With the upcoming launch of Plant Runner Kids, we thought this week it would be good to focus on our list of safe and rewarding plants for children, as well as a few tricks to help introduce them to the wonderful world of plants and gardening.
There are so many benefits to getting children involved in with gardening.
Responsibility is a huge one - they become the caregiver as they water and feed their plants and watch them grow. They'll learn about cause and effect - watching how some plants will burn in direct sunlight or how others wilt when they need a drink. Then there is the 'outdoorphins' which we've mentioned in a previous post.These beneficial microbes live in the soil help build immunity and control stress and anxiety.
And if you get them into the veggie patch, there is a whole new interest and appreciation for food and the nutrition that comes with it!
Dom has two young boys and they're as excited about plants as he is. They love trying the herbs as they come up or picking tomatoes as they ripen. Both have their own collection of indoor plants in their rooms. Bring on the the #crazyplantkids!
Here are Dom's top tips on how to introduce children to gardening and plants:
1. Start Small
Kids love experimenting and getting their hands dirty. While my boys love gardening both indoors and out, I didn't try to teach them everything at once.I gave them each one plant that they were in charge of and could experiment with. They potted it up and fed it and asked me questions as it grew
2. Have Fun
We make a game of cleaning up the leaves in Autumn and we plant veggies together in pots and planters around the garden. Its great to show kids where food comes from and they enjoy going out and picking herbs for dinner!
3. Let them make their own mistakes (and learn from them)
I gave my kids a small greenhouse to pot up seedlings and plant seeds in. They love going to water them and feed them and watch their growth. If one plant doesn't make it, we think about what happened to that one plant that didn't happen to the others.
So where to start? We've come up with a list of our favourite plants that are safe (non-toxic) for kids. These are great options if you're worried your child is just as likely to eat their plant as they are to water them.
African violet (Saintpaulia): Long living, low maintenance and they flower.
Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei): Great indoor plant with interesting foliage that responds well to pruning. This is a plant you can cut back and show you kids how plants respond.
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa): This plant is a wonderful plant to teach children about seasonal effects on plants. Grown for its fantastic foliage, you need to reduce watering over winter and watch it bloom in spring!
Begonia (Begonia obiqua): Colorful and varied foliage, flowers... whats not to like?
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): This is one to re-create that jungle feel for the kids and fill that neglected, shady corner of the house.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera): A great option to mix things up as this easy going plant flowers in winter time.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Hardy and fast growing these guys are great for kids to watch grow.
Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula): This is a child favourite - a plant that eats flies! Can't go wrong as long as you keep it moist.