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Where to Find Cheap and Free Plants!

Looking for free and cheap plants near you? Aren’t we all! Spring and fall are some of the best times to find free and cheap houseplants and things for the garden. I’m walking you through some of my favorite sources.

Here are my favorite sources for cheap and free plants!

Man, I meant to write this post earlier in the growing season, but here we are knocking on June’s door. And I’m just now sitting down to write it! It’s okay though, because it’s not completely too late. And these will still be my favorite places next year, too.

I often hear people talk about how expensive of a hobby gardening and keeping houseplants can be. And it’s true—it can be a real rabbit hole that can lead to spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars without careful planning and prep.

So today I am charing my favorite sources for cheap and even free plants! Some sources are better for houseplants, while others work well for annuals, perennials, and veggies. Let’s take a look.

sedum and catmint planted in a garden
Three catmint plants and four sedum plants…all for $1 each!

1. Plant Buy/Sell/Trade Groups on Facebook

I have been active in my local Facebook plant groups for a long time, so I tend to forget that some people don’t even know they exist! There are a few in my area I like to pop in and out of if I have things to share or I am looking for something specific.

Of course these groups can be hosted on other platforms, but since so many people are on Facebook, it’s a great place to check. I recommend something like “City, State buy, sell, trade plants” on Facebook—or just search plants buy, sell, trade.” Usually they will filter based on your location.

Below is just a small sampling of some of the groups in Maryland. I really like my local plant BST (shorthand for “buy, sell, trade”) group and generally don’t venture much into the state groups anymore. I don’t want to have to drive far, so hyperlocal groups are always my first choice!

Some groups are tailored more to houseplants, while others are good for buying, selling, and trading seeds, early spring seed starts, and perennials. Make sure to read your group’s rules before participating, and ALWAYS use caution if meeting strangers from the Internet 🙂

screenshot of facbeook events

2. Locally Organized Swaps

And on the note of local plant groups, make sure to check out local plant swaps! I have seen a few pop up where I live, but there’s a monthly plant swap at a brewery that is great. Lots of people show up with a box of stuff to trade or give away.

Then you sit at a table and mill around making trades. I mostly just gave away a bunch of stuff at the swap I went to last month. I came home with mint (which I never like to buy since it grows like such a week), a gorgeous baby hoya plant, and some other herbs. The goal was to give things away, not leave with things…but that never works out, does it?

beautiful silver hoya
My hoya I got at the swap…
parsley in a container
& some parsley in my Greenstalk!

3. High School or College Sales

Another hot tip is to check your local high schools and colleges, especially community colleges with career technology centers, for plant sales. Even if you aren’t in a particularly rural area, schools often do plant sales to raise funds for programs.

And their prices are often super cheap! I got some direct cheap veggies from a local high school last hear, and this year I got the herbs I couldn’t get for free at the plant swap from a local community college plant sale. These will usually run on weekends for the month of May. Make sure to bring cash!

These sales are usually best for garden plants, not houseplants. And they are usually advertised on an organization’s Facebook page, in the newspaper, or a sign outside of the school.

tomato start in a pot
lemon balm in a pot

4. Local Fundraisers & Promos

I saw more local groups doing fundraisers and plant sale promos than I’ve ever seen this year! I love supporting local animal rescues, and I saw a few doing plant sale fundraisers this year. You can usually find these by going to the “events” section on Facebook.

Type “plant” in the search bar, and then filter for your location (city/state). This will usually pull up anything plant related coming up in your area, and most places will create Facebook events for things like fundraiser plant sales.

When you shop a fundraiser plant sale, you might pay average to slightly lower than retail prices for your plants. But you know that your money is going to a good cause!

screenshot of facebook events

5. For Perennials…Clearance Racks!

If you’re looking for perennials specifically, always, always, always check the discount table at your local nursery. The plants might look terrible. And they might even look terrible all year. But guess what? They will come back looking amazing next spring!

I routinely scoop up steeply discounted ugly plants in the fall to plant. They overwinter and bounce back looking good as new in the spring. Last season, I picked up a bunch of $1 catmint, sedum, and sage plants. They looked awful when I planted them, but they look amazing now. It’s definitely worth the wait!

sage planted in the ground

Got any more recommendations for places to find free and cheap plants? Drop them in the comments…I’m always looking for new sources! 🙂

collage that says where to find cheap & free plants with pictures of plants

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