Look no further than your own backyard if you’re searching for a fun activity to share with your kids. Gardening is a great way to spend quality time as a family, all while giving young children a way to develop their motor skills, spend time outside, and learn about science and healthy eating. Still, it can be all too easy to write off gardening as a time intensive task too difficult to do with kids if you don’t know the right plants for your area.

That’s where Crème de la Crème of Carmel comes in. We’ve put together this list of plants that are easy to grow and care for in our hometown.

Planting a Garden in Carmel

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Image via Unsplash by yngprmtv using Unsplash License

No matter what type of plants you’re looking to grow, picking varieties that can thrive in the climate where you live is essential. After all, a gorgeous flower that’s low-maintenance in warm areas might struggle and wilt in colder locations. Looking at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help you discover the perfect plants for your backyard garden.

Carmel is located in Zone 5 of this map. Zone 5 plants typically can’t survive winter temperatures that dip below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. In Zone 5, April 15 marks the average date of the late frost. Because of this, many gardeners will wait until early or mid-May before they start to plant annual beds or vegetable gardens.

There’s good news for would-be Carmel gardeners: Most vegetables and annuals can do quite well in Zone 5 as long as you don’t get unlucky with a late frost while the plants are still young. Even better? Tough Zone 5 perennials can survive a late frost, or they simply stay dormant in early spring. In other words, you’ll have plenty of choices for flowers and vegetables that are easy to care for alongside your kiddos.

Perennials for a Beautiful and Easy Carmel Garden

Going for perennial plants can help you create a beautiful garden year after year without the need for constant replanting. Perennials are usually cold-hardy plants that come back every year. In contrast, annuals need replanting the following spring. Perennials tend to bloom only for one season every year, and many will live a long time. Different perennials need different degrees of care, so while some will require regular pruning and dividing, you can absolutely find perennials that don’t need much attention.

Here are some perennials that do well in Zone 5, all while being easy to care for:


There’s good reason why daylilies are a common sight in perennial gardens. Thousands of gorgeous varieties come in an array of shades, and the flowers require simple maintenance. You’ll get shape and texture in your garden throughout the year, not to mention the dazzling flower display that comes for a few weeks in early to midsummer. Daylilies grow well in any soil, as long as it’s well-drained, and can grow in full sun to partial shade. Daylilies are also drought tolerant, though they do better with regular moisture.


Hostas are another must-have on any low-maintenance gardener’s list. Detailed, colorful leaves add visual interest to areas of your garden that aren’t as bright. Typically grown for foliage, hostas do have flowers that can attract hummingbirds and bees if you choose not to remove the flower stalks. Grow hostas in part to full shade and in fertile, rich, well-drained soil.


Hyacinths are really easy to grow—and you don’t even need soil to grow them. Plant hyacinths in the ground, in a pot, or grow in water in a bulb vase without any soil. Hyacinths do best when they have well-drained soil and full sun, though, and they’ll treat you to fragrant blooms in hues that range from pink, red, and purple to yellow, orange, white, and even blue. However, you’ll want to exercise caution,especially if you’re letting your kids pitch in when growing this plant, as the bulbs are toxic to both pets and humans.

Salvia (Sage)

Once you’ve established your sage plants, you’ll find that they’re incredibly low maintenance. You can find a variety of cultivars with different heights, bloom colors, and foliage colors. These drought-tolerant plants like dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil, and full sun.

Vegetables To Plant in Carmel

A range of edible plants can take your gardening time with the kids to the next level. You’ll need to know when to plant your chosen vegetables in Carmel, but once you do, you’ll find various options that are easy to grow as a family. In general, plants that go from seed to food and that aren’t super fussy about where they’re planted make good choices. Some vegetables to plant with kids in Carmel include:


Since they’re nice and big, beans work well for little fingers when it’s time to harvest. Plant beans right into a pot or garden bed, or build a teepee with garden stakes to provide support for climbing beans.


Carrots are easy to grow if you have a deep pot, though you can also grow them right in the ground. You can grow carrots in either spring or autumn, then have fun munching away on the crunchy treats.


With lettuce available in a variety of colors and types, making healthy salads has never been more fun. Better yet, lettuce grows quickly and doesn’t require full sun. You’ll want to start with seedlings instead of seeds for a simple experience.


Just like those beans, you can make a teepee for peas. Grow them a few weeks earlier than the beans, and then add in beans a few weeks later. Kids will love picking and eating peas fresh from the garden. You can also easily dry peas to save as seeds for the next year.


Fast growing? Check. Not fussy? Check. It doesn’t matter where you plant radishes: You’ll give your kids an interesting flavor to sample, and you’ll see sprouts within a few days of planting. You can typically harvest radishes within 30 days (or even earlier if you want to eat them when they’re small), offering a quick payoff to keep kids interested in their gardening endeavors.

That wraps up Crème de la Crème of Carmel’s tips for easy gardens at home. Do you have another low-maintenance plant you love to grow with your kids? Drop us a line so we can add it to our list.