7 Easy Starter Plants for Beginner Gardeners
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Those of us with a green thumb can’t help but find ourselves enamored by the scent of fresh soil. Considering that the early portion of this year has kicked off with uncertainty, doubt, stress, and anxiety, it’s essential to find a place of solace in the midst of it all. Starting a miniature garden or tending to a few houseplants is an extremely effective way to unwind and escape all the turmoil and drama that exists in the world around us.
Little known fact, the natural microbes present in the dirt promote increased serotonin in the brain. Much like having a pet, caring for your own plant helps to maintain a sense of structure, routine, and normalcy when tensions are high.
Whether you’re losing your mind in quarantine or you’re just interested in picking up a new hobby, you’ll find that the varieties listed below are the perfect (and the easiest) places to start!
Succulents are the best option for newbies, especially if you live in a significantly hot, dry climate. Aloe Vera specifically is both a durable and useful for treating sunburns or as an option for cooking. When broken, the arms of the plant will heal and replace themselves rather quickly.
They actually grow so rapidly that they need to be repotted every couple of months. Succulents reproduce by forming offsets, which are small, baby-like plants with their own root system. This means that at some point, you’ll either have a bunch of new plants to play with, or lots of gifts to give away during the holidays!
Mint is considered to be an invasive plant, with strong roots that grow deep into the soil. Even if you forget to water them for a week, a quick dose of moisture will have leaves sprouting from the vines in no time.
Once fully matured, you can start using your mint leaves for a variety of different things. You can continuously pull out a vine with roots attached and create a whole new plant with ease, just as you would with a succulent.
Of the many species of mint that exist, I like spearmint the best. The smell is strong and the leaves are a deep shade of green. It’s an attractive plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors, and it’s incredibly easy to care for.
If you’ve got some old garlic sprouting in your kitchen, place the bulbs in some dirt, add some water and wait.
Garlic typically takes about nine months to fully mature, so it’s important to stick your finger into the soil every so often to check on maturity. If left in the pot for too, garlic bulbs will rot. During the growth period, you can expect to see soft, green shoots sprouting from dirt. These are chives, and they are edible! However, be sure to leave a few behind so that your bulbs are still able to obtain sunlight.
It’s pretty simple to grow, water alone will do. However, lettuce is sensitive and has a tendency to rot or develop mold if the water is not changed out frequently enough. When using scraps from the grocery store, leave a little bit of foliage around the “butt.” The butt is the firm end around the bottom of your lettuce, you know, the part that we chop off and throw away. Instead, peel the leaves away so there are only 3–4 leaves remaining and place the bottom part in shallow water.
After a week or two, you should notice new leaves and roots forming; at this point, you can place your lettuce in a new pot. Be sure to dump the water and add a clean batch every 2–3 days.
Just like lettuce and mint, basil is an easy herb to produce in just water. If you happen to have a few sprigs leftover from a store-bought batch that hasn’t begun to rot yet, plant them!
All you need is a glass jar and water, that’s it. Place your basil sprigs in the jar, and change out the water daily to keep bacteria from growing. In about a week, you should have fully mature roots that are ready to be planted in soil.
Now, if you’re really hoping for a successful crop that yields a family-sized harvest, I wouldn’t say this is a “beginner” plant. However, once you’ve adjusted to the needs of the previously listed plants, you’ll have a better idea of what it takes to keep a vine happy.
I enjoy planting tomatoes because they’re so easy to sprout and keep alive….while they’re young. Once they start to get a bit bigger, they need to be watered every day, especially if you live in the south. In Texas, the summer sun can singe the delicate foliage of a tomato vine once the noon heat arrives. Place them somewhere that they will receive plenty of sunlight, but allows for shade as the light rotates throughout the day.
If you’d rather get a store-bought plant, that’s fine too. Just makes sure it hasn’t started producing tomatoes already. I made the mistake of doing this and never saw another tomato come off of that particular plant. Chances are, if it’s already got fruit and you purchased it from the store, it’s going to be a dud.
If you’d rather have a plant that looks great around the house but requires little to no effort, try bamboo!
A glass or plastic vase with some decorative rocks is more than enough to hold your bamboo in place and give the roots a home. It can be grown in the shade and won’t die if it’s not in direct sunlight.
Keep in mind that bamboo does need a little bit of maintenance. At some point, you may start to notice a light green film around the bottom of the vase. You’ll need to remove the plant and the rocks (or decorative stones) and scrub out the vase periodically to keep bacteria from destroying the roots.
Personally, I’ve never grown a bamboo shoot from scratch, and like the tomatoes, I’d recommend starting with a store-bought plant.
The best thing about all of these beginner options? You can regularly add them to your daily recipes as fresh, home-grown produce.
Originally published at https://hubpages.com/living.