Thrifty Ways to Get Plants for Free

frugal gardening with free plants

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Looking to grow your garden on a budget? Well, worry not! There’s a wealth of ways to acquire plants for free, and we’re here to show you how.

From seeking out generous friends, family, and neighbors who might have extra plants or cuttings to spare, to joining gardening groups or clubs where you can learn from others and receive free cuttings, the options are as abundant as nature itself.

But that’s not all! We’ve got some surprises up our sleeve, like dumpster diving for plants and utilizing seed libraries. So, are you ready to discover these thrifty ways to get plants for free?

Thrifty Ways to Get Plants for Free

Ideas For Free Plants…

  • Saving seeds and joining seed saver groups or gardening clubs can provide a constant supply of free plants and seeds, ensuring a bountiful garden.
  • Seed libraries offer access to a diverse range of seeds for free or at a low cost, contributing to the preservation of plant diversity and local agriculture.
  • Propagating plants by cuttings, division, offsets, runners, and suckers is a thrifty and effective way to expand the garden without spending much money.
  • Rescuing and dumpster diving for plants are budget-friendly ways to acquire free plants and contribute to sustainability by reducing waste.

Saving Seeds

preserving plant genetic diversity

If you’re looking to save money and grow your own plants, saving seeds is a practical and cost-effective way to ensure a bountiful garden. Not only does it allow you to have a constant supply of free plants and seeds, but it also gives you the opportunity to grow plants for free without having to buy seedlings.

By saving seeds from your favorite heirloom or organic fruits and vegetables, you can ensure that the next generation of plants will have the same desirable traits as their parents. This is because saving seeds from these plants will allow them to ‘grow true,’ meaning they’ll produce offspring that closely resemble the parent plant.

You can start saving seeds by drying them from flowers and herbs in your garden. Once the seeds are fully dried, store them in a cool and dry place for future use.

Another option is to save seeds from supermarket produce like tomatoes or peppers. Simply scoop out the seeds, rinse them in water, and let them dry before storing.

Additionally, joining seed saver groups or gardening clubs can provide you with access to free seeds and valuable advice on seed saving techniques. You can also utilize seed libraries, where you can share and increase your stocks of seeds and plants.

Propagating by Cuttings

plant propagation through cuttings

Propagating plants by cuttings is a popular and cost-effective method for obtaining free plants. By taking cuttings from an existing plant, you can create new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. This technique is used for a variety of reasons, including preserving rare or unique plant varieties, expanding your plant collection, and saving money on purchasing new plants.

Why propagate plants by cuttings:

  1. Cost-effective: Propagating plants by cuttings eliminates the need to purchase new plants, saving you money in the long run.
  2. Genetic similarity: The resulting plants from cuttings are genetically identical to the parent plant, ensuring the preservation of desirable traits such as flower color, leaf shape, or growth habit.
  3. Preservation of rare or unique plants: If you have a rare or unique plant that you want to propagate, cuttings allow you to create new plants and preserve the species.
  4. Faster growth: Cuttings often root and grow faster than seeds, allowing you to have mature plants more quickly.

How to propagate plants by cuttings:

  1. Select the right plant: Choose a healthy and mature plant as the parent plant. Make sure it is free from pests or diseases.
  2. Choose the right time: The best time to take cuttings is typically during the plant’s active growth phase, which is usually in spring or early summer. Some plants may have specific requirements, so it’s best to research the specific plant you want to propagate.
  3. Prepare the tools: Use clean and sterilized pruning shears or a sharp knife to take the cuttings. This helps prevent the spread of diseases.
  4. Take the cuttings: Select a stem that is firm and healthy, ideally with a few sets of leaves. Make a diagonal cut just below a node (the point where leaves emerge from the stem). Remove any lower leaves, leaving only a few at the top.
  5. Apply rooting hormone (optional): To increase the chances of successful rooting, you can dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder or gel. This promotes the development of roots.
  6. Plant the cuttings: Fill a small container with a well-draining potting mix. Make a hole in the soil with a pencil or your finger and insert the cutting. Gently firm the soil around it.
  7. Provide proper care: Place the container in a warm and bright location, but avoid direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Mist the leaves occasionally to maintain humidity.
  8. Monitor for root development: After a few weeks, gently tug on the cutting to check for resistance, indicating root growth. Once roots have developed, you can transplant the new plant into a larger pot or into the garden.

Propagation by cuttings allows you to expand your plant collection with minimal cost and effort. With practice and experimentation, you can successfully propagate a wide variety of plants and enjoy an abundance of free plants.

Division for Free Plants

free plants for all

To continue expanding your garden without spending much money, another cost-effective method is dividing perennial plants like hostas and daylilies to create new plants for free. Splitting clumping plants like ornamental grasses and iris can also yield additional free plants. Division is a simple and effective way to propagate your plants and multiply your garden without having to buy new ones.

