Fast-Growing Flowers and Plants
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.
- Eschscholzia californica
- Hyacinthus “Woodstock”
- Lathyrus odoratus
- Narcissus “Tête-à-tête”
- Tulipa “Prinses Irene”
- Green beans
- New potatoes
- Sugar snap peas
- Sweetcorn Helianthus