Gardening is one of my favorite pastimes, but also one of the most expensive! Over the years I’ve come up with quite a few ways to save on both annual and perennial plants this time of year. 

Sometimes I will still splurge on a plant or tree, but for the most part these methods will save me a TON on flowers, bushes and trees for our gardens and yard. 

I’ve planted or replanted a TON of plants this spring (most were small, individual flowers) and have loved watching them thrive. 

I gathered my top five ways to save on plants this spring and summer! 

1. Pick spreading plants

love our window boxes, but they can be expensive to fill every spring. I learned years ago that using flowers that spread will make my money go a lot further. 

My favorite has always been the wave petunias because they multiply like crazy and cascade out of boxes or containers: 

These are the only annual flowers I plant each year because they spread and fill in so beautifully. 

For your landscaping, look for ground cover or flowers that spread, like this awesome sedum plant I showed you years ago:

I planted these in our patio light cemented planters and they have absolutely THRIVED! 

I shared more about these easy plants here — the best part is that they are evergreen and look great even throughout the winter. (They will be dormant and won’t flower, but still add some green to your landscape!)

I love these plants so much, I’ve added them all over in our garden beds. They spread quickly and look fantastic: 

If left alone they will spread like crazy and need very little upkeep. They will even block out weeds in beds so they offer low maintenance landscaping. 

Other great spreading flowers or plants: 

  • Dianthus 
  • Phlox
  • Hens and chicks (succulents)
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Lavender
  • Lamb’s Ears

2. Size (doesn’t) matter

I’m impatient, especially when it comes to flowering plants. I want the payoff NOW. 🙂

But I’ve learned that most of the time I’ll save a ton if I purchase the smaller sized garden plants. With a bit of nurturing at first (once they’re established within in a few weeks you don’t have to baby new plants as much). 

Now I usually go for the smaller containers, especially if the plant is a fast grower. I’ve been planting a bunch of these bright pink dianthus for much needed color on the front of our house: 

That version was $20 and is twice the size of the one I got: 

Mine was $9 and with a little bit of fertilizer (I use this liquid fertilizer that attaches to our hoses) and TLC upfront, they’ll be that full size by mid-summer. 

Until then, my smaller versions still add that pretty pop of color and were more than half the price!

Those lovely petunias I mentioned are another great example. Instead of buying the much larger pots that are already blooming, go for the smaller, individual petunias. 

They’ll be triple the size and blooming in no time! I planted these small petunias from our Aerogarden (that were only leaves at the time) in our window boxes: 

There are six individual plants there — but they have grown like mad and have multiple blooms already:

It’s only been three weeks since I planted the small starts and they have exploded!

Patience is key. 🙂 Be sure to look at the tag on your plants to see how fast they grow. Obviously this is most beneficial when you’re buying a smaller version of a fast grower. 

3. They just need a little love

Did you know that many nurseries or hardware stores will slash prices on plants that don’t look perfect? 

The clearance section is my all time best secret for beautiful flowers and plants! It’s the first place I look when I’m looking for new additions: 

Don’t let those scraggly plants scare you! You can find SO many lovely options that will perk up beautifully once you get them home!

Now there are always plenty that are too far gone for even me, like these evergreens that will not come back: 

But look at that hanging plant on the bottom left! It’s perfectly fine, the flowers have just bloomed already and therefore isn’t quite as attractive on the sales floor. 

I found a bunch of the dianthus plants I mentioned earlier on the sales rack at Lowe’s for half off. They were looking a little worn, but not that bad!

After only a week of watering everyday and a bit of fertilizer, they’re already coming along beautifully!

I make sure newly planted flowers are watered daily for the first week or two. After that only as needed.

The other day I found four hydrangea plants on these clearance shelves that only had some spent blooms: 

The plant itself was green and healthy (check out the new blooms on the upper left). I knew it would thrive at home, so I grabbed one at half off. I wish I would have bought all of them!

After only a few days and a little trimming, the plant isn’t quite as colorful, but will be in a few weeks!

The clearance section is also a great spot to find one and done bloomers like lilies — once they bloom they’ll be placed on the rack. Some of them will continue to bloom for weeks! 

And of course next spring you’ll have beautiful blooms in the spring for half the price. 🙂 Such a great bargain!

4. Splitting plants

This is another favorite way to make flowers and plants go way further! There are so many perennials you can split apart and replant, and I do the same with flowering annuals as well. 

I usually use hanging potted plants to fill my back patio containers. They’re already nice and full, and because of that I can easily split them two or three ways: 

Just take the plant out of the plastic pot and use a garden trowel or any other sharp garden tool to punch the soil where you want to split them. 

These will be tangled together a bit, but if you shake them a little they’ll start to come apart. You don’t have to baby these too much — you may lose a few branches in this process, but no worries! 

The flowers will bounce back quickly. Can you tell which containers have plants that were split?

Again, patience is needed as these start to bloom and perk up to fill in the containers. But they always look GREAT in a week or two!

There are a ton of annuals that can be split when planting or after they’ve been in the soil for a while. Hostas are one of my favorites. 

When shopping for hostas, make sure to look under the leaves to see how many individual plants are in the pot: 

This is important with hostas specifically, because I’ve seen pots with as little as only two — you want as many as possible! They all cost the same, so be sure to check.

Use the same process as the flowers to split the roots apart:

It may take some effort if your hosta is large, and it will feel like you’re killing them, but don’t worry! Most plants are resilient and will come back looking great!

I got FOUR hostas out of one $24 plant:

You can also do this with more established hostas — it’s actually good for them as they become overgrown. 

There are so many plants you can split and replant! 

Here are just a few flowering plants that can be split:

  • Aster
  • Hosta
  • Sedum (pictured above!)
  • Daylily
  • Peony
  • Phlox
  • Iris

Divide spring bloomers in fall, fall bloomers in spring, and summer bloomers in either spring or fall.

5. Buy and plant late in the season

It blows my mind every year how fast plant prices are slashed…in the summer! I can always count on finding GREAT deals starting as early as July. 

You have to time the best deals just right, but you’ll find perfectly healthy plants being clearanced out as early as mid-summer. 

The Walmart nursery is my favorite place to find these deals, because they start moving them out early to get ready for holiday stock. I’ve found SO many great perennials for insane prices in July and August. 

I found these Sea Green Juniper evergreens last summer for around $6 each!

I’ve purchased many trees at deep discounts mid-season as well, like this Juniper tree and my knock out roses in the backyard: 

Hydrangeas are another great one to look for from mid-summer on, as they need TONS of water and the nurseries have to baby them in their small pots the hotter it gets. 

At most garden centers, you’ll start to see major discounts later in the fall. This works out well because the BEST time to plant is in the cooler spring and fall months. 

We’ve planted discounted trees and shrubs as late as November! Don’t sleep on the sales that start early! 

Honorable mention: Most bang for the buck!

Almost ALL plants that I add to our landscaping now have to be one of two things. Either they are evergreen, and therefore keep their fullness and color throughout the winter months. (Arborvitae, boxwoods, sedum are great examples). 

Or if they are a blooming plant, they must bloom from spring or early summer through the fall. I used to plant a lot of bulbs and/or plants that would flower for a few weeks, like lilies, tulips or azaleas. 

I still plan to add some of these eventually, but when I’m trying to get our landscape established I focus more on the two types I mentioned here. 

They simply offer for more the money!  

I hope this list helps you to save some cash this planting season! Gardening can be an expensive hobby, but these tricks will save you a TON.

Adding to your landscape will add to your curb appeal and watching your plants thrive and grow is so rewarding!

Courtesy of Thrifty Decor Chick

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