Are you looking for some free plants for your garden?
Well, that’s what today’s post is all about – sourcing plants for your garden that you don’t have to pay for, because we all want to save money, right?
Below, I’ll cover lots of places where you can get free plants and tips for getting plants for your garden as well.
What will I learn?
Can you really get plants for free?
There are organizations that mail out free seeds so you can grow plants that help out local wildlife populations, and plenty of places where you can get free trees, shrubs, vegetables and plenty of other plants at no cost to you!
So you can have a wonderful looking garden, even If you’re on a budget.
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What plants can you get for free?
There are so many different types of plants that you can get your hands on without you having to spend a penny of your hard-earned cash.
You can get plants like:
Where to Get Free Plants Near Me?
Below, I’ve covered some easy tips and tricks for getting more plants for your garden, and I’ve included places where you can find a wide variety of plants.
1. Ask friends and family
One way to get plants is to ask your friends and family if they have any plants to give away. They may have a surplus that they’d be willing to share with you.
Last summer, my aunt who loves to garden, randomly came over with some tomato plants. I didn’t even ask her for them. She just knew my husband loved to cook and might like some tomatoes to add to dishes. She just happened to have a couple of extra plants that she couldn’t fit in her garden. So she gave them to us for free.
If you have a friend or a relative who enjoys gardening, then they might have some plants to give you. They might have started too many seedlings, or they may have plants that need to be divided. Offer to pick up the plants if they do have any to give to you.
2. Divide existing plants
Another really easy way to get some plants is to simply divide up any existing plants that you do have. Some plants, like peonies and hostas grow very quickly and large, which means that you can turn one plant into two plants, three plants, or even more plants than that over the years.
It’s such an easy way to get some extra plants for free!
If you’re not sure how to divide plants, take a look at these resources:
3. Get free Butterfly Milkweed & Black-Eyed Susan plants from Alt National Park Service
You could get free Butterfly Milkweed and Black-Eyed Susan plants for your garden from Alt National Park Service.
The reason why is that these plants are incredibly important for butterfly and bee populations. And, since Alt National Park Service is trying to restore the populations of pollinators like bees and butterflies, the organization will mail out free Black-Eyed Susan and Butterfly Milkweed seed packs.
You do have to plant the seeds yourself, but once you do, you’ll have some beautiful flowers in your garden in no time, and you’ll be helping out the bees and butterflies too!
Just complete the form on the website to have the seed packs mailed out to you.
4. Join a local gardening club
Okay, so another really easy tip that I would recommend that could get you everything from shrubs to vegetables to flowers for your garden is to simply join a local gardening club.
Not only will you get to learn lots about gardening when you talk to other members who all love gardening, but you may also be able to get some free plants. Gardeners often divide their plants to keep them healthy, so they may have some extra plants to share with members of the gardening club. You can also share plants with members. So check to see if there are any gardening clubs in your area.
6. Host a plant or seed swap
If you have several friends or family members who enjoy gardening, then you might want to host a plant or seed swap.
You could host one right at your house and all gardeners love swap lunches. You can make a little food and then ask all of your gardening friends to bring some plants or seeds with them that they’re happy to swap with other gardeners.
Often, people will have too much of a particular plant or seed, so having a plant or seed swap party can be a great option.
You can find some awesome plants this way. You can often get seeds that you can plant, surplus plants, or cuttings. It’s a great option for anyone looking to revitalize their garden. It’s a win-win for everyone! You get the plants you need, and others get to get rid of any plants that they don’t want.
- Get free seed packs from Alt National Park Service here.
8. Search for free plants on Craigslist
Sometimes you can find people giving away bulbs, saplings, houseplants, seeds, and trees on Craigslist.
Craigslist is a website where you can get pretty much anything for free. Really! I’ve seen everything from free firewood to free furniture on there. So I really would recommend having a look on there to see if there’s anyone who’s giving way plants near you.
To find free stuff on CL, look for the “Free” section, which can be found under the “For Sale” section of your city’s CL.
Click on this link and you’ll be taken to the “Free” section where you can find people who are giving away free stuff in your area.
Now, you’ll find stuff in all sorts of categories here, so you’ll want to filter the results to find plants. Now, you can simply enter the word “plants,” or something more specific like “houseplants” or whatever it is that you’re looking for. You can enter the keyword into the search bar, and hit enter, and you’ll get results near you.
There won’t always be people giving away plants on there, but it’s certainly worth a look.
Always ensure that you take safety precautions when you meet up with someone from CL. Make sure that you meet in a public place and that you take somebody along with you if you can.
