When someone asks about planting flowers, do you automatically think your brown thumb would kill most anything you put in dirt? Not all flowers are created equal and some are definately more able to withstand a little neglect. Whether in the yard or in a decorative pot, here are our top five flowers perfect for a beginner gardener.


1. Zinnias – Look for zinnias in almost every color except blue; they’re also available in a variety of heights.  Plant them in the sun and space them as directed on the seed packet or label; good air circulation helps prevent disease.


2. MarigoldsMarigolds are easy to grow in sunny spots, brightening your garden with shades of yellow, red and gold as they bloom all summer long. African or American type marigolds grow 3 to 5 feet tall, but you can find shorter and more compact varieties.

3. Begonias – Tough, can’t-kill summer begonias like ‘Surefire Rose’ are great for hanging baskets, containers or garden beds. Give them sun or shade and they’ll reward you with lots of lush color. 

4. Cosmos – Add cosmos plants to your garden or grow these daisy-like flowers from seeds. These annuals are so undemanding, they’ll bloom even in poor soils. They like full sun (but appreciate afternoon shade in hot climates) and tolerate drought once they’re up and growing.

5. Snapdragons Bring butterflies to your beginner’s garden with pink and cream snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) like ‘Twinny Appleblossom’. These  plants bloom heavily and stand up to the often harsh weather in spring and fall.