia, also known as elephant ear or African mask plant, is renowned for its striking, large, heart-shaped leaves. These leaves are large, wide, heart-shaped, with wavy edges and distinct veins.
Plant elephant ear tubers indoors or in the ground after frost.
botanical-name botanical name Alocasia spp.  
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height Up to 10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

Elephant ears are tubers that produce large green or deep purple leaves. Start your tubers indoors 4-6 weeks before your last frost or directly in the ground after the threat of frost has passed. Keep these plants well mulched and watered.

Overwinter the tubers by digging them out of the ground and removing any excess dirt. Store the tuber in a dark, dry place for the winter and plant again in the spring!

Catmint

Close-up of a flowering Nepeta plant in a sunny garden. Nepeta, commonly known as catmint, features aromatic, gray-green, and deeply toothed leaves with a soft, velvety texture. The plant produces small, tubular flowers that come in shades of lavender and blue, and are arranged in spikes.
Catmint, a delight for cat lovers, brings beauty with its aromatic silver foliage and purple flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Nepeta spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

For the feline lover in your life, catmint can add a lot of beauty to your garden. The fluffy silver foliage is aromatic and beautiful on its own. The spiked purple flowers kick it up a notch. Once the flowers begin to fade, trim the plant back to encourage a second bloom.

These flowers can be drought-tolerant once established. Catmint attracts a lot of bees, which offers great opportunities to talk about pollination and the value of bees in our gardens. 

Lamb’s Ear

Close-up of flowering Stachys byzantina plants in a sunny garden. Stachys byzantina, commonly known as lamb's ear, is recognized for its densely clustered, soft, and fuzzy, silver-gray leaves that resemble the texture of a lamb's ear. Lamb's ear occasionally produces small, inconspicuous, and purple-pink flowers on tall spikes.
Named for its velvety leaves, low-growing lamb’s ear sprouts purple spikes in late spring.
botanical-name botanical name Stachys byzantina
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6 inches to 2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

Lamb’s ear gets its name because of its velvety soft foliage. This perennial is low-growing and sprawling. The purple spiked flowers will bloom in the late spring or early summer. If you cut these spikes back, the plant will produce more foliage. 

The texture of the lamb’s ear is a main draw for children in the garden, especially those who crave new sensory experiences. This perennial is easy to grow and remains beautiful on its own so long as the leaves do not get too wet. 

Zebra Grass

Close-up of Miscanthus sinensis in the garden. Miscanthus sinensis, commonly known as Zebra Grass, exhibits tall, graceful stems with long, arching leaves. The leaves are narrow, linear, and green, often featuring white midribs or variegations.
Robust and tall zebra grass has decorative striped leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Miscanthus sinensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 5-7 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Zebra grass is a fun and strong ornamental grass. Just like zebras, this grass is decorated with ornamental stripes up and down the long blades of grass. Zebra grass gets pretty tall and would make a great border for a hideout.

Zebra grass produces deep pink flower plumes. You can leave your ornamental grass in place or cut it down to within a foot from the ground in the fall or spring. 

Dinosaur Garden

Dinosaurs are such a fun part of childhood. It is easy to understand why these giant creatures find a place in children’s hearts. 

Growing a dinosaur garden is all about setting the scene. Choosing plants that give a prehistoric vibe is the place to start. Consider growing your dinosaur garden in a raised bed to make play easier for your children. 

Add your kid’s favorite dinosaur toys and rocks, and you have the perfect play setup!

Coleus

Close-up of Coleus scutellarioides. Coleus scutellarioides, commonly known as coleus or painted nettle, is celebrated for its vibrant and variegated leaves. The leaves are heart-shaped or oval and come in a shade of red with intricate serrated edges in a lime shade.
This annual with vibrant foliage in various colors thrives in partial shade, and trimming the flowers encourages lush growth.
botanical-name botanical name Coleus scutellarioides
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade to shade 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

The annual coleus is grown primarily for its fun and colorful foliage. You can find varieties of coleus in orange, green, or multicolored swirls of deep red, white, green, and pink. These plants do best with some shade. Deadhead the flowers to promote more foliar growth!