- Find free plants on Craigslist here.
11. Ask at construction sites
This tip is pretty easy, but it does require you to ask around in your local area, or at least keep an eye out, and it’s to visit construction sites.
When construction companies start work on a new building site, they often have to clear the area of things like shrubs and trees.
So keep a look out for construction sites that have plants which are worth saving. You can transplant these to your own yard. Just call the construction company and these plants could be yours. Aside from new building sites, things like road expansion projects and renovations can also offer just as many plants.
14. Get free seeds from Garden Supply Stores
Another great way to find some free plants is at garden supply stores. They sometimes give out freebies, like seeds or plants.
They do this in lots of different ways, meaning there are many ways for you to get freebies for your garden.
Here’s how you can get free stuff from garden supply stores:
- Sign up for newsletters/email lists: Many stores have a list you can join and once you’re subscribed, you get coupons, discounts on your first purchase, promo codes, freebies, and lots of other great deals.
- Join a store’s loyalty/rewards program if you shop at one store a lot: Some stores have a loyalty/rewards program that you can join to earn points on purchases that you can later redeem for free stuff. Many of these programs offer coupons, discounts, and other great deals to loyalty club members.
- Follow stores on social media: Many stores post things like coupons, discounts, giveaways, freebies, and other great deals to their social media accounts. So make sure you follow stores to stay up to date with freebies and other deals.
- Take part in contests and giveaways: Entering giveaways and contests is a great idea as you could win free plants.
Often, you can find some sort of deal on offer from a garden supply store. Those buy one get one free deals are sometimes on offer, and those work out well if you’re on a budget but want more plants to add to your garden.
Here are some garden supply stores to get you started:
- Burpee Seeds and Plants
- Renee’s Garden
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- American Meadows
Also, you likely have local garden stores too that offer some great deals.
16. Save your own seeds
Next, I have a really simple tip for you that works great, especially if you want some vegetables or fruits to add to your back garden.
And it’s a really simple tip that anyone can use!
Basically, it’s to save your own seeds. Now, this isn’t as easy as just placing seeds in a bag and storing them for later. No, if you want to save seeds properly, then you’ll need to make sure that you know the right way to save and store them.
Fortunately, there are lots of resources out there can guide you through the process of saving your own seeds.
Here are some great articles to get you started:
- How to Save Seeds – Seed Savers Exchange
- Seed Sovereignty’s Guide to Seed Saving (PDF)
- Save Vegetable Seeds in Your Backyard – Mother Earth News
- How to Save Seeds from Your Garden to Plant Next Year – Better Homes & Gardens
- 6 Tips for Storing Your Saved Seeds – Good Housekeeping
19. Ask for plants as a gift
One of the easiest ways to fill your garden with some beautiful flowers or some vegetables, or to get some free houseplants, is to simply ask for plants as a gift on your birthday or for the holidays.
I know that when it’s my birthday or it’s getting near Christmas, many people in my family ask me what I want for my gift. So, if you’re the same and your family or friends want gift ideas, then tell them that you’d like some plants or a gift cards to stores where you can purchase some new plants.
My husband and I received a grow your own chili kit at Christmas from his aunt for our garden.
20. Take advantage of volunteer plants
Volunteer plants are those that grow in the garden with no effort on your part. Instead, they germinate from seeds that have been dropped by flowers in previous years or seeds that arrive stuck to the fur and skin of small animals.
Once volunteer plants appear, you can water, fertilize, and even transfer them. You can find lots of them popping up everywhere. I had some potted flowers in our back yard and I randomly found the same flower growing in another spot. The seeds must have been carried away and grew in another area.
While volunteer plants may not end up where you want them to, they’re easy enough to move. Just make sure that you read about how to transport them before you start digging them up.
- Check out this guide on how to transplant volunteer plants.
25. Look for free tree programs near you
Many cities and states throughout the country have a program where they give free trees to people.
Here are a few examples:
You can find a free tree program near you by going to Google or whatever search engine that you normally use, and then entering the phrase “free tree program” followed by the name of your town, city, county, or state. So you could enter, “free trees Maine” for example.
This should bring up local programs that give saplings to residents. That’s pretty great, right?
26. Grow plants from cuttings
Did you know that you can actually grow plants from cuttings? Well, you can. And, it’s easier than you may think. Just get a bottle of rooting hormone. Dip the cuttings into the rooting powder. This will encourage the plant to take root.
