Top 10 Plants to grow in your backyard in Ireland

Top 10 Plants to grow in your backyard in Ireland

If you're a beginner looking for easy-to-care-for plants, try these great recommendations for flowers, herbs and food crops to grow in your garden in Ireland.

For those new to gardening, these easy-to-maintain plants are the perfect way to get started. With minimal care, you can have a beautiful garden in no time!

Even if you've never grown a garden before, it's not difficult to start. With the right types of plants, even beginners can quickly see success and grow beautiful flowers or vegetables. If you want to create a garden full of blossoms or grow vegetables to consume, these tips will help you get started.

We've enlisted the help of experts to round up our best plants to grow in your garden in Ireland. These include cosmos, radishes, alliums and many more, which will surely add a touch of joy to your garden and flowerbed ideas. Keep reading to discover more!

Best plants for Beginners: Our top 10 picks


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1. Catmint

Catmint, or Nepeta, is an incredibly reliable perennial plant - perfect for gardening novices and can easy grow in your backyard. It's one of the best plants to start with!

'Walker's Low' is the ideal purple-flowering ground cover for sunny borders and even partial shade. It is perfect for beginners. Lavender is an essential addition to any garden. Not only does it attract beneficial wildlife but also blooms from May to December, producing a range of vibrant colours. Its foliage is highly fragrant and has silvery hues; making it a truly remarkable plant.

In an optimum environment, plants can reach a height and width of 50cm. Soils such as loam, sandy soil or chalk are the most suitable for it to spread adequately.

The ease of maintenance, as all one needs to do is cut back to just above ground level at the end of autumn. We strongly recommend it to gardening beginners and remark that having this plant in the garden is a great joy.


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2. African Daisy

African daisies, also known as osteospermums, for an easy way to enjoy months of flowers.

They thrive in soil types like chalk, loam, and sandy content, and providing access to lots of sunlight is a must for this variety of flowers. Including these in pots or borders is a great way to liven up any garden!

During the summer, daisy-like flowers bloom in a variety of colours, such as white and purple. Those looking for added brightness can opt for yellow ("Astra Yellow") or orange ("Pink-eyed Beauty") coloured variants. Removing deadheads from flowers encourages more flower growth.

Certain species of plants are more tolerant to cold weather compared to other varieties and can usually handle light winter frosts. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to provide them with frost protection for better results.


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3. Mexican Orange Blossom

Mexican orange blossom (choisya) is ideal for beginner gardeners and has a delightful scent. There are several varieties with two flowering seasons: April-May and September to October.

With this arrangement, you get not only two gardens of blooming flowers in a year, but also their attractive scent - providing great value for money.

Choisya x Dewitteana 'Aztec Pearl' is an ideal choice for larger gardens as it can reach up to 2.5m by 2.5m, whereas Choisya x Dewitteana 'White Dazzler' is a more compact option, at 1m by 1m in size.

To ensure optimal growth of this perennial, it needs to be planted in a location with abundant sunlight and soil that can quickly drain away excess water.


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4. Sunflower

Growing sunflowers (helianthus) is a great and rewarding activity for the whole family. These fast-growing annuals come in various heights, from the 'Russian Giant' at 3m tall with its huge flower heads to the 45cm 'Irish Eyes'.

In addition to the classic golden colours, there are many other flower varieties available with a range of colours, from deep oranges to very light tones. For instance, 'Italian White' flowers have soft creamy petals and dark chocolate centres, while 'Velvet Queen' offers a dark red hue.

Plant seeds in a sunny, adequately-drained area during springtime. Ensure to water them enough and thin out the seedlings when they start to grow, as overcrowding should be avoided. The flowers will bloom during summer.


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5. Cosmos

Cosmos bipinnatus is ideal for cottage gardens and beginning gardeners, making them one of the best garden plants to grow in Ireland.

Annuals have the capacity to grow quickly and provide beautiful, daisy-like flowers with wispy petals & bright yellow centres. Popular among both pollinators & humans, these blooms come in shades of white and pink and can be seen bobbing gracefully on long stems.