Coleus has a fun prehistoric look to it. It can grow up to three feet tall, giving even the tallest of the dinosaurs a perfect hiding space. 

Coral Bells

Close-up of Sugar Plum Coral Bells in the garden. The Sugar Plum Coral Bells, a variety of Heuchera, boasts exquisite foliage with its semi-evergreen, rounded leaves featuring shades of deep purple, silver, and green, creating a striking and multicolored effect. It produces delicate, airy flower spikes that rise above the foliage, showing small bell-shaped flowers in shades of pink and white.
These shade-tolerant plants feature colorful, palmate leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Heuchera spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Coral bells produce palmate leaves that are available in a variety of colors. This mounded perennial will stay low to the ground, only growing to about two feet tall. In the summer, you will notice some inconspicuous blooms, which you can leave on the plant or deadhead if you do not like them. 

Coral bells like a bit of shade but are tolerant of sun. These plants are available at nurseries in various sizes, from gallon pots to eight-inch pots. The smaller the pot, the more opportunity you have to add in a few different colors of coral bells. 

Kale

Close-up of two different types of Kale growing in two rows in a sunny garden. Kale, a leafy green vegetable, is distinguished by its deeply lobed leaves that form a dense, rosette-like cluster. The leaves of one species are bright green, while the other species are deep purple. The sturdy, ruffled leaves of kale give it a robust and hearty appearance.
Kale, a superfood and ornamental plant, can grow up to two feet tall with deep green leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

The well-known superfood veggie can also double as a beautiful ornamental plant for your dinosaur garden. In fact, there is even a variety of kale called ‘Lacinato Dinosaur Kale.’ These rugged leafy greens can grow up to two feet tall with deep green leaves and thick ribs. 

Be sure to harvest your kale as the season goes on and use it in soups and other hearty dishes. Kale enjoys cool temperatures and will survive well into the fall and sometimes through winter in warmer locations. 

Ostrich Fern 

Close-up of Matteuccia struthiopteris. Matteuccia struthiopteris, commonly known as ostrich fern, is recognized for its vibrant green, lance-shaped fronds that resemble the plumes of an ostrich. These fronts have a lush, feathery appearance, and they grow in a distinctive vase-like shape.
Consider planting ostrich ferns for their towering height, finely dissected fronds, and perennial nature in a dinosaur garden.
botanical-name botanical name Matteuccia struthiopteris
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade 
height height 4-6 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7

When planning a dinosaur garden, it is almost a requirement that you plant some type of fern, and the ostrich fern is a great choice. This fern can grow to six feet tall with long fronds of finely dissected plumes. 

Ostrich ferns and many other ferns are perennials and will return nicely year after year. Remove any discolored or dead fronds, and divide the plants into smaller clumps if your ferns appear crowded.

Fairy Garden

Fairy gardens are very popular in the kiddo world. There are endless possibilities to customize these tiny spaces. When I imagine a fairy garden, I envision tiny benches, homes carved into tree trunks, and giant mushrooms. 

Select plants with a whimsical feel that would appear huge to fairies! Try to shrink yourself down and envision plants the way tiny fairies would see them.

Most craft stores sell lovely accessories for fairy gardens, but you could easily make your own. Start by painting some rocks with glittery paint!

Celosia

Close-up of flowering Celosia plants in a sunny garden. Its leaves are lance-shaped, while its most notable feature is its vibrant and velvety flower heads of bright red color. These flower heads take on striking forms, resembling plume-shaped combs.
This unusual-looking bloomer is a popular annual choice for window boxes and flower beds.
botanical-name botanical name Celosia spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6 inches to 4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Celosia is a very popular annual that gardeners add to window boxes and flower beds for a pop of color. The tall flower plumes bloom brightly on top of attractive foliage, giving the appearance of multicolored trees for your fairies.

