Fast-Growing Flowers and Plants

Young children have short attention spans, so to get them interested in gardening, choose plants that do something spectacular, fast. While no plant gives instant results, many germinate and turn into something recognizable quickly enough for your child to remember sowing them.
From: DK Books - Family Garden
Similar Topics:
Helianthus Spreading SunFlower Like Perennial

Helianthus Spreading SunFlower Like Perennial

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Helianthus is spreading perennial with attractive, small sunflower like flower heads which are borne throughout year. Showy flowers have pale yellow rays that encircle purplish brown disk. Different species of butterflies are attracted.


Annuals germinate, grow, flower, and seed within one year, and this quick turn around makes them appealing to children. There are many annuals that are suitable for the community garden plot or vegetable bed, but also a number that will produce very pretty flowers. Annual climbers, such as sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) and black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata), have particularly rapid growth, and can cover a fence in a season. 


Bulbs do not give instant results but they are pretty quick and incredibly simple to grow—a child will certainly have the attention span to dig a hole, push in a bulb and cover it. Seeing the shoots of a bulb they have planted emerging from the ground in spring is a magical experience for a child, and enough to get many hooked. 


For the quickest possible results, grow some seed sprouts in a jar. This will demonstrate germination to little ones, and create some delicious salad ingredients. When growing annual bedding plants, keep them fed and watered if you want them to grow fast and flower well. 

Choice of Plants 

Sunflowers (Helianthus) are a great choice for first seed sowing, as they are quick growing and so bold and colorful once they are flowering. Climbers such as Ipomoea are another quick and colorful choice. Edible crops should be picked and eaten when they are young and sweet. Children might even be tempted to try lettuce if it is young and fresh enough, and they have sown the seed themselves. 

  • Calendula
  • Centaurea 
  • Cosmos 
  • Eschscholzia californica 
  • Helianthus 
  • Hyacinthus “Woodstock” 
  • Ipomoea 
  • Lathyrus odoratus 
  • Narcissus “Tête-à-tête” 
  • Tulipa “Prinses Irene” 
  • Green beans 
  • Carrots 
  • Zucchini 
  • Cress 
  • Lettuce 
  • New potatoes 
  • Pumpkins 
  • Strawberries 
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Sweetcorn Helianthus

Next Up

Family Planting: The Giant Garden

Large plants that dwarf little people can be a wonderful addition to a children’s garden.

Plant a Child-Friendly Garden

Even 2- and 3-year-olds can help plant their own little patch, and watch as life unfolds around them.

DIY Craft Project: Make a Just-for-Kids Plant Stand

Get your kids in the garden with this easy and fun family project. 

Family Planting: Pond in a Pot

Those with a small yard can enjoy the aesthetic and wildlife benefits that a pond can bring.

Family Planting: Tropical Garden

A tropical border is one of the most exciting plantings, filled with bold, colorful plants and reminiscent of a child’s fantasy jungle.

Lamb's Ears, Nature's Most Touchable Plant

Lamb's ears are great for a children's garden or a sensory garden.

How to Plant Sunflowers in Decorative Pots

Make sunflowers even more cheery with this step-by-step guide to designing fun pots to plant them in.

Planting Bulbs in Pots

A planting of mixed spring bulbs will give quick, near-guaranteed results for kids and a colorful display that can be enjoyed by the rest of the family. 

How to Grow Zucchini Plants

Zucchinis are a winner for being one of the quickest — and easiest — members of the squash family to grow.

Family Gardening: Growing Sunflowers

Sunflowers are colorful giants and are one of the first flowers many children will recognize. A sunflower-growing competition appeals to any age of gardener.