Plant Lists for the

 Children Garden


( Kinder-garten )



The following list contains only a few suggestions of plants that children enjoy. They are all easy to grow.

Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum, Agastache 'Blue Fortune' and others a perennial with bluish flowers that attract butterflies and other insects, and aromatic foliage smelling intensely of licorice and lemon. Leaves can be harvested and dried to make a flavorful tea. In late summer, gold finches fly in to eat the seeds.
Lavender and Sage Lavendula angustifolia and Salvia officinalis The fragrances of these two Mediterranean herbs are imprinted in my mind since childhood. I even remember watching the bees on the purple lavender flowers, and my father telling me the name of the plant after I took a deep breath of its aroma. Sage flowers can be picked and the sweet nectar can be sucked out of them, holding the open, tubular base of the flower to your lips. Both also are great for herbal teas, baths, and to flavor food. Do some cooking with your kids!
Curly chives, Chives and Ornamental Onions Allium senescens 'Glaucum', and other Alliums this relative of chives has interesting twisted and curled leaves of a bluish-green color, and lots of rounded flowers in the summer that attract insects for your children to look at. The leaves smell like chives and can be eaten or used in the kitchen.

Many Alliums have perfectly spherical flowers that kids will always remember in their parents garden, and all attract insects.

Pot Marygold and Marygold Calendula officinalis, Tagetes Both have edible flowers and are used to garnish food. Children love their strong yellow and orange colors, and they are very easy to grow from seed, even seeded right into the garden in the spring after frost. Both plants also have an effect of destroying pest nematodes in the soil.

Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans',

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'

large Hostas Children love to hide under these huge plants, and once in a while break off a few leaves to play with. Hostas are not poisonous and as far as I know, the fleshy roots are eaten in Japan (probably cooked)
Pumpkin and ghostly gourds Curcurbita put a few pumpkin seeds in a big pile of horse manure (not too old is actually better) and watch the pumpkin grow. Keep the woodchucks at bay, otherwise they will eat until they become round as pumpkins themselves. Kids are proud if they can carve their own pumpkin for Halloween. Make sure plants are well fertilized and watered to get rewarding pumpkins!

I found that Johnny's Selected Seeds has a great variety of plants that work well in  the north-east

Sunflowers and Corn Helianthus annuus, Zea mays These two crops are great for children to fence their own private garden or screen the playhouse porch. They can be eaten, too! However, don't let the squirrels discover them or the harvest will be gone.
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus These easy to seed colorful annuals are an old standby of the farmers garden, where they provided flower color, were used as an annual groundcover to fill in among other plants, and had the function to lure aphids away from other plants.
The edible flowers have a spicy flavor with a bit of a cabbage or raddish aroma. They are used for garnishing salads.
'Hens and Chicks' and Stone Orpine Sempervivum, Sedum reflexum These small succulents with interesting, fleshy leaves catch every childs attention. They are not poisonous and very easy to grow on a little rock garden or even in a dish. Kids can use them for the doll house as well. If watering is forgotten a few times, who cares! But help the plants to get rooted in before the neglect can begin!

Edible ornamentals (shrubs and trees):

These great plants can make your kids snack healthy vitamins in your yard, while everybody can enjoy the beauty of the garden at the some time! However, teach your children that not all berries are edible and show them the dangerous ones!