Celosia grows nicely in flower beds, but if you only have room for a container fairy garden, celosia will be the perfect plant for you!

Dusty Miller

Close-up of Jacobaea maritima, commonly known as dusty miller. The leaves have a velvety texture and are deeply lobed, giving them a lacy and intricate appearance. These striking, silvery-gray leaves create a stark contrast with surrounding plants.
With its delicate, silver frilly leaves, dusty miller is a great choice for both annual and perennial fairy gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Jacobaea maritima
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 6 inches to 2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Dusty miller is a dreamy silver foliage plant. The leaves of this plant are finely textured and frilly. Grown typically as an annual, dusty miller can thrive as a perennial in warmer zones, which makes the plant perfect for multi-year fairy gardens. 

Add dusty miller into your annual fairy gardens for a frosty accent to whatever plants you have chosen to grow in your fairy garden. It blends nicely with perennials and annuals and grows very nicely in containers and flower beds. 

Rosemary

Close-up of a blooming Rosmarinus officinalis. Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as rosemary, is characterized by its needle-like, aromatic leaves that are dark green on top and silver-gray on the underside. Rosemary produces small, two-lipped, tubular purple flowers.
Often used in cooking, rosemary resembles miniature evergreen trees in fairy gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-4 feet tall 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

Typically grown as a culinary herb, rosemary has more than one use in our gardens. In a fairy garden, these plants could play the part of enormous evergreen trees. You can even find rosemary plants pruned into standard or tree form. 

Small purple flowers bloom on rosemary plants, adding a dash of beauty to your fairy garden. Bring these plants in during the colder months and replant in the spring!

Sea Thrift

Close-up of Armeria maritima in bloom in a sunny garden. Armeria maritima, commonly known as sea thrift or thrift, is recognized for its grass-like, evergreen leaves that form low, tufted mounds. These leaves are slender and linear. Sea thrift produces small, globe-shaped pink flowers on slender stems.
An evergreen perennial, this species forms a low mound and produces pink globe-shaped flowers on tall stems.
botanical-name botanical name Armeria maritima 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 6 inches to 1 foot 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Sea thrift is an evergreen perennial. Its foliage is grass-like and low-growing into a small mound. In the summertime, singular globe-shaped flowers bloom from straight and tall stems. This plant appears to look like a lawn with blossoming trees, or at least it might to a fairy. 

These flowers are pink and perfect. Sea thrift is very easy to grow and requires no maintenance. You don’t even need to deadhead the flowers if you do not want to. 

Giant Garden

On the flip side of a fairy garden, try a giant garden! These gardens are made up of tall plants with giant flowers, which makes for an amazing play space.

Choose plants you love. Maybe instead of tall plants, you long for large and dreamy flowers. Either way, focus your search on the type of garden you have envisioned in your dreams. 

Set up a sitting area in the center of this giant garden to give kids a peaceful hiding place and the best viewpoint of their towering plants. 

Dinnerplate Dahlia 

Close-up of a flowering Dinnerplate dahlia plant in the garden. The plant has a massive, eye-catching blossom of a bright fiery orange-red hue. The flower is large, double, and consists of many layers of triangular petals with narrowed white tips.
These spectacular dahlias are cherished for their enormous, one-foot-wide blossoms in various colors.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-6 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Dinnerplate dahlias are beautiful, beloved flowering tubers. The main difference between the dinnerplate dahlia and the many other types of dahlias is the massive blossoms that can reach up to one foot in diameter. 

You can find dinnerplate dahlias in many colors, having no problem finding a color that suits your garden style and taste. Plant dahlia tubers in the springtime after the threat of frost has passed, or purchase more mature plants from your local nursery. 

