Easy flowers may be a breeze to grow but that doesn't mean they lack in impact. It's often the opposite and these simple blooms are sure to add color, vibrancy and interest to your garden space. From classic and universally loved sunflowers to, chocolate cosmos, sweet peas and more, these top picks (excuse the pun) will reward your pared back care with colorful petals, beautiful form and often fragrance too.
So simple to grow that you can even get the kids involved – a bonus we're sure you'll agree – plus, you should know that all of these flowers are great for gardens but many varieties will also thrive indoors on a sunny windowsill too, meaning that you don't need heaps of space to add color and splendour to your surroundings. Plant up in a container on a small balcony if that's all the outdoor space you have, or fill a sunny border and in no time at all you will have a gorgeous display.
- See all our garden plant ideas for more inspiration.
We spoke with Phil McCann, Plant Buyer at LazyFlora.com (opens in new tab): about choosing easy garden plants to grow, 'Easy plants to grow aren’t fussy where you plant them and are happy in all weathers. These are always low maintenance – but no plant is completely maintenance free. Water when dry, especially when newly planted, to encourage active root growth. But once happy in the soil they will look after themselves with the occasional need for a quick snip of a fading flower here or there. Always keep a watchful eye on pests and diseases attacking and nip them in the bud before things get out of hand. Check your plants daily to spot trouble, but it’s also a great way to get to know your plants up close and personal. Periwinkles are a super example of a ‘plant it and let it grow’ type of plant.'
- Find more low maintenance garden ideas in our guide.
An easy flower to grow – if not the easiest of all of them – the sunflower, Helianthus, is a delight, either in a container or in a garden border. They grow so well, even a child can do it.
The gardening experts at Rowse Honey (opens in new tab) agree, adding how beneficial these flowers are for wildlife. 'Could you ever look at a sunflower and not think happy thoughts? If you’ve got a tall but narrow space to fill, sweet sunflowers will surely brighten up your day. They’re really easy to grow - a fun activity for children to get involved in - and even come in dwarf sizes to squeeze into nooks and crannies. Not only are sunflowers a yummy source of nectar for bees, but they can also attract other wildlife like birds and insects.'
Maintenance: Grow seedlings in deep pots and cover with glass (or put them on a warm windowsill) before seedlings emerge; alternatively, sow where they are to flower, but you may wish to cover the seeds with netting to prevent birds from getting at them. The flowers need little maintenance, apart from regular watering.
Soil type and location: Moderately fertile, well-drained soil and best planted in full sun, outside or in, depending on the variety.
- For more tips, check out our guide to gardening for beginners.
Long-flowering (from June to October), simple and fast-growing, and easy to maintain, calendula is one of the easiest annuals to grow and will reward you with a bright splash of orange color. Plus, it's one of the best plants for your health, if you choose to harvest and eat the flowers. Bees love them too!
Maintenance: Sow in fall or late spring, where they are to flower. Once in bloom, calendula requires almost no maintenance, just the occasional water. If you deadhead the spent blooms, there'll be even more flowers.
Soil type and location: Poor to moderately fertile, well-drained soil, plant in full sun or partial shade.
- Check out more garden ideas for kids.
Tender geraniums, often known as pelargoniums are a delight to grow and look at, and there are so many varieties, you can mix and match them for a real riot of color. Upright varieties look great in borders, while trailing pelargoniums look amazing in window boxes.
Maintenance: There's one thing pelargoniums can't get enough of: sun. Plant them in a sunny spot, windowsill or in window boxes and they'll reward you with lots of blooms. You will need to protect these plants from frost, so move them to a bright conservatory or window sill in winter.
Soil type and location: Fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.
- Check that the pelargoniums you're buying aren't poisonous plants for dogs – some are.
Lovely, low-maintenance nasturtiums not only make great cut flowers, but are also edible and great for adding a peppery flavor to salads.
Maintenance: Nasturtiums thrive in poor soil, so don't fertilize them. You can start them as seedlings indoors, or sow them where they are to flower in late spring.
Soil type and location: Poor, well-drained soil and they enjoy full sun or partial shade.
- Find out everything you need to know on North-facing gardens.
