4 Ways to Find Free or Almost Free Plants

posted by Andrea | 05/2/2012

Last week I showed you a few pictures of how we transformed the landscaping of our old house… and about some of my favorite low-maintenance perennials.

Dave and I were both thrilled with what our landscape looked when we sold our house — I was especially thrilled because we did it all ourselves and I got many of the plants completely FREE.

Now that we are slowly starting to “freshen up” the landscaping around our farmhouse, I’ve started to hunt for more free and very inexpensive plants — which actually isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Here are 4 ways I’ve been able to find free or almost free plants.

1. Split them from other plants you already have.

If you have a buch of large/over-gown perennials, you can often split one plant into 4-6 smaller plants. It doesn’t require a ton of effort or skill (just look up a YouTube video for whatever type of plant you want to split) and it’s completely FREE!

2. Barter or trade with family and friends. 

This is another great way to add more variety to your plant selection. If you have a ton of Lilies or Hostas, and your friend, neighbor, or coworker has a ton of Iris or Sedum, do a swap.

Also, if you have any elderly neighbors or friends, you could offer to split some of their over-grown perennials if they allow you to keep some of the sections you split off. That way, they don’t have to do the work, and you get a bunch of free plants.

3. Look on Craigslist.

This is actually where I got most of my plants for our old house. You’d be amazed at how many “free plants” are offered on Craigslist every week. Yes, I had to go and dig them out myself — but it was worth it for beautiful, mature, and completely FREE plants.

After 3 years, I actually ended up splitting and selling a bunch of our plants on Craigslist for $1 each (I made over $150.00 in 2 weeks!)

4. Shop at the end of the season.

Without fail, greenhouses, road-side stands, lawn and garden stores, and even supermarkets will sell all their remaining plants at an extremely reduced rate at the end of the season — which is actually the best time to plant perennials anyway.

Of course it takes a little more effort to get free plants, but it’s worth it for me because I know how much money I’m saving!

Do you have other tips for finding free plants?

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10 comments

  1. Hilda Nikkel

    05/02/2012

    I enjoy many of your postings. I am a bit concerned with your recommendation to buy perrennials at the end of the season when the price is severely reduced. Often these greenhouses are small businesses. In order to make a living, they need to have us purchase their products at full cost much of the time. I hope that you are supporting them both when their products are at regular price and at a discounted price.

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  2. Deb

    05/02/2012

    When we used to live in MO, you could get trees from the Conservation dept. for very reasonable prices, NOT free, but cheap…….

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  3. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime

    05/02/2012

    I have gotten a lot of free plants by swapping and also on Kijiji (much more active site around here than Craigslist). You can also try asking on Freecycle – lots of people give away plants there when they need to divide them. I’ve also gotten free plants curbside (i.e. people leaving them by the side of the road with a “free” sign. You can sometimes get really inexpensive plants at yard sales, too.

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  4. Jenni / Life from the Roof

    05/02/2012

    Thanks for posting on this. I was just brainstorming today on how I could build up my perennial collection without spending too much (free is even better!) I am going to do these two things for now:

    1) propagate what I have – I am going to try and propagate some cuttings from our hydrangea bush

    2) advertise on our church bulletin board that I want to swap some of our Resurrection lilies for other cuttings of perennials. I am pretty sure we probably have 30+ bulbs that have grown over a couple of years, and they go for $15 each at local nurseries (I’ve thought about selling, but I’m afraid that I won’t dig them up right and they may not bloom for buyers).

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  5. Debra Kapellakis

    05/04/2012

    All wonderful ideas.

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  6. Amberlee

    05/05/2012

    Grow from seed! It can be fun, and so much cheaper! I also like to shop at my local farmers market they often have great deals. Another habit of mine is to check out the clearance racks in the back of the stores garden section. They often reduce the price when the plant is done flowering, but it will flower again next year! and the next and the next :)

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  7. Katie P.

    04/23/2013

    How do you get your grass so weed free and green? Please do tell!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Sod :) We completely removed ALL the old landscaping and grass, put in underground sprinkling, and then sodded. A brand new lawn in about 2 hours!
    Also, just so you know, this was at our old house and the yard was much smaller (a.k.a easier to maintain).

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  8. Paula

    06/27/2013

    Of all of the plants/flowers that I own, the ones that have THRIVED have been the plants that were shared by friends, neighbors and from freecycle. Freecycle.org is a great resource for getting established plants from your area. Some people want you to dig them up, but most are thinning out their flower beds or redoing their landscaping and will leave them in bags for you to come help yourself! I have had great success with every planting that I have received from others!

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  9. Martha

    08/11/2013

    You can get a free packets of TickleMe plant seeds here with every order.
    The TickleMe Plant is amazing as the leaves go crazy and fold up when you Tickle it!
    See video..
    http://www.ticklemeplant.com

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