Annuals are fair-weather friends. You enjoy them for one season and with a blink of an eye, they’re gone! Hence my love for perennials, especially ones that I depend on to fill in my garden beds and landscaping year after year. Buy them at nurseries or even the big box stores and you will go broke. But as with all things in life, there’s always a cheaper way. You just have to be resourceful. After all, I can’t afford to fill my garden beds with perennials that cost $15-$25 each if purchased from a garden center. Here are 9 ways to easily get cheap perennials without spending much cash.
Craigslist is an awesome resource for locating plant sellers. Many avid gardeners find themselves overwhelmed with plants that are taking over their flower beds. They are looking to sell them cheaply to fellow gardeners. So they re-pot them in used plastic containers and sell them in front of their home. Quick recap. Craigslist. Great for finding gardeners selling plants cheap. Bad for finding cheap dates. Don’t even. You can easily locate these sellers on Craigslist. Usually they sell between $1-$5 and there’s a good variety. Give it a try! We scored some chives and forget-me-nots this way. Another advantage. You can advertise on Craigslist for specific plants that you are looking for. Easy peasy.
2.) Family & Friends
You already know who the plant people are in your life. The ones who likely have a few extra plants to spare and would be happy exchanging. So you divide up a few hostas and I’ll bring a clump of shasta daisies and iris and we both go home happy. Best of all… this exchange is completely free. What a win-win. Consider posting on Facebook too stating specifically that you’re looking for native plants and are willing to share locally. When you think of all the annoying stuff people post on Facebook, this is bound to get a few “likes.”
You already know what a huge seed fan I am. After all, if they don’t work out. What did you really loose at the end of the day? Two bucks if that. Many people don’t realize how cheap and easy it can be to grow perennial plants from seed. Unlike annuals which can be purchased in a 4 or 6 pack for a few dollars, perennials cost significantly more and you only get the one plant. Even small perennial plants start at around $13 where I live. Some perennials you’ve just got to try are primose, lupine, pink (dianthus), columbine, shasta daisy, and coneflowers.
This time of year, I’m seeing lots of fundraisers being advertised. And with many of these fundraisers, there’s a plant sale included. No idea where these plants come from. And I don’t care as long as they’re cheap and healthy looking. Recently, I spotted the above sign. Hopefully I’ll get some cheap plants! We’ll see. Keep your eyes peeled for spaghetti dinners, rummage sales, fire hall events, and schools that are purging plants cheap to raise money for the cause!
5.) Roadside stands selling produce
Country backroads yield lots of savings if you know where to look. There’s one stand I gravitate too because plants are sold for just $1 each. Each plant is carefully labelled and a brief description on how-to care for them is always handwritten on the tag. Mind blowing that I scored 10 lovely perennials this way including creeping phlox, hens and chicks, chives, shrubby St. Johns wort, ostrich fern and many iris. So thrilled. So taking that hour trip may be well worth the ride. It gets you out of the house and up to something fun. I still can’t believe I paid $1 for the hens and chicks shown above!
5.) Divide up what you have
Let’s face it, how many of us take the time to divide up our hostas, iris, daffodils or daisies… the list goes on and on. But if we did…we’d have more to share and more to spread to other areas of the yard. I’m still trying to create that park-like feel in my backyard and have the trees to do it. I’ve been craving hostas spread around the trees like a little circular garden. But I’ve never gotten around to this project although I have plenty to divide. And then the hostas wouldn’t be so cramped.
7.) Your newspaper
You local newspaper is still your best bet for finding those killer garage sales. Right!? Same rule applies for finding those killer plants. Who’s ready to get some native plants and wildflowers cheaply?!
8.) The local nursery in fall
It’s time to test those fantastic bartering skills you have come fall. If I owned a nursery, I would only be all too thrilled to get rid of excess plants. Who wants to tend to them all winter? The cost alone. And the time to water and care for the plants. Garden centers are all too willing to purge plants in the fall, so it’s time to wheel and deal. Ask to buy in bulk. Most plants aren’t in bloom this time of year and are starting to get a little scruffy. But they’ll bounce back in your garden come spring. As you can probably guess from the above picture, I’m hoping to get some more bleeding heart!
9.) Garage sales
While scoping out the Saturday garage sale scene, I spotted the above sign. I was locked in. Just below shows what I bought for just $11. I wouldn’t even get one perennial at a store for that price. Two of the four plants were only $2 each. What a steal. Some people like to kill two birds with one stone by selling a few plants while they sell their junk at the yearly yard sale. Works for me!
And I know the focus of today is getting perennials cheaply but all of the above ways are great places to look for heirloom tomatoes and other unique plants you might not spot anywhere else. Keep your eyes peeled!
Where do you get your plants? What’s the best deal you’ve ever got?