27. Ask at gardening stores
Okay, so another thing that you can try is asking at stores whether they have any old plants that they’re getting rid of.
Most stores just don’t have the time to nurse plants back to health as they often have so many of them. This means that they often throw out dried up/dying plants, rather than trying to nurse them back to good health.
The store may allow to have the plants that they were going to throw out for free! All you need to do is ask!
Then, you can nurse these plants back to health! And they’ll look great in no time.
28. Look on Facebook Marketplace
Another place that you can search for free plants is on Facebook Marketplace. You may know Facebook Marketplace as a site where people can buy and sell stuff locally. But, the site is also a treasure trove of free stuff.
I’ve talked about FB marketplace here on Money Pantry quite a few times because you can find lots of freebies on there!
If you’re looking for some plants to add to your home or garden, then it’s definitely worth having a browse on the site.
Like OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace has a section just for free stuff. Have a search of this section to find some plants. You can use the search bar on the site to find what you’re looking for.
You may not be always be able to find plants on there, but it’s definitely worth a quick look.
- Search for free plants on Facebook Marketplace here.
Free Plants Online (by Mail)
There are a lot of companies that send you free stuff by mail if you request them. While there are many ways to get free plants near you, there are also some places that send you free plants and seeds by mail. Here are some of the them.
7. Get a free gardening kits from Back to the Roots
Since many schools have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, lots of people are now homeschooled. If you’re working at a daycare or are supporting multiple neighborhood kids at home because of the closures, you may be able to get some plants!
You can request free bundles of the organization’s organic gardening kits that you can grow with your at-home students. If you’re a teacher or a parent, you can complete the online form to get some seeds that will grow into plants for the garden!
- You can get your gardening kit from Back to the Roots here.
9. Look out for free seeds inside gardening catalogs
Did you know that seed and gardening catalogs will often have seed samples in them. Not always, but often these magazines give out seeds that you can plant in your garden.
Here are some examples of gardening catalogs that you can order:
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog
- Burpee Seeds and Plants Catalog
- Brent & Becky’s Catalogue
- Botanical Interests Catalog
- Seed Savers Catalog
- Annie’s Heirloom Seeds Catalog
- Burrell Seeds Catalog
- Burgess Seed & Plants Co. Catalogs
Now, what’s great bout these catalogs, aside from the fact that you may be able to get free seeds from them, is that some of them are free to order!
5. Get free seeds and trees from the National Wildlife Federation
You can get some free Milkweed plants for your garden from the National Wildlife Federation.
This is another organization that aims to help butterflies to thrive. So, it is offering some free Milkweed seeds. That’s not all though. You can also receive tips for gardening on your windowsill, patio, porch, or backyard.
To get the seeds, you’ll need to pledge to be one of the National Wildlife Federation’s Butterfly Heroes. Lots of people and organizations, like families, schools, scouts, nature centers, places of worship, and other community groups have pledged to help butterfly populations.
In fact, more than 200,000 pledges have been received in the past five years to restore butterfly populations by planting the Milkweed plants that monarchs need to survive and thrive.
- You can get your free seeds from the National Wildlife Federation here.
That’s not all though. You can also get free trees from The National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation provides free native tree seedlings to partners who plant them through local restoration projects or community tree giveaway events. Seedlings are distributed to people at these events so that they can plant the trees and care for them at home.
- You can get free frees from the National Wildlife Federation here.
10. Look out for catalog promotions
If you can find a plant or a seed catalog that you haven’t ordered from before, then there’s a chance that you could get your first order for free! There’s usually a limit on the amount of free stuff you can get, like up to $25 worth of free stuff. But, it’s sure worth having a look. Start by checking with those magazines that I linked to above to see if they have any promos on offer for first time customers.
12. Use seed exchanges to get free seeds
A really easy way that you can get all sorts of plants for your garden is to simply join seed swap groups.
With these seed swap groups, you can give away the seeds that you don’t want and get the seeds that you do want.
Plant these seeds in your garden, and you’ll have lots of plants in the future!
The seeds are free, but you usually have to pay for the cost of postage, but hey, that’s not much since you’re getting lots of free plants for your garden!
Here are a few seed exchanges to get you started:
Other than those, you can also search online for even more seed swapping groups. There are lots of them and a quick Google search is all you need to get started.
And, searching Google is a great way to find local seed exchanges as well.
Just open up Google and search for the term “seed exchange” followed by the name of your town, city, county, or state.
This should give you plenty of seed exchanges and even some seed exchanges near you.
