The plant hardiness Zone 8 covers much of the Pacific Northwest and American South, including much of Texas. Frisco, TX lies in the plant hardiness zone 8a, which suggests growing plants that can survive average winter temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees. The mild winters and temperate summer climates create a long growing season and allow for a multitude of flowers, vegetables, and other plants to thrive. There is a good deal of low maintenance and easy-to-grow plants in Zone 8a that make growing a backyard garden or planting pretty landscaping so easy that it’s a great activity for kids.
Low Maintenance Flowers
Many annual flowers thrive in Zone 8, which allow kids to plant them with no upkeep other than a little water during dry spells. Younger kids may need adult help, but older kids can plant a flower garden that’ll survive with little experience. You can purchase annual flowers at your local nursery, show your child how to stir up the soil, and how to transplant the flowers. After one example, older kids can probably handle planting the rest of the flowers themselves. Popular low-maintenance annuals include marigold, zinnia, cosmos, begonia, daisy, petunia, sunflower, and chrysanthemum.
Low Maintenance Vegetables
Kids of any age can plant seeds indoors to prepare for growing spring vegetables. Even toddlers can have fun planting and watering seeds indoors with a little help from a parent. In January and February, kids can start indoor seedlings like asparagus, onions, peas, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and more. When the last frost has passed, usually by mid-March, it’s time to transfer the baby plants to an outdoor garden. Don’t worry if you didn’t start seedlings indoors, the veggie growing season goes through October so you can plant seeds or established veggies all summer long.
Frisco can be dry for long stretches during the summer. Although most kids love watering plants, and playing in the hose to cool down while they’re at it, growing drought-tolerant plants can be helpful. Not only will drought-tolerant plants reduce your water bill, but they’re also more likely to survive and easy for children to keep alive. Try planting firebush, a tropical evergreen with white blooms or globe amaranth; also called bachelor’s buttons, a versatile annual in a variety of gorgeous colors. Other common drought-tolerant flowers your kids will love to plant are euphorbia, Turk’s cap, and Lynn’s legacy.
Some varieties of plants wilt in extreme heat, even with enough water. Choosing heat-tolerant flowers can help ensure the flowers your child grows in their garden will survive the Texas heat. Many heat-tolerant plants are also drought-tolerant, but that’s not always the case. You can help your child research some of these varieties to see how much water they need, despite being heat resistant. Begonias are heat-tolerant if planted early enough to establish before extreme heat begins, white stream Lobularia are a type of alyssum that love the Texas heat, and trumpet-shaped Mandevilla flowers do well in containers or beds.
After a lesson on the importance of pollinators, kids will love planting a pollinator-friendly garden and keeping an eye out for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Many of these flowers come in a variety of colors, so choose the brightest options for attracting pollinators and a visually pleasing flower garden. Mari-mum is a variety of large-flowered marigolds that bloom for an extended time, Tidal Wave Petunia is a hybrid that is more temperature tolerant with a plentiful flower supply, and Butterfly Deep Pink Penta is a tropical annual that’s low maintenance. Hibiscus, lantana, phlox, verbena, and salvia also attract pollinators.
If you live in a suburban or rural area, deer can be a challenge. If you know there’s a lot of deer near your home, then you might consider helping your kids choose deer-resistant plants. After all, no one wants to see their hard work in the garden disappear overnight; adults and kids alike. Luckily, there are many pretty plants that are easy to grow but deer avoid. Angelonia resembles mini snapdragons and comes in a wide variety of colors, while larkspur has long panicles of double petaled flowers, and periwinkle comes in both upright or trailing varieties.
Easy Landscaping Perennials
Most perennials are flexible and you can plant them anytime during the growing season. If you start with small transplants, they may not bloom the first year, but more mature plants will probably bloom their first season. Kids will enjoy watching their favorite plants come back year after year, and beautiful landscaping perennials will keep your yard looking great without the hassle of replanting every year. Try planting fragrant flowering peonies, ornamental, and feathery reed grass, juniper shrubs for evergreen foliage, or hardy geraniums for flowering ground cover. Hydrangeas are also a beautiful option with their various colors.
Plants Native to Texas
A fun idea for a garden theme is native Texas plants. You can learn about native plants and local flora with your child before letting them choose their favorite native species. Since these plants are native, they are hardy varieties that thrive in the Frisco climate. There are several varieties of bluebonnets to choose from, like the Texas Bluebonnet, Texas Maroon Bluebonnet, and Lady Bird Johnson Royal Bluebonnet. A native wildflower, Dakota Gold Helemium is Texas tough with bright yellow flowers. Small native trees for a little shade include Possum Haw and Lacey Oak.
Delicious and fragrant herbs are a great way to grow some plants with your child and incorporate cooking lessons. Before choosing which herbs to plant, you can have a taste-testing session in the kitchen and let your little one try the dried herbs in your spice cabinet. Luckily, almost all herbs grow well in Zone 8. You can read about herbs with your child to learn which ones grow well together and which ones prefer more or less water. Great options for helping your child plant an herb garden include chives, sorrel, thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and sage. Since 1982, our preschool in Frisco, TX has focused on children’s developmental years. Fostering a love for learning through hands-on activities, like planting and caring for a garden, is just one of the many ways we encourage fun and engaging learning opportunities. We’d love to hear about your child’s gardening adventures, drop us a line and let us know what your little one is growing in their backyard.