Giant Allium

Close-up of blooming Giant alliums in a garden against a blurred green background. Giant alliums are known for their impressive, tall, and sturdy stems.These unique plants produce globe-shaped blossoms. The large, spherical flower heads consist of numerous tiny individual florets of purple color.
This whimsical allium boasts tall, sturdy stems and huge, 10-inch-wide blossoms.
botanical-name botanical name Allium spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Giant allium is a really fun plant to grow with children. It almost has a Dr. Seuss feel! The tall, sturdy stems can reach up to three feet tall, and its globe-shaped blossoms can reach 10 inches in diameter. 

Plant your bulbs in the fall and await the beautiful perennial flowers that grow and bloom in the springtime. Allow the foliage to die before cutting the stems back to allow the plant to produce enough food to thrive through the winter. 

Hollyhock

Close-up of colorful Hollyhocks in bloom in a garden. Hollyhocks are recognized for their tall, stately stems. The plant produces vibrant, cup-shaped flowers and come in a variety of pink colors. These colorful blossoms adorn the towering flower spikes, providing a striking contrast to the lush, palmate-shaped leaves at the base of the plant.
Hollyhocks are cottage garden favorites with tall stems and many colorful 2-4 inch flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Alcea rosea 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 5-7 feet tall 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Hollyhocks are dreamy plants that are used mostly in cottage-style gardens. These short-lived perennials can grow up to seven feet tall and will be decorated with colorful 2-4 inch flowers that come in many colors. 

If you want something more unique, plant ‘The Watchman’ and watch the deep red, nearly black flowers bloom throughout the summer. 

Mammoth Sunflower

Close-up of Mammoth sunflowers in the garden. Mammoth sunflowers are known for their towering, sturdy stems and large bright flower heads. These plants produce massive, golden-yellow flower heads with a central disk surrounded by bright, ray-like petals.
These mammoth sunflowers are the ultimate choice for a giant garden.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus annuus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 9-12 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Mammoth sunflowers, need I say more? These giant sunflowers are all you truly need to grow a “giant garden.” Plant these large sunflower seeds in a mass for the best effect. Create a border of these tall beauties, or create a sunflower fort by planting the sunflowers in a circle and gathering them together at the top. 

These seeds are a great planting project for kids. The seeds are large, making it easy for little fingers to plunge into the dirt. 

Pizza Garden

This one is a no-brainer, right? What kiddo does not love pizza? My kids would eat pizza for every meal if they could! What better way to teach them about food than to grow the toppings for one of their favorites?

As with all of these gardens, select plants you love. This one might be even more important: select foods you love eating on your pizza pie!

Use cute plant markers to identify each plant, and be sure to set a date for the end of the summer when you all make a giant pizza together!

Basil

Close-up of Basil in the garden. Basil plants are distinguished by their aromatic, bright green, lance-shaped leaves that have a slightly wrinkled texture. The leaves are arranged in pairs along the plant's stems.
This herb is easy to cultivate in containers.
botanical-name botanical name Ocimum basilicum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-3 feet tall 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

When it comes to pizza, basil has many uses. Simply scatter leaves on top of your pie, use them while making pizza sauce, or blend them up into some yummy pesto to drizzle on top. 

Basil is easy to grow and is great in containers. When you notice white flowers beginning to form, deadhead them off. This will encourage more foliage growth, which means more yummy basil for you! 

Bell Pepper

Close-up of Bell pepper plant with ripe fruits. Bell pepper plants are characterized by their bushy, dark green leaves and thick, waxy stems. The fruit of the bell pepper is bell-shaped, with a smooth, glossy skin that comes in a range of colors, including green and red.
A popular pizza topping, bell peppers, and other pepper varieties are easy to cultivate from seeds in spring.
botanical-name botanical name Capsicum annuum 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Bell peppers are one of the most popular vegetable pizza toppings. Lucky for us, they are also very easy to grow at home. Select a pepper that your family loves. This could be bell peppers, banana peppers, or even something spicier such as jalapeno or habanero. 

You and your child can grow peppers from seed in the early spring or wait until summer and purchase more mature plants. Either way, you will have a delicious topping for your pizzas.

