Spring and summer just wouldn’t be the same without an abundance of blossoms. But as pretty as they are to look at, flowers can also be pretty expensive —especially if you’re an avid gardener. Here, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you save on spring planting.
Purchase in Bulk
Instead of buying your annuals individually, buy them by the flat. A flat is typically a large tray with no dividers with several plants planted in it. A flat can contain 20 to 50 plants, though most contain 40. The plants in a flat are usually smaller than those you’d buy in a single pack; but, like seeds, they will grow to the same size with the right attention. The caveat here is you’ll usually only get one flower instead of a variety. Sometimes, they’re also all one color. To maintain the look of variety in your garden, it’s usually best to buy flats of flowers like violas or pansies. These can easily be used as a border for larger, more prominent flowers like lilies, roses, or daisies, for example. You can also plant them on the perimeter of planters or pots as a complement to other flowers.
Seeds are typically far less expensive than developed plants. Cultivating seedlings takes patience and a little extra TLC, but the result is equally beautiful. Just like fully-grown plants, seeds must be planted at a certain time of the year for optimal growth. The appropriate timing is usually early spring, but read the seed packet before planting to make sure. Also keep in mind not all perennial flowers bloom in their first year. If you find a seed packet for your favorite flower, read the label carefully to avoid being disappointed come summertime. Some of the best perennials to choose for first-year blooms include grenadin dianthus, Chinese foxglove, origami columbine, delphinium, Alpine aster, hibiscus, shasta daisy, and zebra hollyhock. For even more savings, collect and preserve seeds from flowers in your garden. Save them in an envelope to plant next spring.
Shop the Sales
If you want to snag a deal on a variety of flowers, rather than just one type, keep an eye out for sales. Often, stores or nurseries will run periodical sales on multi-packs of annuals or on specific plants. Like with a flat, you’ll typically get smaller flowers in a multi-pack, but they will grow to the same size with proper soil and fertilizer or compost.
If you spot a beautiful rose bush at the supermarket, it can be tempting to pick it up on impulse. However, many supermarkets (especially big chain stores) aren’t equipped to care for plants in the way a nursery is. The plants are not necessarily as healthy, though they are often equally or more expensive. Save your garden purchases for small local nurseries. Not only are nursery flowers often healthier, the professionals there can help you select the perfect plant optimal for your garden environment. You don’t want to end up planting a flower that can’t grow in your soil, or for which you can’t provide enough sunlight.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to propagate a bountiful garden while still having cash left over for that summer vacation. If you have some go-to garden savings tips, share them with us in the comments!