When dividing plants, it’s important to choose the right time to minimize stress and help them establish in their new location. The cooler seasons, such as spring or fall, are ideal for division. Using a sharp knife or shovel, cleanly separate the plant clumps, making sure each new division has both roots and shoots. This will ensure that the new plants have the best chance of survival and growth.

To make the most of your divided plants, share them with friends and family who are also passionate about gardening. This not only helps you expand your garden for free, but it also creates a sense of community and belonging as you exchange plants and gardening tips with others. Giving away your extra plants can also bring joy and happiness to others, as they get to enjoy the beauty of these plants in their own gardens.

Did You Know? Plant division isn’t a contemporary gardening method. It’s a centuries-old practice and was one of the main methods of plant propagation before the advent of seed companies and nurseries.’

Offsets, Runners, and Suckers

Using offsets, runners, and suckers are all different types of plant propagation methods used in horticulture and gardening to get more free plants. Here’s what each means…

  1. Offsets: Offsets are small plants that form at the base of the parent plant. They are also known as “pups” in some cases. These offsets can be separated from the parent plant and replanted to create new individual plants. Some plants, such as many types of succulents, produce offsets as a means of natural reproduction.
  2. Runners: Runners are long, trailing stems that grow along the ground or just below the surface. They are also called “stolons” in some cases. Plants like strawberries and some grasses produce runners as a means of vegetative reproduction. These runners can take root at various points along their length, forming new plants. Gardeners can propagate these plants by allowing the runners to take root in new locations or by cutting and transplanting individual plantlets.
  3. Suckers: Suckers are shoots that emerge from the base of a plant, usually from the root system or the lower portion of the stem. They can grow vertically or horizontally, and they often have their own set of leaves and roots. Suckers are commonly found in plants like fruit trees (such as apples or cherries) and some shrubs (like roses). They can be removed from the parent plant and replanted to create new plants.

These propagation methods are popular because they allow gardeners to create new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. They are relatively simple and effective ways to propagate plants, especially perennials, and can be used to increase the number of plants in a garden or to replace old or damaged plants.

Dumpster Diving for Plants

urban gardening through scavenging

Consider exploring the method of ‘Dumpster Diving for Plants’ as a budget-friendly way to acquire free plants. While it may seem unconventional, dumpster diving for plants can be a rewarding and thrifty way to expand your garden on a budget.

Before embarking on this adventure, it is important to be cautious and respectful. Make sure to obtain permission and follow safety measures when diving into dumpsters. Additionally, familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding salvaging plants from dumpsters.

To increase your chances of success, target garden centers, nurseries, or community events where discarded plants are more likely to be found. Joining online forums or local groups can provide valuable insights and tips from experienced dumpster divers.

Did You Know? The practice of ‘Dumpster Diving for Plants’ is not entirely new. It dates back to the mid-20th century when environmentalists started salvaging discarded items as a form of protest against waste. Over time, this act of reclaiming waste evolved into a wider practice, including rescuing plants. This eco-friendly approach not only saves money but also contributes to reducing waste and promoting sustainability.”

Utilizing Seed Libraries

promoting community sustainability through seed libraries

Utilizing seed libraries is a practical and resourceful way to access a wide variety of seeds and plants for your garden. Seed libraries are community-based initiatives that allow you to borrow seeds, grow the plants, and return a portion of the collected seeds to the library. Here are some steps to help you make the most of seed libraries:

  • Locate seed libraries in your area: Research local gardening groups and clubs to find out if they’ve seed libraries. Many libraries operate on a membership basis, so joining these groups will grant you access to a diverse range of seeds.
  • Borrow and grow new plants: Once you’ve found a seed library, browse their collection and choose the seeds that interest you. Follow the instructions on the seed packets to start growing your plants. Make sure to provide them with the ideal conditions required for germination and growth.
  • Save seeds for the future: As the growing season progresses, your plants will mature and produce new seeds. Remember to save some of these seeds to return to the library, ensuring that the cycle continues and others can benefit from the same variety.
  • Participate in workshops and events: Seed libraries often host workshops and events where you can learn more about gardening and seed saving. Take advantage of these opportunities to expand your knowledge and meet fellow gardeners who share your passion.

Utilizing seed libraries not only provides you with a great opportunity to grow new plants for your garden, but also allows you to connect with a community of like-minded individuals who share a love for gardening and sustainability.

Free Plants…

As you can see by exploring the thrifty methods mentioned, you can garden on a budget and enjoy the beauty of plants without breaking the bank. Just like a bee buzzing from flower to flower, you can gather plant cuttings, seeds, and knowledge from friends, neighbors, and gardening groups.

Don’t forget to explore nature’s generosity through seed saving and propagating techniques. With a little resourcefulness, your garden will flourish without costing a penny. Happy gardening!


Self Sufficient Backyard

In all that time an electric wire has never been connected to our house. We haven’t gotten or paid an electricity bill in over 40 years, but we have all the electricity we want. We grow everything we need, here, in our small backyard. We also have a small medicinal garden for tough times. Read More Here...


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