YouTube video

Oregano

Close-up of Oregano plant. Oregano plants are recognized for their small, oval to lance-shaped leaves, which are dark green in color and have a slightly fuzzy or velvety texture.
Greek oregano, a pizza sauce staple, thrives in containers or flower beds.
botanical-name botanical name Origanum vulgare
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Oregano, or more formally, Greek oregano, is a classic ingredient for pizza sauces. This herb is easy to grow and is just as happy growing in containers as in a flower bed.

Enjoy growing the seeds with your kids, or purchase mature plants from a garden center. The flavor of oregano will intensify if your climate is hot and dry. Deadhead the flowers to promote more foliage. If you have oregano left over at the end of the season, it dries very nicely for later use. 

Tomato

Close-up of Solanum lycopersicum plant with ripe fruits in the garden. Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as the tomato, features deeply lobed, dark green leaves that are covered in fine, soft hairs. The plants produce oval fruits of bright red color with shiny smooth skin.
Many tomato options exist, with small cherry tomatoes enjoyable for snacking and Roma tomatoes suitable for sauce-making.
botanical-name botanical name Solanum lycopersicum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-10 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

There are many different tomatoes to choose from. Growing smaller cherry tomatoes with children is fun because they can just snack off the vine. However, if you plan on making some fresh tomato sauce, plant Roma tomatoes. 

Tomatoes are easy to grow from seed, but typically, you can find a wide variety of plants at your local garden center, which is quicker and easier. Place a tomato cage around your small plants for support before they start to produce large fruits. 

Rainbow Garden

Rainbow gardens are a great way to excite little kids about a garden. Learning colors is so much fun, and learning their colors through plants is an amazing opportunity. 

Below, I have listed a few plants you can get in multiple colors to help make this rainbow garden easier to plan. You may want to focus on a favorite color rather than the whole rainbow- whatever suits your kid!

Get colorful plant markers and painted rocks to decorate this garden. Consider hiding a small pot of gold for your kid to find at the end of special days.

Bells of Ireland

Close-up of a flowering Moluccella laevis plant. Moluccella laevis, commonly known as Bells of Ireland, is recognized for its tall and upright stems adorned with elongated, bell-shaped calyxes. These calyxes have a vibrant green color and form clusters along the stems.
Add greenery with tall and beautiful annuals called bells of Ireland, known for small white flowers protected by large green calyxes.
botanical-name botanical name Moluccella laevis 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

For a splash of green, plant bells of Ireland. These tall annuals are quite beautiful. The plants produce very small white flowers protected by large green shells or calyxes. 

Plant your Bells of Ireland seeds in the spring, or purchase plants later in the season. The showy part of the plant is the calyxes, so consider planting these green beauties in the middle or back of your garden. 

Geranium

Close-up of a flowering Pelargonium zonale plant. Pelargonium zonale, commonly known as the geranium, features round to kidney-shaped, slightly lobed leaves with a dark green color. The plant produces clusters of bright, five-petaled flowers of soft pink color, collected in spherical inflorescences.
Zonal geraniums, with their palmate foliage and colorful clusters of flowers, are versatile for rainbow gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Pelargonium zonale 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Zonal geraniums make a fun addition to a rainbow garden because they are available in varied shades of red, pink, and corals, which could work in place of orange. The low-mounded foliage is palmate and makes way for straight stems with the classic cluster of flowers at the top. 

These geraniums make great potted plants and are great in flower beds. Deadhead the blossoms as they fade to promote more flowering and more color for your rainbow!

Petunia 

Close-up of blooming multi-colored Petunia plants in a flowerbed. Petunia plants are characterized by their trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers that come in a wide range of colors, including shades of pink, purple, red, white, and more. The blooms have a velvety texture and feature a contrasting throat.
Petunias are beloved annuals known for their wide range of colorful blooms, suitable for container or flower bed planting.
botanical-name botanical name Petunia spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Petunias are likely one of the most popular flowering annuals and for good reason. These flowering beauties are available in a rainbow of colors. You could even grow a rainbow garden just with petunias!

