Spring is a great time to get your garden really growing, but what can you do if you want to inject more colour and form into your garden, but don’t have much money to spend. Don’t worry, there are lots of ways to get new plants without spending lots of money.
Grow from seed
Growing from seed will save you pounds. Yes you will have to fork out for the first pack, but with a bit of TLC you can grow lots of plants at a fraction of the cost.
More advice on growing from seed.
Top tip: Old toilet rolls and newspaper make really cheap pots that are perfect for growing your seeds.
Divide your plants
Turn one herbaceous perennial into two, or three, or more by simply dividing the plant. It’s good for the plants and even better for your wallet. You can divide plants at any time as long as you are able to keep them well-watered afterwards.
However, it’s usually best to do this when the plants are not actively growing:
- Summer-flowering plants can be divided in either spring or autumn.
- Spring-flowering plants, such as irises etc, are best divided in summer, after flowering and once they have stopped producing new roots
Share plants with friends and family
Why not host a plant swap party – a little altruism goes a long way.
Invite your friends for a drink and ask them to bring over any plants that they are willing to swap. You’ll be amazed how many people jump at the chance to get some new plants and the nicest part about it is that your garden will then have a history and your can remember your friends as the plants bloom.
Top tip: Plastic bottles can be turned into pretty cloches to protect your plants.
Cuttings are a great way to get some free plants. The key to taking cuttings is to choose young, healthy, pest-free and non-flowering shoots and snip from the parent plant.
- Don’t be tempted to take larger cuttings thinking you will get a larger plant faster – you won’t. They’ll just struggle to take.
- Ideally cuttings should be 5 to 10cm long.
- Remove most of the leaves leaving only one or two pairs of leaves at the tip.
At this stage you can either plant in a pot or place in a jar of water
- If planting into a pot dip the cutting in hormone rooting powder before you plant in a small pot with compost.
- Keep cuttings well watered.
Self watering pots made from old plastic bottles are perfect for growing cuttings
Top Tip: You can also use these methods with a bought plant, such as a small pot of Busy Lizzie (Impatiens) or Fuschia. Take several small cuttings, pop into a jar of water, wait for them to grow some roots and then transplant the cuttings into small pots of compost. From one plant you could get a host of new plants for your garden.
Keep an eye on your plants and save the seeds. By doing this you can have even more free plants next year.
Keep seeds in a cool dark place until you need them… and do remember to label them clearly. It’s all oto easy to think you’ll remember what they are, but we usually forget by the next year!
Make friends with your local nursery or garden centre
Make a friend of your local nursery or garden centre and offer to rehabilitate plants. Even garden centres and nurseries make mistakes or have problem plants that fail to thrive. Most often they are simply thrown on the compost heap because they don’t have the time to invest in reviving the plants. More often than not they can be revived with a little TLC and it is possible to ‘adopt’ these plants if you are prepared to invest some time.