You can get started on your early-blooming flowers by planting the seeds indoors during March or April. Once two leaves have sprouted, you may report them. To prepare them to go outdoors in May, let them sit outside on your patio for a week and then transplant them into the garden or pot. They like sunny spots in moist, well-drained soil.

Also Read: Top 10 Medicinal Herbs to Grow Indoors


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6. Alliums

Bulbs are the ideal choice for gardening beginners, with daffodils and tulips being popular picks. However, ornamental alliums are a great option for summer since they can add colour & vibrancy to your garden. They adapt in the Irish weather and thus are one of the best plants to grow in Ireland.

Aster plants are popular for their dense clusters of star-shaped flowers, which come in both purple and white shades. After the blooming season, the ornamental seed heads can be used to bring a unique look to your garden.

When planting Alliums, be sure to choose a semi-sheltered area with plenty of sunlight. The soil should be well-draining and not overly wet or dense. These flowers can add a lot of height to your garden borders – for example, 'Mount Everest' grows up to 120 cm tall and 'Purple Sensation' reaches 1 m in height.

Plant your drought-resistant bulbs in the borders during autumn & they will come back every year. If you prefer to plant them in pots, then keep an eye on them and water them regularly.


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7. Nasturtiums

Beginner gardeners should look for plants that are easy to grow, vibrant, and cheery. Clambering plants with round leaves and colourful flowers are a perfect choice as they bloom from summer to autumn.

Annuals are relatively easy to grow from seeds and can add beauty to hanging baskets, pots and sun beds in your garden. They also help deter whiteflies & aphids from destroying crops, making them perfect for raised garden beds.

The classic varieties of marigolds come in bright orange and yellow, but you can find more unique options with deep red or variegated leaves. To keep them healthy and growing, they should be planted in well-drained soil; some varieties can spread out to 2.5m if given enough space.

Edible flowers can be a great addition to salads, adding a unique peppery flavour. Check out our comprehensive guide to edible flowers for more inspiration and ideas.


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8. Fuchsia

Fuchsias are beautiful, low-maintenance perennials that can put on a show for months. These plants' graceful flowers make them look like ballerinas and they're perfect for beginners due to their easy care requirements.

Deciduous, shrubs will shed their leaves in wintertime; however, pruning is a simple process. Cut them down around February so they will remain healthy all next summer.

'Mrs Popple' and 'Brutus' are two varieties of the same plant, and they vary in size – with 'Mrs Popple' growing to approximately 1 meter tall and wide, while 'Brutus' is much smaller at around 50 centimetres. Make sure to check which size fits your space better. If the classic hot pink and purple combo isn't your thing, 'Whiteknights Pearl' is a great alternative - it has a much paler, rosy tone.

When planting, ensure it is in an area with either full sun or partial shade, in well-drained & moist soil. Provide protection from cold winds during the winter months.

Grow Courgette in Ireland

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9. Courgette

Veg patches can be great fun and courgettes are ideal to start with if you're keen to get going. It is suitable for Irish weather and thus is one of the best plants to grow in Ireland.

Growing these plants from seed is quite straightforward - just sow into the ground in May/June, once there's no more danger of frost. Alternatively, you can buy plug plants from a garden centre. Make sure to give them enough space as they like to spread.

For optimal growth, sun and fertile soil are a must for these plants. When planting them, use compost or manure to enrich the quality of the soil. Ensure that they are adequately watered during hot summer days to avoid wilting of leaves.

Planting a few varieties is all it takes to yield an abundant harvest throughout the summer. Therefore, there's no need for planting tons of crops unless you expect to have too much of a certain vegetable. Two of the best choices are 'Defender', which won an RHS award and 'Parador', with its bright yellow colour.


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10. Radishes

Radishes are perfect for new gardeners looking to try their hand at vegetable gardening. They grow quickly and add a delicious, peppery crunch to summer salads.

You can sow seeds of vegetables directly into the ground from March. Place the seeds in rows that are 15 cm apart and thin them out to ensure optimal growth. You can expect to harvest them in 4-6 weeks after sowing. Make sure they get enough water during dry spells for the best results.

In addition to the classic pink kinds of onions, you can also find purple and white varieties such as 'Scarlet Globe" and "Royal Purple".

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