And Now, What to Plant?

3, 4, 5

Students will learn about the variety of plants that could be put into the garden and make the selection of best plants for the area. Students will shop for plants and seeds.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • compare and contrast annual and perennial plants.
  • list variations in size and shape in different varieties of plants.
  • analyze which plants attract butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
Home Connection 

None for this lesson.


Helpful titles include:

  • Lovejoy, Sharon. Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children. Workman Publishing Co., 1999. ISBN: 0761110569.
  • Rhoades, Diane. Garden Crafts for Kids: 50 Great Reasons to Get Your Hands Dirty. Sterling Publications, 1998. ISBN: 0806909994.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students to name plants with which they are familiar. Record these on the board.


  2. Discuss what students know about the types of plants that grow in gardens and why people select the types of plants they do.

  3. Place a Venn diagram (two intersecting circles) on the board. Label the left outermost portion of the figure as "annuals." Label the right outermost portion of the figure "perennials." The inner portion will be used for similar features of both types of flowers. Identify the difference between annuals and perennials (e.g., annuals mature and live one season only; perennials live a duration of three or more seasons and save the time, labor, and expense of replanting every year). Fill in the diagram as characteristics are discussed.

  4. Discuss the need for a variety of colors, sizes and plants to be placed in the garden. Remind students that they may need both annuals and perennials. They may also want to discuss whether or not to include both flowering plants and non-flowering plants which have colorful leaves instead of flowers. Once a variety of plants has been identified, students should select a committee to do the shopping with the teacher's assistance. (Prior to this point, a discussion and a plan should have


In their journals students should make a list of plants that they think should be in the garden and identify them as perennial or annual, flowering or non-flowering. Assign students to write a paragraph in their journals about the kinds of plants they have noticed that attract butterflies and birds (e.g., birds are attracted to conifers, grasses and legumes, nectar-producing plants, summer-fruiting plants like cherry and mulberry, fall-fruiting plants like dogwoods, winter fruiting plants like cranberry and sumac plus nut and acorn plants. Some of the plants butterflies prefer include dahlias, day lilies, geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, milkweed and zinnias). The teacher may wish to observe discussion as a form of assessment.

Cross Curriculum 

Students are making decisions related to their gift of a garden to the community.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.