Flowers on a Budget
Tips for growing more flowers with less money
Growing flowers doesn't have to be expensive. Shopping smart, educating yourself on the plants that grow well in your area, and befriending other local gardeners can go a long way in allowing you to grow more flowers with less money.
Here are some of my best tips for growing flowers on a budget.
- Grow Perennial Flowers - Perennials come back year after year and can be divided every three years or so to get more plants. Choose perennials that bloom at different times so that you have color all year long and make sure you cut off spent blooms to encourage rebloom in many perennials. Some perennials grow faster than others, so if filling a large area quickly is important, choose varieties that grow fast, just be careful of invasive plants in your area as they can take over a garden quickly. Some fast growing perennials that I like are Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida), Blanket Flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora), Daylilies (Hemerocallis), Russian Sage (Perovskia), Coneflower (Echinacea), Bee Balm ( Monarda), Tall Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata), and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
- Mix in Foliage Plants - Foliage plants can make flowering plants stand out more and colorful foliage plants can give the illusion that you have more flowering plants in your garden. They look good all season and if perennial, will come back year after year. Some foliage plants I really like are Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina), Hosta, Coleus, Pachysandra, and Artemisia.
- Grow Flowers from Seed - A packet of seeds can start as little as $1.00 depending on the variety of plant. Growing plants from seed can be a little tricky, but with practice and with the right lighting set-up in your home or hobby greenhouse, this tip can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over the years. Sure, you have to wait a little longer for the plants to be fully mature, but it can be worth it in so many ways. If you are a little intimidated by starting plants from seed, why not try the Winter Sowing method. You can read all about it here.
- Join Local Gardening Clubs - These clubs can but you in touch with all sorts of gardening information, not to mention the potential for making friends with other gardeners who may be willing to trade plants with you. These clubs often host plant sales to raise money for their club or local charities where you can find a lot of plants at discounted prices since they are usually donated by it's members.
- Make Friends with Gardening Neighbors - Gardeners in general tend to be very generous in my experience and will often share, trade and barter plants with other gardeners in their neighborhood. If you don't have a lot of plants to trade just yet, offer your time to someone else in exchange for a division of a plant or two. Who couldn't use an extra hand weeding the garden, mulching or even dividing their perennials in the spring and fall. You can share stories, information and make memories in the process.
- Have a Plant Sale of Your Own - If you have an established garden, but no money to add new plants, why not divide some of your plants in the spring, pot them up and have a plant sale of your own. You can sell them in conjunction with a garage sale or simply by themselves. I know several people who keep potted plants in a small section of their front yard all summer long and sell them. Advertise for free on Craig s List and Community Bulletin Boards and inexpensively in local newspapers.
- Grow Inexpensive Annuals - I know I said earlier that growing perennials is less expensive in the long run, but even the best gardeners add annuals to the mix. For one thing, they are generally very easy to grow and will have reliable color all summer long from just one plant. Many can be grown very easily from seed or purchased in small six packs at gardening centers and nurseries. If you choose the old stand-by annuals and not the lasted hybrid, you can save a bundle as well. Some of my favorites are Sunflowers, Marigold, Cosmos, Coleus, Impatiens and Zinnia.