12 easy flowers to grow in pots, in the garden or inside your home

Easy flowers: Add color to your garden or other outdoor space with these simple florals that anyone can bring to bloom, outside or in!

easy flowers to grow: Pelargonium 'Tip Top Duet'
(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

We spoke with Phil McCann, Plant Buyer at LazyFlora.com: 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.'

1. Sunflowers

easy flowers to grow: Sunflowers

(Image credit: Squires Garden Centres)

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 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.

2. Calendula

Calendula officialis best plant for skin

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

3. Geraniums

easy flowers to grow: Pelargonium 'Tip Top Duet'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

4. Nasturtiums

easy flowers to grow: Tropaeolum majus 'Ladybird Rose'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

5. Phlox

easy to grow flowers: Phlox 'Popstars Blue'

(Image credit: Squires Garden Centres)

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.

6. Pansies

easy to grow flowers: Viola Sorbet F1 Mixed

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

7. Nigella

Easy flowers to grow: Nigella damascena 'Miss Jekyll'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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

easy flowers to grow: Papaver rhoeas

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

9. Sweet pea

Sweet peas

(Image credit: Squire's Garden Centres)

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.

10. Native geranium (Cranesbill)

easy flowers to grow: Geranium Sabani Blue

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

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.

11. Periwinkle

Pink Periwinkles are easy flowers to grow

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

12. Cosmos

Chocolate plant x Cosmos photographed by ibulb's Steven Bemelman

(Image credit: ibulb x Steven Bemelman)

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! 🌷

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a special interest in city life, decorating small spaces, and urban gardening.