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Gardening and Small-Scale Farming

Top 10 Plants for Beginner Urban Gardeners

Last Updated on November 22, 2023


Urban gardening is important as it allows people in cities to grow their own food.

Gardening has various benefits for beginners such as stress relief and improved mental health.

Embarking on the journey of urban gardening is a rewarding venture that not only adds a touch of greenery to your surroundings but also allows you to cultivate a connection with nature within the confines of urban spaces.

For beginners eager to delve into the world of gardening, selecting the right plants is crucial for a flourishing and enjoyable experience.

In this guide, we present the top 10 plants ideally suited for novice urban gardeners, offering not just aesthetic appeal but also ease of care and a promising start to your urban gardening odyssey.

Let’s cultivate the joy of nurturing life amidst the urban bustle.

Read: Water Scarcity in Farming: A Growing Concern

Criteria for selection

A successful urban garden requires plants that are low maintenance, suitable for limited space, and resistant to common urban challenges.

Here are the top 10 plants that meet these criteria:

  • Succulents: Succulents are perfect for beginners as they require minimal watering and can thrive in small pots.

  • Herbs: Herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary are not only easy to grow but also add flavor to your meals.

  • Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes, in particular, are compact plants that can be grown in containers with proper support.

  • Peppers: Varieties like bell peppers and chili peppers are known for their ability to tolerate urban conditions.

  • Lettuce: Leafy greens like lettuce can be grown in small spaces and are low maintenance with regular watering.

  • Radishes: Radishes are fast-growing, space-efficient vegetables that can be harvested within a few weeks.

  • Strawberries: These sweet fruits are ideal for hanging baskets or vertical gardens, taking advantage of vertical space.

  • Marigolds: Marigolds not only add a pop of color to your garden but also deter pests with their strong scent.

  • Pansies: Pansies thrive in cooler temperatures, making them great for urban gardens with limited sunlight.

  • Spider Plant: Spider plants are low maintenance, air-purifying houseplants that can be grown indoors or outdoors.

Low maintenance plants

These plants have been carefully selected as they fulfill multiple criteria for beginner urban gardeners.

Their low maintenance nature ensures that even those with busy schedules can enjoy a flourishing garden.

Suitable for limited space

Their suitability for limited spaces allows urban gardeners to grow their plants in containers, window boxes, or vertical gardens.

Resistant to common urban challenges

Urban gardens often face challenges like pollution, limited sunlight, and pest infestations.

However, the plants on this list have shown resilience to these urban problems.

For example, succulents are drought-tolerant, making them perfect for areas with limited water availability or during periods of hot weather.

Marigolds and pansies act as natural pest repellents, reducing the need for harmful chemical pesticides in your garden.

When starting your urban garden, it’s important to choose plants that fit your specific environment.

Consider factors such as available space, sunlight exposure, and the amount of time you can dedicate to maintenance.

By selecting plants that meet the criteria mentioned above, you’ll set yourself up for success as a beginner urban gardener.

Remember, gardening is a journey of learning and experimentation.

Don’t be afraid to try different plants and techniques to find what works best for you.

Happy gardening!

Read: Small-Scale Farming: Maximizing Your Space

Top 10 Plants for Beginner Urban Gardeners


Succulents are low-maintenance plants that store water in their leaves, making them perfect for busy urban gardeners.

These plants come in a variety of shapes and colors and require minimal care.

To care for succulents, place them in a sunny spot and water them sparingly.

They don’t like to be overwatered, so it’s important to let the soil dry out between waterings.

Succulents can also be propagated easily by taking leaf cuttings. The benefits of having succulents in your urban garden are numerous.

They purify the air by removing toxins, they are known to improve focus and productivity, and they add a touch of natural beauty to any space.


Herbs are another great option for beginner urban gardeners.

They are easy to grow, require minimal space, and provide fresh flavors for cooking.

To care for herbs, make sure they get enough sunlight and water them regularly.

Most herbs do well in well-drained soil and can be grown in pots or small containers. Harvesting the leaves regularly will encourage new growth.

The benefits of growing herbs go beyond adding flavor to your dishes.

They also have medicinal properties, can attract beneficial insects to your garden, and add fragrance to your outdoor space.


Peperomia plants are compact and easy to care for, making them perfect for urban gardeners with limited space and time.

To care for peperomia, place them in bright, indirect light and water them when the top inch of soil is dry.

These plants do well in average room humidity and can tolerate occasional neglect.

The benefits of having peperomia in your urban garden include their ability to remove toxins from the air, their low maintenance requirements, and their attractive foliage.

Snake plant

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria, are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, making them ideal for beginner urban gardeners.

To care for snake plants, place them in indirect sunlight and water them sparingly.

These plants are drought-tolerant and can survive even if you forget to water them for a while.

Snake plants also help purify the air by removing toxins.

The benefits of having snake plants in your urban garden include their ability to improve indoor air quality, their low maintenance needs, and their striking appearance.

ZZ plant

ZZ plants are known for their ability to thrive in low-light conditions, making them perfect for indoor urban gardens.

To care for ZZ plants, place them in a spot with indirect sunlight and water them only when the soil is completely dry.

These plants can withstand neglect and are perfect for those who often forget to water their plants.

The benefits of having ZZ plants in your urban garden include their air-purifying properties, their ability to tolerate low-light conditions, and their attractive glossy leaves.

Spider plant

Spider plants are one of the easiest plants to grow, making them ideal for beginner urban gardeners.

To care for spider plants, place them in bright, indirect light and water them when the top inch of soil is dry.