Plant your petunias in containers or a flower bed. Deadhead them as frequently as you can to promote further blooming. Some petunia varieties do not require deadheading, such as wave petunias. 

Zinnia

Close-up of blooming multi-colored Zinnia plants in a flowerbed. Zinnia plants are known for their vibrant, daisy-like flowers that come in a rainbow of colors, from vivid reds and oranges to soft whites and yellows. The flowers are either single and double, with multiple rows of petals. The leaves are lanceolate, bright, dark green.
With various types, sizes, and a rainbow of colors, zinnias are versatile and suitable for pots or flower beds.
botanical-name botanical name Zinnia elegans 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6 inches to 2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 1-4

There are so many different types of zinnias that you are bound to find the perfect one for your rainbow garden. There are even a wide variety of sizes. Zinnia flowers may be single or double and come in a rainbow of colors. 

Again, zinnias are amazing when grown in pots or flower beds. Grown from seeds or as mature plants from a nursery, these flowering annuals are bound to be the star of your rainbow garden.  

Salad Garden

I love a salad garden. It teaches kids about healthy eating and, depending on what plants you select, can be grown indoors all year long!

Choose leafy greens and a few vegetables to round out your salad garden. Herbs make a nice addition, too. They can be added to salad or salad dressings!

If you choose to grow a salad garden indoors, you will want to stick with greens because they are shallow-rooted and take up much less space than vining veggies. 

Arugula

Close-up of Arugula plants growing in rows in a garden. Arugula displays deeply lobed, bright green leaves with a distinctive peppery aroma and flavor. The leaves are small, elongated, and deeply serrated.
Peppery arugula, with attractive lobed leaves, is easy to grow from seed, thrives in cooler weather, and attracts pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Eruca vesicaria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Arugula is a peppery green that makes a yummy salad on its own or a great addition to a mix of greens. The green leaves are attractive and deeply lobed. If you allow the plant to flower, it will attract a lot of pollinators into your garden. 

Arugula is very easily grown from seed and does best in cooler seasons. This is a great plant to grow indoors as well. If you wish, you can harvest arugula very early, as baby arugula. The taste is a little milder, and the tiny size is well-suited for kids. 

Cucumber

Close-up of a ripe Cucumber fruit in a garden bed. Cucumber plants are climbing vines known for their large, dark green leaves with a rough, textured surface. They produce long, cylindrical, green fruits with a smooth skin and a cool, crisp flesh. The cucumber has many small pimples on the surface.
Crisp and kid-friendly, cucumbers need support for climbing.
botanical-name botanical name Cucumis sativus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Cucumbers are a nice crisp and crunchy addition to any salad. It sure helps that this also tends to be a favorite veggie of kids. Be sure to use a trellis or give the cucumbers something to climb. Pluck the cukes right off the vine and eat as soon as possible. 

Cucumbers are not easily grown indoors without a greenhouse or lots of space. These veggies like to crawl or climb. Pickling cucumbers is a great activity for kids if you have an excess of veggies. 

Lettuce

Close-up of Lettuce plants growing in a garden bed. Lettuce plants are characterized by their loose rosette of tender, leafy greens. The leaves are broad, flat, bright green with very curly edges.
Lettuce is an essential salad component with many types to choose from.
botanical-name botanical name Lactuca sativa 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 6 inches to 1-foot 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

It is almost impossible to have a salad without lettuce. When it comes to this leafy green, you have many different options to choose from. Mesclun greens are very easy to grow, but there is also butterhead lettuce, romaine, and crisp lettuce, such as iceberg. 

Grab whichever type of lettuce seeds you wish, and get sowing. This is another great plant to grow indoors to keep the salads coming all winter!

