Money-Saving Tips For Gardeners – Plants For Less

If you’re a gardener looking to save money – and who isn’t these days? – here are budget-wise ways to save on plants. Who says you can’t grow a colorful flower garden at half the price? And if you grow vegetables and herbs, you can save on your grocery bills too. Here’s how:

Shop frugally

  • If you’re in the market for perennials, evergreens or flowering shrubs, go for smaller sizes. Plants in four-inch pots and shrubs in one-gallon pots generally cost half of the bigger plants do. When they grow, they’ll soon catch up to the bigger sizes.
  • Buy annuals by the flat. They’re usually 20% cheaper than if you buy individual cell packs.
  • Don’t miss local plant sales held by garden clubs, botanical gardens, or community groups. You’ll often find great plants at hard-to-beat prices.
  • Shop garden center sales later in the season. Look for perennials, trees and shrubs late in the summer and through the fall when garden businesses are looking to cut their inventory. I filled a huge country-garden flower bed with perennials this way.

Grow plants from seed

  • Try growing annuals, vegetables and herbs from seed. For the price of a seed packet, you usually get more than 50 seeds. That means lots of plants for a couple of dollars.
  • Easy annuals to grow from seed are alyssum, cosmos, sunflowers, larkspur, hyacinth bean vine, morning glory and zinnia.
  • With vegetables, try tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, peppers, string beans and zucchini. All are easy from seed if you follow the instructions on the seed packet.
  • Good herbs from seed are basil, coriander, dill and summer savory. Plant a short row every couple of weeks for a steady supply through the summer.
  • Some annuals and biennials are self-sowers, which means they can come back season after season (as long as you don’t weed them out). Try calendula, cosmos, foxglove, larkspur, poppies, spider flower (cleome) and verbascum.

Divide what’s already in your garden

  • You can double or triple your plants for the price of a little digging, and trade divisions with friends and neighbors. Spring is a good time to divide many perennials.
  • Strong growers from divisions are daylilies, asters, coral-bells, heuchera, astilbe, Siberian iris, campanula, hostas, cranesbill geraniums and rudbeckias.