Blueberry 'Northblue', 'Patriot', etc Vaccinium 'Northblue', Vaccinium corymbosum edible berries that are very healthy and taste great! Blueberry plants are adaptable to light shade, although yields are highest in full sun. In nature, they can be found in woodlands and even growing in water on the edge of ponds. Plant two varieties to insure good pollination.
Weeping Muleberry Morus alba 'Pendula' These old-fashioned ornamental tree has purplish-black berries that look and taste similar to black raspberries. Birds and kids love them equally.
Problem: keep this plant away from your walkways because the berries stain easily.
Korean Dogwood Cornus kousa The lumpy berries of this dogwood are bright orange-red and to me taste similar to figs. they have to be very ripe and soft to be eaten, otherwise they are bitter.
European Dogwood Cornus mas Olive-shaped berries are a bit tart, but make a flavorful jelly. Very attractive to birds!
Yanking Cherry Prunus tomentosa The small cherries of this beautiful spring-flowering tree are best used for jellies, although if fully ripe they are quite sweet.
Peach Prunus persica Peach trees are probably the easiest to grow fruit tree, provided the location is very sunny and somewhat protected from cold winds.
Apple 'Haralred', 'Honeycrisp', etc. Malus Apple trees are easy to grow, but in my garden all apples always have worms (which are really caterpillars). To get them clean, start by removing all fallen apples as soon as possible and use them or bring them to a dump, hopefully far away from your apple trees, or try to shred them , so that no insects get to hatch and keep the flow of pests going.
Flowering Quince Chaenomeles This small shrub is one of the earliest bloomers, and the yellowish fruit, the size of small apples, are very aromatic. They can not be eaten raw but are great in jellies.
American Hazelnut Corylus americana I am growing on of these shrubs to try it out, and indeed I get a few hazelnuts from it every year. Hopefully the harvest will be greater once the shrub has matured. The catkins are beautiful and the fall color is very impressive.
Beach Rose 'Hansa', 'Purple Pavewment', etc Rosa rugosa I grew up on rose-hip tea, and these Rugosa roses promise a rich harvest. As a child we also peeled the skin off the hips, took the scratchy seeds out and stuck them into our classmates collars.
Elderberry 'Adams', Europ. Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis, S. nigra I read that the berries are slightly poisonous when raw and therefore have to be boiled. But I know that this plant is used extensively since thousands of years for its juice, which is extremely rich in vitamin C. I used to harvest the flowers to make a medical tea which fights colds very efficiently (mixed with 50% Linden flowers).

Plants you have to be careful with:

There are many poisonous or otherwise dangerous plants! This list is by no means complete and we recommend doing your own research. However, this list contains plants that we are aware of as being potentially harmful. It is also a good idea to teach your children about the dangers of some plants, such as poisonous berries and leaves, dangerous thorns and the like. If you suspect your child of having eaten poisonous plant parts, contact the poison control center immediately. Make sure you have the number ready when you need it.


I found the following numbers on the internet:  

New Hampshire Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222
Maine Poison Control Center

(800) 442-6305


Aconitum = Monkshood

Monkshood is reputed to be the most poisonous plant of Europe.

This is a beautiful, long-lived garden perennial with stately blue flowers (white and pink also exist). I like to use this impressive plant in shade gardens, where is is irreplaceble for colorful, vertical accent. However, I never would plant it close to a vegetable garden, because a tuber could accidentally be taken for a small potatoe. Eating a tuber would most likely kill someone, and all other parts of this plant are equally poisonous.

Monkshood should not be planted where small children are playing!

  Rhizinus communis / Castor Bean Castor Bean is a tropical plant that is valued for its large, divided leaves. They can be green or purple and make a bold statement in any summer bed or planter.

It is easy to grow from seed and once it is warm in late spring, it grows very quickly into a large plant. In a hot summer and with fertile soil, it can easily grow to 6 ft. of height in a few months.

The seeds of this plant are lethal! A few seeds would be sufficient to kill even a large animal like a horse.

The seeds of this plant are about 1/4 inch in diameter and usually coffee-brown in color, with some darker-colored pattern on it.

shrubs and trees Boxwood, Yew, Arborvitae, Japanese Spurge, Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, Japanese Andromeda, Daphne Many woody plants that are evergreen have poisonous leaves. Other parts can be poisonous too. Call poison control center if ingestion occurred.
woody plants of the pea family Wisteria, Golden Chain Tree, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Locusts, ... Many shrubs and trees of the pea family, with typical pea flowers, have poisonous seeds. Like peas, the seeds are in pods that look like beens. The pods are often light or dark brown.
garden perennials and biannuals Monkshood (Aconitum, see above), Delphinium, Foxgloves (Digitalis), Lupine (Lupinus), Daffodil (Narcissus), Peonies (Paeonia), Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria) and many more

many perennials have poisonous parts or are entirely poisonous. For example, the seeds and seed pods of lupines are poisonous, the flowers and fruit of peonies, and the entire plant of Foxgloves and Delphiniums. thousands of plants are just slightly poisonous, causing vomiting or headaches, etc.


Potatoes, Green Beans

Potatoes are poisonous if they store in light. Cooking destroys the poison, but green skin should first be peeled away. The small, tomato-like fruit of the potato plant is very poisonous. Green Beans are poisonous when eaten raw.

house plants

Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, Anthurium, Zantedeschia, Angels's Trumpet (Brugmansia and Datura), ...

many house plants are poisonous in various degrees

PS: Bring your children to Green Art



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