Radish

Close-up of a bunch of freshly picked radishes in the garden. Radish plants are known for their low-growing, rosette-like foliage with bright green, lobed leaves. Their roots are round in shape, bright pink and are edible.
Radishes are fast-maturing and perfect for gardening with kids, providing a peppery, crunchy snack.
botanical-name botanical name Raphanus sativus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Radish is a cool season veggie that will only take four weeks to mature. When gardening with kids, timing is everything, and four weeks is a pretty quick turnaround for a crunchy snack. Radishes are red root veggies that are peppery and crunchy. Slice them up and add them to your salad, or eat them alone. 

Radishes are easily grown from seed, and because they are relatively shallow-rooted, you can plant them in a pot indoors. 

Salsa Garden

If your family is a fan of spice, why not try a salsa garden? This is another great way to take your harvest straight from your garden into your kitchen and on your plate in an instant. 

Depending on how you like your salsa, you could add more tomato varieties, add even more spice, and

Don’t forget to add colorful garden markers. Grab an extra large bag of tortilla chips!

Bunching Onion

Close-up of Allium fistulosum in a sunny garden. Allium fistulosum, commonly known as the green onion or scallion, features slender, upright, and hollow leaves that resemble grass blades. It produces small, spherical, white flowers on tall, thin stems.
Scallions can substitute for traditional onions in salsa and thrive with limited space.
botanical-name botanical name Allium fistulosum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Bunching onions, or scallions, can be used in salsa in place of traditional onions. If you have the space to grow onions, I recommend doing so. However, bunching onions can grow happily with much less space.

Use the white parts in your salsa while saving the green parts for eggs or other dishes such as soups. Sow your seeds in fall or spring, depending on where you live, and reseed every 2-4 weeks to ensure a never-ending crop. 

Cilantro

Close-up of Cilantro in a sunny garden. Cilantro, a leafy herb, exhibits delicate, fern-like leaves with a vibrant green color. The leaves are divided into fine, serrated segments, giving them a frilly appearance.
Choose a variety that doesn’t bolt in the heat, or sow and harvest in cooler temperatures.
botanical-name botanical name Coriandrum sativum 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Who knew an herb could be so controversial? If you love cilantro, you can easily grow this herb indoors or out. Cilantro can even be grown as a microgreen. Microgreens are harvested earlier and offer the same great flavor as full-grown herbs. 

Look for a cilantro variety that will not bolt in the heat or be prepared to sow and harvest while the temperatures are cooler. Sprinkle your cilantro in your salsa, and add it to your tacos and other dishes that need a pop of green and fresh flavor. 

Jalapeno

Close-up of ripening Jalapeno fruits in a sunny garden. Jalapeno plants are compact, bushy, and relatively small in size, featuring dark green, glossy leaves. The plant produces small, elongated, and tapered fruits that are deep green in color.
Introduce some spice to your salsa garden with jalapeno, known for its mildly spicy peppers.
botanical-name botanical name Capsicum annuum 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-4 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

For a hint of heat, add jalapeno to your salsa garden. Peppers are tender perennials that we typically grow as annual. These spicy beauties mature into emerald-colored peppers that can be plucked and chopped finely for your salsa. For a lovely change, consider a purple jalapeno variety!

Start your seeds in the spring, or pick up a few nursery starts in the summertime. Plant jalapenos in window boxes, pots, or directly into your veggie gardens. 

LargeTomatoes

Close-up of Cherry tomato plant with ripe fruits. Cherry tomato plants are compact and bushy with small, bright green leaves and exhibit profuse clusters of small, round, and red and green fruits.
Tomatoes are a salsa essential with various options like beefsteak, Roma, or cherry.
botanical-name botanical name Solanum lycopersicum 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-10 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Tomatoes are essential when making salsa. The type of tomato you grow is completely up to you. Some people prefer to use beefsteak tomatoes because they are easier to cut, while others like to use Roma tomatoes because of their juiciness.

Start your tomato seeds indoors in the early spring, or purchase plants from your local garden center. You may need to support your tomatoes, so use a tomato cage or trellis when needed. 

