Fun Plants any Teen Gardener Can Grow

Teach your teen how to grow simple indoor plants.
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Gardening provides teens with a multitude of benefits, but growing plants and vegetables doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple container garden or indoor plant can provide some perks as well, such as improved psychological well-being and a greater sense of responsibility.

Here are five fun and easy plants that any teen can learn how to grow:

1. Aloes and Ivy

Aloe vera plants require little attention.

They even thrive when neglected once in a while, making them an ideal starter plant for a teenager. Plant them in a wide-mouthed pot with a potting mix suitable for cacti or succulents so the water drains well, and watch it grow.

A healthy aloe can last for years and will produce small offshoots that can be pulled away and used to start new plants. In hot climates, aloe can be planted in the ground, as long as the soil drains well.

Ivy is another plant that lasts for years with proper care. Pick a potted ivy variety and place it in an area that receives some sunlight, watering the plant every few days.

Have fun with ivy by taking a cutting, placing the cut end in a bottle or jar of water and watching the ivy grow new roots in a relatively short time. One ivy plant can lead to many; your teen can share the new, young plants with her friends or use the ivy bottles to decorate her room.

2. Amazing Air Plants

Air plants are like the hipsters, teenagers or non-conformists of the plant world.

While other plants require soil or water for their roots, air plants do their own thing and sit out in the open air, no soil required.

Although there are more than 600 varieties of air plants, the care methods for each are basically the same: place them in an area where they get plenty of airflow, such as in wide-mouthed glass ball or on a decorative plate.

Mist them daily – only every few days in winter – and keep them in a warm environment, such as indoors. 

Since the plants require no soil, they stand out in any environment. Whether your teen wants to grow them on her dresser, or she wants to create ornament-style plants hanging inside a glass ball, air plants can be a great decoration.

3. Kitchen Scrap Resurrections

Even an indifferent teen would have to admit – it's pretty cool that many fruits and vegetables can be grown from their scrap parts. The next time you use a green onion, leek, pineapple, or fennel, save the cut bottom part that contains the root.

Place the fibrous root part in a jar or bowl of shallow water without submerging the entire plant. Within a few days, the plant will resprout and eventually grow a new version of its former self. 

Change the water frequently to keep the plant healthy. Various forms of lettuce and bok choy can be grown the same way, as can celery.

4. Wheatgrass or Pet Grass

Pet lovers and health-conscious teens may enjoy growing their own wheatgrass indoors.

Wheatgrass -- good for people and pets such as cats, dogs and guinea pigs -- is a potent source of nutrients such calcium, iron magnesium, potassium. It even has loads of vitamins A, B, C and E.

Soak seeds overnight and then sprinkle them atop pre-moistened organic potting soil. Keep the plant pot in a sunny, warm area such as near a windowsill, watering daily or as needed.

Once the grass starts to grow – it looks much like the grass outdoors – it can be trimmed and juiced at any time. Many health food stores carry wheatgrass that's already growing, so trim it and juice it as desired.

Some pet stores also carry "pet" grass, which is typically wheatgrass or a combination of wheat, oat, rye and flax grasses – all healthy, edible materials. Pets can eat the grass right out of the pot; if they're hesitant to try it, trim some of the wheatgrass and sprinkle it atop their food to get them acclimated to it.

A note of caution - don’t apply fertilizers or use non-organic soil for any plants being eaten by pets or people.

5. Grow A Pizza Garden

Make pizza night even more fun by allowing your teen to grow the ingredients for a pizza, complete with tomatoes, basil, garlic, onions and peppers. Tomatoes, peppers and any of the herbs can be grown in small spaces such as containers on a patio; green onions and garlic can even be grown in a window box. 

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