A highly fragrant herbaceous garden favorite for generations, phlox make a great addition to borders or flower beds and don't require much once they are in flower. They do really well in cooler climates, too, as they love lots of moisture and don't need too much sun.
Maintenance: Phlox love any extra nutrition they can get, so fertilize and mulch them throughout the summer. They also need plant supports until mature.
Soil type and location: Fertile, moist soil, in full sun or partial shade.
- See how to make compost to add extra nutrition to your flower beds.
Another garden classic, pansies make great container garden plants and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Kids will love their little faces.
Maintenance: If you're buying plug plants, just plant them in clumps where they are to flower; pansies are hardy and can be planted in late fall or early winter. If growing from seed, start them indoors.
Soil type and location: Moderately fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
- Find more purple flowering plants in our guide if you want to color scheme your garden with this rich shade.
Pretty nigella is an easy-to-grow annual that requires little apart from the occasional water, and is very easy to grow from seed.
Maintenance: Sow seeds where they are to flower; thin out seedlings when large enough. Deadhead to prolong flowering.
Soil type and location: Any well-drained soil, in full sun.
8. Common poppy
Poppies are wonderful for adding bright color to any garden, but they really come into their own in larger gardens with meadow patches. Sow on their own for impact or add them as part of a wildflower mix for a more cottage style look.
Maintenance: Sow where they are to flower, in fall or late spring. Water thoroughly and occasionally, rather than little and often. Disturb the soil a little to aid germination.
Soil type and location: Preferably poor soil, in full sun.
- Find all our garden ideas in our edit.
9. Sweet pea
Another cottage garden plant classic, the humble sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus, is powerful when it comes to scent, and makes a lovely fragrant plant. Sweet peas are also hardy and highly suited to wet weather (including British summers). You can even sow them in toilet roll tubes, that's how easy they are to start!
Maintenance: Sweet peas have deep roots and will need lots of room to develop those roots, so will need a deep container. Sow seeds indoors in late winter, or sow directly where they are to flower in March/April. Pinch out the tips of the plants to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.
Soil type and location: Fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun.
- Fortunate enough to have a South-facing garden? Here's what you need to know.
10. Native geranium (Cranesbill)
Native geraniums (to be distinguished from South African pelargoniums, with which they often get mixed up) are easy care, hardy perennials that will delight you – and pollinators – year after year. They grow quickly, require almost no maintenance and great for a bee-friendly garden.
Maintenance: Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering period. If by mid-summer, your geraniums are looking a bit sad, revive the by removing old flowers and stems.
Soil type and location: Fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
You've probably spotted Periwinkles (Vinca minor) in your local park and wondered what are those cute little things, so you'll be pleased to know that they are a very simple flower to grow that work nicely as ground cover due to their rapid growth and hardy nature. There are more than 30 varieties to choose from, with colors ranging from purple to blue and yellow, plus lots of beautiful variegated foliage also.
Periwinkle care and maintenance: Think less about it as maintenance and more about keeping it in check. As mentioned, Periwinkle is a pretty prolific spreader, a little like mint. Once in bloom (between April and May) be sure to get rid of any dominating surrounding weeds but rest assured that periwinkle will likely aid in keeping any future unwanted plants at bay.
Soil type and location: Acidic soil, shady spot.
- See all our other shade plant recommendations.
Cosmos atrosanguineus / chococlate cosmos can be annuals or perennials and they feature divided leaves and daisy-like forms when in summer bloom. They are fairly hardy, need mulching in fall and to be kept frost-free in winter. But otherwise cosmos in general are one of the most fuss-free and rewarding species of flowers to grow.
'If you used to draw flowers in school, they’ll probably have borne a resemblance to cosmos. These simple but beautiful blooms are oh-so-delicate and incredibly pretty in pots, with an open flower giving easy access to nectar for bees. They come in plenty of colours, and can also be cut and displayed in a vase in to add a pop of colour to your living space!' say the Rowse Honey experts.
Cosmos care and maintenance: Sow indoors or under cover in spring to plant out after the final frosts, or sow them directly outdoors in early May.
Soil type and location: Moist but well-drained, moderately fertile soil and full sun.
Bloomin' brilliant! 🌷