Sandbox Garden

A sandbox garden is not really a themed garden. It is just a recycling of a beloved child’s plaything. When the day comes that your child has outgrown the sandbox, don’t rush to throw it away. Drill a few holes in the bottom, add a layer of rocks, and then potting soil. You’ve got yourself a sentimental and very cute garden. 

When selecting plants to grow in this garden, remember what their root system is like. You want shallow-rooted plants for this project. This will ensure that your plants will grow happily in the sand.

Because of the cuteness of your sandbox (looking at you, turtle), you won’t need to do much else to decorate your garden. Add a few plant markers and maybe a pinwheel or two, and you will be ready to go!

Chives

Close-up of blooming Chives in the garden. Chives are slender, grass-like perennial herbs characterized by their tubular, hollow leaves that resemble thin, bright green blades of grass. It produces delicate, globe-shaped clusters of pale lavender to pinkish-purple flowers atop long, sturdy stems.
This allium offers edible greens and sweet purple flowers for indoor arrangements.
botanical-name botanical name Allium schoenoprasum 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Chives are a really fun and unexpected plant to grow with kids. Not only can you eat them, but they produce very sweet purple flowers that can be snipped to make indoor arrangements. 

Perennial chives will return year after year without much from you. They do not require a lot of water, nor do they need to be deadheaded. Beware, if you have bunnies nearby, chives will become their favorite snack. 

Lantana

Close-up of a blooming Lantana camara in the garden. Lantana camara is a sprawling, woody shrub known for its striking clusters of small, tubular flowers that dense form, globe-like inflorescences in a range of vibrant colors including shades of red, orange, yellow, and pink.Its leaves are opposite, dark green, oval with a rough texture.
With vibrant clusters of small, bouquet-like flowers, lantana is a stunning flowering plant.
botanical-name botanical name Lantana camara 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-6 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Lantana is a beautiful flowering plant grown as an annual plant in many places but is also a perennial in warm zones. These plants are sprawling with vibrant clusters of small flowers. These clusters of flowers look like tiny flower bouquets. 

Deadhead these flower clusters when they begin to fade. Once you notice a pearl in place of the flowers, your lantana has begun to produce seed. These plants are shallow-rooted and will suit your sandbox perfectly. 

Mint

Close-up of mint growing in the garden. Mint plants are recognized by their vibrant green leaves that are serrated and aromatic.The leaves are small, oblong, and grow in pairs along square stems.
Mint is versatile, aromatic, and a good choice for containers to prevent spreading.
botanical-name botanical name Mentha spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

I love to grow mint. It has so many uses, it’s beautiful, and its aroma is a nice addition to gardens. It is recommended that mint is grown in a container because of its ability to spread. 

There are many different types of mint, from spearmint to pineapple mint! Choose a plant that you and your child will love. I personally love chocolate mint. Harvest the leaves and make a tea, or dry them to use later on.

Strawberry

Close-up of ripe strawberries in the garden. The fruit of the strawberry plant is bright red, each featuring small seeds on the surface. The fruit is heart-shaped and succulent, making it a delightful and iconic addition to gardens.
Plant strawberries in a sandbox garden for your child’s delight; they produce beautiful flowers and delicious fruit.
botanical-name botanical name Fragaria spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6 inches to 1 foot 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

If your child loves strawberries, I recommend planting some in your sandbox garden. These plants produce beautiful flowers and, as you know, delicious fruit that can be eaten right off of the plant. 

Pick up a plant or two from your nursery in the summertime. There are everbearing and June-bearing types of strawberries. Decide which is best for you. I would recommend everbearing if you wish to have small harvests throughout the year instead of one larger harvest once a summer. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these themed gardens have inspired you to dig in with your children. The garden ideas are truly endless, and you can turn any passion or hobby into the perfect themed garden. Involve your child in as much of the process as possible, and you will both be proud and fulfilled with your hard work. 

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