Q. What plants should I have in an elementary school classroom?

I am a volunteer at Lea Elementary School, and the homeroom first grade teacher that I work with is interested in plants for the classroom. I wondered if you knew of a good resource for hardy non-toxic plants and pots? Are there any suppliers out there that would consider donating to this worthy cause?


Teachers usually bring various house plants into the classroom. These are indoor plants in our climate and need not be hardy plants. Unless you have a botanical or horticultural project in mind (probably not for first graders) you do not need anything too fancy. There are usually plants for sale at grocery stores, as well as at local florists or at places like Home Depot or Lowes. The financial outlay for small potted plants is not large in these instances. If you want to get children involved with growing plants from seed, you will soon be able to find a good selection of seeds at your local hardware store (or if you wait a bit, you will find plenty of seeds for sale in the vendors' section of the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show).

We have several online subject guides on gardening with children. Each guide contains recommended books and websites on the topic.

Garden Ecology for Children  

A guide for parents and teachers on finding information about introducing children to nature through gardening.

Gardening with Children  

This guide will help locate resources on gardening and children. It will also help in finding grant information for a classroom garden program.

Schoolyard Habitat Gardening  

This guide will be useful in finding information about creating schoolyard habitat gardens and garden learning activities.

Youth and Trees  

A guide for introducing children and youth to growing and caring for trees.

Do you know about our Green City Teachers program? The Green City Teachers training program is designed to provide Philadelphia educators with the skills necessary to integrate horticultural and environmental education into curricula, after-school programs and service-learning projects, and to help students appreciate the role of nature in their lives.

For more details about the Green City Teachers program, contact Sally McCabe at 215-988-8846 or by email.

  • Last Updated Jan 08, 2019
  • Views 154
  • Answered By Aska Gardener

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