Let’s be honest, buying plants isn’t the cheapest hobby. Especially if you are on a mission to become the next “plant lady” (plant guy?). Houseplants can be a pretty penny, and then there is no guarantee you aren’t going to just end up killing it.
Well today I’m sharing 7 ways I get free or nearly free plants. It takes a bit of patience and planning, but it’s well worth it in the end!
Shop Out of Season
You can find great deals on plants as you are getting close to late fall, early winter. Many of those deals (depending on where you are located) will last all the way through to Spring! Stores (especially hardware stores) can’t care for the remaining plant inventory throughout the colder seasons.
I have struck gold by regularly checking the garden center when it’s cold out and no one else is. I have bought hundred dollar trees for $10 each, and $50 shrubs and bushes for $7 or less!
Check the Discount Shelf
Often a few plants will get a little banged up, or simply be the last of it’s kind to be sold. Either way, you’ll often find deeply discounted plants
Why not start new plants from your existing plants? If you don’t have propagation friendly plants, these are the ones worth investing in. I cut pieces off my mama plants just as soon as new shoots have grown to take the place of my last set of clippings.
Once you get this plant mill going, you’ll eventually have plenty of mama and baby plants. Learn more about my favorite ‘easy-to-propagate’ plants here.
Swap Free Plant Cuttings
Whether you are tried and true at propagating plants or just new to it, why not do a swap with friends? Host a plant cutting party, or maybe just a small meetup with a few close friends to swap.
Often I have asked a friend or family member for a cutting from one of their plants I love. Most are happy to give without even doing a swap… Just do your research before hand to see if it is something that can root from a simple stalk, where it needs to be cut from, or if you will have to take a small piece of their root.
This may not work with all plant types, so look it up online before you go asking for the favor.
Harvest Seeds & Seed It
How often have you thrown away that avocado pit without a second thought, or ignored when a plant’s flowers went to seed? Those are potential houseplants and even landscaping plants!
Sure, that avocado tree may take forever to grow, but how cool does it look as a houseplant? Don’t forget to collect seeds from all those flowers, fruits, nuts, etc. Those are free plants!
Forage for Cuttings
No, don’t go cutting plants from strangers yards and your nearest botanical garden…that’s private property! Haha. But you CAN ask a neighbor, forage your own yard for stray saplings, and there are some parks that don’t mind you taking a cutting or two of wild growing plants (just ask if it is permitted first).
I use to live by a playground park with a hiking path, and the groundskeeper loved to chat with me about the various plant types that grew there. She would often send me home with a piece of plant and root!
Do your research first (if you can), some plants need a bit of root to start, some can sprout roots with a little help from some root growth hormone. Some need a big branch while others work from small ones. Others won’t root survive the shock at all, but they make for pretty clippings while you try!
Craigslist / Facebook Marketplace / Etc.
Look out for those listings of people moving, many can’t carry their plants with them. They just won’t survive the move if it is going to be more than a day long venture.
Nurseries and even wholesale distributors will sometimes list their ‘less than perfect’ cast-offs for sale to nearby neighborhoods.