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Filling your garden with the plants that you want at a price you can afford is a challenge that many of us will be all too familiar with.
I am always adding new plants and over time have developed a good eye for maximising planting at the same time as minimising costs. I have a variety of methods in my arsenal that can be employed to help save significant amounts of cash when filling and stocking borders and containers. What’s more, you can do this too! If you want to cut the cost of planting this year, read on for my top 7 tips on where to find cheap plants!
Cheap plants can often be found in clearance racks at garden centres, DIY shops and supermarkets. Taking cuttings, dividing perennials and growing from seed are also great ways to cut down on planting costs. Local car boot sales and sites such as freecycle are also worth a look.
1. Check out Plant Clearance Racks
A good option for cheap plants, and one of my favouites, has to be the plant clearance racks. You will usually find these at garden centres as well as supermarkets and DIY shops with garden sections.
The plants sourced from these racks can often be a bit hit and miss but if you know what your’e looking for you can unearth some real bargains.
As a general rule I find that clearance shelves in specialist garden centres tend to have higher quality offerings than those in DIY shops or supermarkets. Maybe this is because DIY shops and supermarkets have competing priorities and the plants sometimes don’t get the TLC (ie. watering) that they require. Whereas specialist garden centres have specially trained staff with more of a horicultural focus.
That said, bargains can be found in clearance racks across a whole range of outlets so it is definitely worth looking around.
Some of the plants on these racks will be past saving. But many are placed there simply because they are not flowering, or do not look as good as other (more recently delivered) stock. A bit of TLC is often all they need!
Although quite often it will come down to being in the right place at the right time.
2. Shop for Plants at Supermarkets and DIY Centres
Supermarkets and DIY centres have now started to stock whole ranges of plants which can often be very competitively priced.
However, because these plants will have been produced to sell at specific (low) prices compared to those in the garden centres, it is worth bearing in mind that they will often be smaller and less mature in comparison.
And as we have already mentioned, supermarkets and DIY centres are also less likely to have horticulturally trained staff looking after the plants. Once they have been on the shelf for a few days, plants can start to deteriorate if they are not kept in the correct conditions and not looked after properly.
If you are going to buy from supermarkets or DIY shops, a top tip is to go for plants that have recently been delivered and haven’t been sitting on the shelf for prolonged periods of time without the care and attention they deserve.
3. Take Cuttings
Growing from cuttings is a great way to get your hands on free plants! You can either take cuttings from plants that you already own (if you want more in your garden) or ask for / swap cuttings of plants with friends and family (a great way of improving your variety of planting).
There are lots of plants that are easy to grow from cuttings including hydrangea, geranium and mint. Check out the below video!
4. Divide Perennials
An easy way to multiply plants (for free) is to divide them. Perennials over time will spread and grow into clumps and dividing them will keep them contained in their original location as well as giving you new plants to locate elsewhere in your garden.
Check out the below video!
5. Grow From Seed
As the old saying goes, the best things come to those who wait, and this is certainly true when it comes to growing from seeds. With a little patience and forward planning, you will find that growing from seed is another great source of cheap plants. And what’s more, it is easy to do.
There are a few ways to go about this – you can either buy packet seeds directly or harvest seeds from existing plants:
- Buy seeds – packets of seeds can be bought from outlets such as garden centres and DIY stores, or online. The exact number of seeds that you get in a packet will depend on the variety of plant, but often you can get hundreds of individual seeds in a pack for the same price as one starter plant.
- Harvest seeds from existing plants – if your friends and family have existing plants that you would like in your own garden, harvesting seeds from them once they have flowered (usually in later summer or early autumn) to use for next year is an even cheaper way of growing plants than buying seeds in packet form.
6. Have a Look on Freecycle
Websites such as freecycle often have adverts for people looking to move on unwanted plants locally – definitely worth a look!
7. Go to Your Local Car Boot Sale or Plant Sale
Last but not least, you can often unearth some absolute bargain plants at your local car boot sale or charity plant sale!