These plants prefer slightly higher humidity levels, so misting them occasionally can be beneficial.

The benefits of having spider plants in your urban garden include their air-purifying abilities, their ability to produce small plantlets that can be repotted, and their attractive arching foliage.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera plants are not only easy to grow but also have various medicinal uses, making them a valuable addition to any urban garden.

To care for aloe vera, place it in a sunny spot and water it deeply but infrequently.

These plants prefer well-draining soil and can tolerate drought-like conditions.

Aloe vera gel can be extracted from their leaves for various skin treatments.

The benefits of having aloe vera in your urban garden include its ability to soothe and heal the skin, its low maintenance requirements, and its striking appearance.


Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is a trailing plant that is perfect for hanging baskets or as a climbing plant for vertical spaces.

To care for pothos, place it in bright, indirect light and water it when the top inch of soil is dry.

These plants are easy to propagate by stem cuttings and can tolerate lower light conditions.

The benefits of having pothos in your urban garden include its air-purifying capabilities, its ability to thrive in various light conditions, and its beautiful trailing vines.

Peace lily

Peace lilies are elegant plants that not only add beauty to your urban garden but also improve air quality.

To care for peace lilies, place them in bright, indirect light and water them when the top inch of soil is dry.

These plants prefer higher humidity levels, so misting them occasionally can be beneficial.

The benefits of having peace lilies in your urban garden include their ability to purify the air, their low maintenance needs, and their beautiful flowers.

Moth orchid

Moth orchids, also known as Phalaenopsis, are stunning flowering plants that are surprisingly easy to care for.

To care for moth orchids, place them in bright, indirect light and water them when the potting mix feels dry to the touch.

These plants prefer higher humidity levels and should be potted in a well-draining orchid potting mix.

The benefits of having moth orchids in your urban garden include their beautiful flowers that can last for several months, their ability to thrive in indoor conditions, and their air-purifying properties.

In general, these top 10 plants for beginner urban gardeners provide a variety of options for those looking to start their own green oasis in the city.

Whether you prefer low-maintenance succulents, versatile herbs, or elegant flowering plants, there is something for everyone.

With their ease of care and numerous benefits, these plants are perfect for urban dwellers looking to bring nature into their homes.

So why wait? Start your urban garden today and enjoy the beauty and benefits these plants have to offer.

Read: Urban Farming 101: Starting Your City Garden

Top 10 Plants for Beginner Urban Gardeners

Additional tips for success

Importance of proper sunlight exposure

  1. Choose plants that are suitable for your specific amount of sunlight.

  2. Ensure your plants receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

  3. Outdoor urban gardeners may need to consider tall buildings casting shadows on their plants.

  4. Monitor sun patterns and adjust plant placement accordingly to maximize sun exposure.

  5. Lack of sunlight can lead to weak and leggy plants with poor growth and low productivity.

Watering frequency and techniques

  1. Water plants thoroughly, allowing the water to reach the root zone.

  2. Practice deep watering, which promotes root growth and drought tolerance.

  3. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and pest problems.

  4. Container-bound plants may need more frequent watering due to faster drying out.

  5. Use mulch to retain moisture, reduce evaporation, and regulate soil temperature.

Soil requirements and amendments

  1. Choose a well-draining soil mix suitable for your plants.

  2. Regularly amend the soil with organic matter like compost to improve fertility and moisture retention.

  3. Test the pH of your soil and adjust it if necessary to create ideal growing conditions.

  4. Consider adding perlite or vermiculite to improve soil drainage for container gardening.

  5. Regularly monitor soil moisture levels using your finger or a moisture meter.

Pests and diseases management

  1. Monitor your plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases.

  2. Identify the specific issues and research appropriate organic control methods.

  3. Implement preventative measures like crop rotation and companion planting to minimize pest problems.

  4. Encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to naturally control pests.

  5. If necessary, use organic pest control products like neem oil or insecticidal soap.

By following these additional tips, you can ensure the success of your urban gardening venture.

Remember, proper sunlight exposure, watering techniques, and soil amendments are crucial for healthy plant growth.

Staying vigilant and addressing pest and disease issues promptly will help maintain a thriving urban garden. Happy gardening!

Read: Organic Farming: Basics for Small Plots


Recap of the top 10 plants for beginner urban gardeners:

  • Tomatoes: Easy to grow, abundant harvests.

  • Basil: Fragrant and versatile herb for a variety of dishes.

  • Lettuce: Quick growing and perfect for small urban spaces.

  • Peppers: Adds a kick to your meals and thrives in containers.

  • Mint: Refreshing and easy to grow, great for adding to drinks or desserts.

  • Cucumbers: Fun to grow and perfect for fresh salads and pickling.

  • Green onions: Low maintenance and essential in many recipes.

  • Swiss chard: Colorful and packed with nutrients, perfect for beginner gardeners.

  • Zucchini: High yielding and versatile vegetable for your urban garden.

  • Marigolds: Beautiful flowers that repel pests and add color to your garden.

Gardening is a fulfilling and rewarding hobby that allows you to connect with nature and enjoy fresh produce.

Even with limited space, urban gardeners can grow a variety of plants and create their own green oasis.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re new to gardening – these beginner-friendly plants are perfect for getting started.

Remember to start with a small selection and gradually expand your garden as you gain confidence and experience.

With proper care and attention, you’ll soon see the fruits of your labor and enjoy the benefits of your urban garden.

So go ahead, grab your gardening tools and start your own urban garden adventure today!

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