If you’ve been wanting to change your landscape but don’t want to spend a lot of money here are 5 ideas for how to get trees, shrubs, plants & flowers on a budget or for FREE! Perfect for anyone who is gardening on a budget!
Who doesn’t love a free tree, shrub, plant or flower right?
Table of Contents
5 Tips for Gardening on a Budget – Free or Discounted Trees & Plants
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Idea ONE for Gardening on a Budget – Free Tree Give Aways
Twice a year in spring & fall our township gives away free trees to its residents.
All you have to show up & prove you live here.
You have to get in line early… Yes there is a line! 🙂
Our township gives away native trees that grow well in our area (zone 6) from small (dogwoods & redbuds) to medium (sassafras & hornbeams) to large (oaks & sycamores).
For those of you that aren’t familiar with what trees are native to your area, a quick Google search should help you.
Native trees are great for many reasons. They will grow well & thrive in your yard because this is the environment they were meant to grow in, they don’t require a lot of maintenance, & they aren’t invasive!
These free trees tend to be on the smaller side. However, smaller plants & trees establish healthier root systems quicker than larger ones.
You just have to be patient and wait for them to grow.
I have also found that other townships in our area have similar programs especially around Arbor Day so ask around where you live to find a similar program.
Here are a few trees we’ve gotten for free from the township over the past couple years…
A Tulip Tree (liriodendron tulipifera)
It has yellow tulip like flowers in spring & golden fall color.
It grows fast to 70-90 feet.
American Sycamore (platanus acerifolia)
It has beautiful a street tree with gorgeous white/ tan exfoliating bark that grows to 150 feet.
It has already grown taller than our children’s playset & it starting to give shade to that as well.
Can you believe how large this tree has grown after only 6 years?!!!
Idea TWO for Gardening on a Budget – Wait for Sales & Buy off Season
A great way to get trees, shrubs & plants to fill in your yard is to wait for them to go on sale.
Our Lowes always has a year round clearance section for outdoor & indoor plants.
More often than not, these plants are there because someone forgot to water them.
Once the plant gets home & watered they are perfectly fine.
After holidays all those Mother’s Day, Easter & Christmas plants go on a big sale.
This past year I bought 6 pots of Easter tulips for fifty cents each. Now that’s gardening on a budget.
These bulbs had nothing wrong with them other than the fact that it was the day after Easter. They will come back every year bigger & better!
Another year on Mother’s Day I got eight hydrangeas for fifty cents each!
It has been our tradition to swing by Lowes on these holidays to see what they have discounted.
All of these clearance plants have a year warranty so if they can’t be saved you just bring them back with their receipt & you get your money back.
I added 2 of the hydrangeas to our new DIY Cedar Flower Planters boxes.
Just last weekend all trees at Lowe’s were 75% off.
I was able to get the five trees (a white dogwood, okame cherry (seen in the front our house picture below, a magnolia jane, & 2 santa rosa plums & one quick fire hydrangea (pictured above)) for less than $40.
We went back & bought more dogwoods to go along the back of our farmhouse walkway.
Idea THREE for Gardening on a Budget – Mail Order Plants, Flowers & Trees
I bought this beech tree online from Forest Farm.
As long as you are willing to be patient for the type of tree or shrub you want you can start gardening on a budget & find the right price point for you.
A good website that rates online plant sales is www.davesgarden.com.
Last fall I ordered twenty annabelle hydrangeas for $40 from Michigan Bulb. Now that is an awesome start for gardening on a budget!
They were only about 4 inches tall but they have already doubled in size & by next year they will be near full size.
I planted the hydrangeas along our driveway & in the front our farmhouse.
I only order plants from places that offer money back warranties if your plant dies within a certain amount of time.
Over the last ten years I can only think of two times my mail order plants didn’t work out & both times I got my money back.
Idea FOUR for Gardening on a Budget – Divide Plants you Already Have
Dividing Plants you already have is a fantastic tip to expand or start gardening on a budget or no budget!
Hostas are the perfect plant to divide along with so many more perenials. See all my tips for dividing plants HERE
Idea FIVE for Gardening on a Budget Idea FIVE – Host a Plant Swap
Hands down my FAVORITE way to start gardening on a budget is to host a Plant Swap.
If you have plants that are overgrown, or you no longer want anymore. Dig them up & pass them along to your garden loving friends.
Here is a wheel barrel full of Hostas I divided this year to give away!
I host a plant swap every spring either in the morning for coffee & doughnuts or at night with wine & cheese & invite your friends to bring along any plants they are willing to part with.
This is a great way to add new plants to your gardening beds without spending any money!!
I am always surprised to see what plants, flowers & shrubs my gardening friends are willing to part with from peonies to daylilies, vegetable plants to hydrangeas, even trees.
Hope this inspires all of you to get gardening on a budget…just don’t forget to water your new plants!
by Tara Lehman
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