6 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Garden Plants
Not everyone has the finances to buy new plants for each season or occasion. That doesn’t mean a garden has to look drab or bare, nor do gardeners need to be deprived of their favorite pastime. The sign of a beautiful garden is not how much money is invested, but how well it’s cared for, the design, and choice of plants.
Through cuttings, seeds, plant sales, plant rescuing, and other resourceful ways, a garden can look like paradise. Here’s how:
Cuttings are one of the most obvious and popular ways to sample different plants in your region. You can propagate them through layering, rooting, dividing, or simply transplanting the plant directly into the soil.
This is a popular way to add to your succulent garden, especially for those who live in the western United States and dry or drought-stricken regions that feature succulents in landscapes throughout the year. There’s such a frenzy of succulent lovers out there that Facebook groups devoted to collecting and sharing information have had to limit membership due to overwhelming response.
Try to resist taking a cutting from a public or private garden—it’s someone else’s property. Instead, find the owner, and ask if you might have a cutting. Most likely they will be flattered and happy to share.
Flea Markets and Car Boot Sales
Flea markets, farmers’ markets are a great source for cheap and sometimes free plants. In the United Kingdom, a car boot sale is a term for a group of people gathering together to sell household and garden items.
Most people price plants to be affordable. After all, that’s why people attend and sell at these kinds of events.
In spring or fall, organized garden tours give locals and enthusiasts opportunities to visit residential gardens. It’s a chance to see what grows well in the region, and many tours sell cuttings of plants at stops along the tour.
Yard and Estate Sales
Plants are among the least-popular items at an estate or garage sale–everyone has his or her eye on a valuable piece of jewelry or a cool Mid-Century modern teak buffet. Strategically arrive at the end of the sale, when items are often reduced drastically as the sellers want to pack up and move on.
Offer a low but reasonable amount to take several potted plants off their hands, and be prepared to move them yourself, swiftly and easily. With a little gardening know-how, pruning, and TLC, you can have those plants looking healthy in a month or so.
Garden Clubs and Organizations
Plant sales are an excellent way to raise money and awareness of local garden and horticulture clubs. That’s why they hold seasonal plant sales. And those sales are where someone who is looking for more unusual plants at a great price (or sometimes free), should attend.
An added bonus: most members include information on how to grow the plant. Who knows? You might end up joining one of the clubs, where the monthly meetings are often good places for free plant swaps.
Request a Plant as a Gift
Your friends and family are always bugging you for gift ideas around the holidays and your birthday, anyway—so why not ask for something you actually want, like plants? You can also request seeds or gift certificates to a garden center or nursery. Your gift giver will be happy to know he or she has selected something you really want. And it’s a gift to you, which means it didn’t cost you anything.
Pay it forward and share cuttings with other plant love