10 Easy-to-Grow Plants for First-Time Gardeners

No green thumb? No problem.
No green thumb? No problem. / fotolinchen/Getty Images
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1. Pansies

Wild pansy flowers (Viola tricolor) blooming aside a big...
Wild pansy flowers. / Frank Bienewald/GettyImages

These hardy flowers are tough to kill—in most areas of the United States, pansies are resilient enough to survive winter temperatures. More than 300 varieties of pansies exist, including several that have been specifically bred for really hot or really cold environments.

The ideal time to plant pansies is when the soil temperature is around 50° to 60°F (August for the northern parts of the country to October in the southern), but you can also set yours out in the early spring. You can purchase fully grown plants at most gardening stores and deposit them directly into the ground. If you plan on growing some from seeds, place each one in moist soil spaced 7 to 12 inches apart.

In colder states, pansies do best in direct sunlight. If you live in a warm state like Georgia or Texas, give the flowers some shade —strategically plant them so they can spend three to four hours in the shadows per day and make sure that they get an inch of water each week.