You know all the usual ways to get free plants. Swapping seeds and things like that are fairly common. Instead, how about doing some more devious gardening? Not theft, although in some cases, it comes close. Want to know how some gardeners get their vast collections of plants? Promise not to judge? Here’s some secret ways gardeners get free plants.
Ask for them.
Gardeners are mostly non-materialistic. When birthdays come around, they don’t have a lot of requests. Unless, of course, they have been doing this a while. Plants, bulbs and seeds don’t come cheaply when you’re planning a large garden. That’s why gardeners should always request them as holiday gifts, no matter the holiday. Be specific. Tell them what you really want. You want stuff to fill your garden with. It’s a no brainer.
They’ll never go to jail for it. It’s not that kind of stealing. Watch closely, though, when gardeners visit the park or any other place where flowers grow. It might even be in your garden. If there are plants gone to seed anywhere near, gardeners will find them. They’ll steal your seeds right in front of you and without reservation. After all, you weren’t going to use them, were you? They were destined to blow away in the wind. Don’t worry, they’ll put them to good use.
How to steal seeds:
*Some seeds are prominently displayed in a dried pod at the top of the plant.
(Picture milkweed pods and you’ll get the idea.) A light tug will displace the pod. Drop it in your pocket or a handy collection container to bring home. Sometimes the pod is the seed. Sometimes the pod contains hundreds of seeds. Sometimes, there’s just a few. It all depends on the plant.
*Most flower blossoms have seeds in the center.
(Think sunflowers, marigolds and poppies) Just pop off a blossom or two to dry at home.
*Most herbs shoot an extra stem up with a blossom on the end.
That blossom contains seeds for re-planting.
*As for veggies, you’ll have to cut them open to steal the seeds.
They may not grow if the vegetable you harvest them from is a hybrid. Heirloom vegetables produce optimum seed for re-planting.
Landscapers throw things away.
A lot of gardeners know landscapers personally. They whisper in their ears quite frequently. They get to know them. They talk to them about common interests. They let them know they’ll take any and all unwanted leftovers off their hands. They’ll dig them up, pick them up, load them up and haul them away. All it takes is one phone call to make their job a piece of cake. Gardeners have the scoop and the cherry on top when it comes to finding discarded plants.
They’ll dumpster dive for plants.
Plants are often found in the dumpster at major box store retailers. After Mother’s Day or other holidays, even convenience store dumpsters can hold discarded flowering plants. Watch for carts of plant discards at home improvement stores. Sometimes all those wilted plants need is a drink and some TLC. Most of the time, if you ask nicely, the employees will give discard plants to you at no charge. It feels like stealing, but it’s not. Winning!
Some sneaky gardeners steal fruit or floral cuttings to graft onto their own trees and shrubs.
Gardeners are more than likely to have a pair of garden shears in their back pocket. Snipping a branch from a rose bush, fruit tree or some other graft-able plant takes just a quick snip. It doesn’t cause any harm. The owner won’t even know you’ve done it. After that, you can take it home and create a new variety. Yes, gardeners are sneaky about getting free plants. Who knows what we’ll think of next?
Portions of this article were originally published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.