13. Get free seeds from seed libraries
Are you somewhat of a beginner to this whole gardening thing?
Well then, you might want to give seed libraries a try. With them, you can fill your garden with wonderful plants in no time.
Basically, the way that seed libraries work is that you “borrow” seeds and then return an equal or greater number of seeds once the plant has grown. So, it sort of works in the same way as a regular library except here you are borrowing seeds and not books!
Now, a seed library sort of sounds like those seed exchanges that I mentioned above, I know. But, there is a key difference.
With a seed library, you don’t have to provide the seeds upfront.
So, with the seed exchanges that I mentioned above, you have to trade seeds to get seeds. With seed libraries, on the other hand, you can get the seeds without having to provide any of your own at first. Later, once the plant has grown, you then offer seeds.
This makes seed libraries a great option for beginners who may not have seeds to offer out at first.
Now, how exactly do you find these seed libraries?
A good place to get started is at Seed Libraries.
This is a handy website that provides free resources on how to start a library, how to connect with others who have started libraries, and how to maintain a library once you’ve started one.
Having a search on Google is a great way for you to find free seed libraries locally.
Simply visit Google, then enter the term “seed library” followed by the name of your town, city, county, or state and hit enter. Then, you should be able to find a seed library near you.
You can plant the seeds that you get from seed libraries and have lots of plants for your garden in no time!
15. Get free wildflowers from Feed A Bee
Another great organization that’ll send you free plants is Feed A Bee. Now, much like the Alt National Park Service and the National Wildlife Federation, Find A Bee wants to support local pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Now, since a lack of forage or plants and flowers used for food is one of the biggest issues that pollinators face, planting more seeds can increase forage across the country.
So Feed a Bee is willing to mail out seeds to you that you can plant in your garden. So not only do you get some free plants for your garden beds, but you also support pollinators in your area. That makes it a win-win situation!
You’ll get seeds which are a mix of wildflowers, such as partridge pea, black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower, which will grow well in most regions. Now, there is a limit of one order per household while supplies last. To get the seeds, just complete the form on the website.
- Get your free seeds from Find a Bee here.
17. Get free plants from Freecycle
Okay, so next on the list we have Freecycle. Now, Freecycle is a website where you can find a wide range of free items. Basically, people use Freecycle to give stuff away and get stuff for free nearby. So, it’s a great concept.
Now, you may be able to find somebody on there who’s giving away plants. Have a browse on there and you may even be able to request free plants on there too.
- Get free plants form Freecycle here.
21. Get butterfly garden seeds from Live Monarch
Get free butterfly garden seeds from Live Monarch.
Live Monarch mails out free butterfly garden seeds right to your doorstep. Like some of the other organizations that I listed above, Live Monarch aims to help butterfly monarchs.
You can get Milkweed or mixed seeds that are appropriate for your location by sending a self-addressed envelope to Live Monarch. You can get the address and more details about getting seeds on the Live Monarch website, which I linked to in the section heading above.
- You can get your free butterfly garden seeds from Live Monarch here.
22. Check out seed groups and forums
Okay, next I have another pretty easy tip for you that you can use to get some plants for free.
And, it’s to simply check on seed groups and forums. There are many groups out there that are dedicated to seeds. So you can get some free seeds and then plant them in your garden. One place you can check for seed groups is the Great American Seed Swap/Trade Project.
Facebook is another place to look as you may be able to find groups where people occasionally give away seeds.
I would also take a look on Reddit because the site features freebie groups where people can give stuff away. Groups to check out include /r/freebies and /r/FREE. Have a search on Reddit for free seeds or plants.
And, you can also look for gardening and plant forums online to find people, like expert gardeners, who have extra seeds that they would be willing to send over to beginners. Usually, you’ll just need to have a self-addressed envelope.
23. Get free seeds from Xcel Energy
One of the reasons why places give out free plants is to help pollinators, as many of the other organizations that I mentioned above do. So, another place that offers a pollinator seed pack is Xcel Energy. And all you need to do to get the seed pack is complete the online form.
- You can get your free seeds from Xcel Energy here.
24. Browse OfferUp for free plants
You might know OfferUp as a website and app where you can buy and sell stuff. Well, the site also has a section just for free stuff. There, you can find people who’re giving away all sorts of things from cell phones to compost.
Now, if you would like to get some free plants, then it could be worth having a look on the site. Whether it’s seeds, houseplants, or even trees, you may be able to find people giving way plants on OfferUp.
Now, there is a free section on OfferUp, which I’ve linked to below, and you can have a browse on there. But, everything is sort of lumped in together, which isn’t ideal if you are looking for something specific.
A good way to find what you want on the platform is to go to the site, and then enter the term “plant.” You can be more specific than that if you want to and enter terms like “houseplant,” “seeds,” or “trees.”
Then hit enter and then you’ll get a list of results. Now, this will include plants that you have to pay for. So, to get the free ones, make sure that you filter the results by “Price: Low to High.”
If someone is giving away some plants, then you should be able to see that in the results. And, even if you don’t see any totally free plants, you should still be able to view the cheapest ones on the site and get yourself some great bargains.
- Find free plants on OfferUp here.
Get Free Plants from the Government
There are a lot of government freebies out there including free plants. You just need to know where to look.
18. Get free trees from the government
You can get lots of different plants for your yard, for free, including trees!
And, one of the best ways to get free trees is actually from the government.
Yes, many states have government programs that give away trees for free.
Here are some places where you can get free trees from the government:
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources
- Trees for Neighborhoods Seattle
- Portland Parks and Recreation: Urban Forestry
- Austin Community Tree Program
Now, you can also enter the term “free trees” followed by the name of your city, county or state to see if there’s a government program near you that gives away free trees.
It’s such a simple way for you to get free plants for the garden.
Tips for Getting Cheap Plants
Okay, so above, I’ve gave you so many ways that you can get plants for free. In this section, I’m going to cover some tips that you can use to get plants at a low cost!
I’ll cover ways that you can get huge discounts, great deals on houseplants, and even give you some places where you can find plants at a super low cost.
Look at clearance racks
The clearance section at your local gardening store can be a great place to find plants at really low prices.
Many stores will offer plants that are dying for like $1. So, you could buy one of these wilting plants and then nurse it back to life.
So, check the clearance racks to find some great deals.
Although you may have to pay a few dollars, you’ll pay a fraction of the amount that you would spend on a healthy plant.
Purchase plants or seeds at local markets
Another tip I have is a simple one and it’s to simply buy plants from local markets.
You can often buy seedlings at the market directly from growers and this means that you can often get plants at a fraction of the retail cost. Often, you can find things like flowers, herbs, native plants, and veggie seedlings at a low price.
Purchasing from local markets also gives you the opportunity to meet local gardeners and growers who could give you some useful growing tips for your region.
Check out yard sales and estate sales
You can find some great deals on plants at yard sales and estate sales. It’s a good idea to get there near the end of the day when sellers are eager to get rid of stuff!
That way, you can often get plants for a cheaper price than you would have earlier in the day. You won’t always find plants on offer, but sometimes you will.
If you stop by near the end of the sale, you can often get the best bargains.
Offer a low, but reasonable amount of money to take plants off their hands. While some plants at these sales may not be in the best condition, with some TLC, you can bring plants back to their former beauty.
Okay, so one of the best ways to get cheap plants whether you’re looking for houseplants or plants for your garden is to simply shop online.
Online stores tend to offer plants at lower prices than you’d find at brick-and-mortar stores. This is because online retailers don’t have as many overheads as brick-and-mortar stores do, because they don’t have physical stores to operate. This means that online retailers can often provide plants at lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores.
I’d have a look online and compare the cost between your local store and the online retailer. I’m not saying that you’ll always find the best prices online, but there’s a good chance that you will.
Use coupons, promo codes, and other deals
A really easy way to get plants at a really low cost is to simply use things like coupons and promo codes.
Coupon websites like RetailMeNot offer coupons for stores that sell plants. So do check coupon websites to see if you can get a great deal for the store that you plant to shop at. Usually, you can get a coupon or promo code that gets you a discount or an offer like BOGO.
Also, you can use a browser extension like Honey, which will automatically find and apply coupon codes when you shop online. I’ve used Honey a lot recently, and it’s saved me so much money. So I would highly recommend it. It’s totally free to use as well. And it saves you so much time having to search multiple sites for coupons, because Honey finds great coupons for you!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get free plants. So you should have no shortage of stuff to add to your home or garden. You can try out those organizations that mail out seeds to help local pollinators, or you could search on sites like CL and OfferUp to find people giving away seeds.
And, there are plenty of ways to get free plants from the government too, and from local programs as well.
Also, consider the more DIY approach of saving your seeds, dividing up existing plants, or transplanting volunteer plants. There are tons of options here to suit everyone from your beginner gardener to your expert gardener.
Do you have any tips on how to get free plants? Well, feel free to share your tips with us in the comments section below.