Places to Find Free Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers for Your Garden

Where to Score Free Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers

A suburban residential garden in Halifax
Laszlo Podor / Getty Images

Gardening is a fulfilling hobby. It gets you outside in the sunshine, and you immerse yourself in ​​planting and maintaining your flowerbed. The result: a huge reward of beautiful flowers or tasty vegetables all summer long. But buying plants and landscaping for your yard and garden can really be a major hit on your wallet. However, there is a way you can fill your garden or containers with flowering plants without spending much—or anything at all. Here's how it's done.

  • 01 of 10

    Visit Construction Sites

    Making New Road
    cunfek / Getty Images

    Keep an eye out for construction sites with plants that are worth saving that you can transplant: mature shrubs, native species, and perennials are likely suspects. One call to the construction company and they could be yours. New building sites aren't the only spot to scout for free foliage. Road expansion projects and renovations can be just as good.

  • 02 of 10

    Curb Shop

    Neighbors tending to sunny community vegetable garden
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    Once the weather warms up, gardeners get busy dividing and thinning plants. What happens to all those extras? Sometimes they end up at the curb. Hop in your car for a quick lap around the nabe, and you could score enough free bulbs and divisions to keep you digging for days.

  • 03 of 10

    Grow Plants From Cuttings

    Woman taking cuttings of a peace lily
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Grab a bottle of rooting hormone and try your hand at growing your own plants from cuttings. It's easier than you may think.

  • 04 of 10

    Host a Plant or Seed Swap

    Florist showing customer cactus flower pot flower shop
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    If you and your neighbors have too much of a particular plant or seed, throw a swap party and trade your way to the plants that you need. Everybody wins.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Divide Existing Plants

    Close-Up Of Yellow Lily Blooming Outdoors
    Jennifer Richardson / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Plants like hostas, daylilies, and peonies, among many others, grow to several times their original size after a few years in the ground. Turn one plant into two or three or more through the simple magic of division. It's good for the plants and great for your pocketbook.

  • 06 of 10

    Save Seeds

    Man Planting Nasturtium Seeds in Garden
    Yvonne Duivenvoorden / Getty Images

    Collect seeds from your favorite self-pollinating plants, and you'll be able to grow them again next year without having to buy another packet of seeds. 

  • 07 of 10

    Take Advantage of Volunteers

    Grandfather and grandchildren planting a tree together
    KidStock / Getty Images

    If your yard needs the grace and shade that trees provide, search your lawn for volunteers. They may not end up where you want them, but they're easy enough to move. Just read about how to properly transplant them before you start swinging that shovel.

  • 08 of 10

    Check the Classifieds

    Woman using laptop while lying on chaise longue at home
    Maskot / Getty Images

    Craigslist, Freecycle, and even your newspaper can be a great source for free plants. Look for offers to start appearing in March (or whenever it warms up in your area).

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Watch for Catalog Promotions

    Vegetable seed packets and potted plants on greenhouse bench, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011
    Ben Pipe Photography / Getty Images

    Find a plant and seed catalog that you haven't ordered from before, and you've got a good shot at getting your first order free (usually up to $25 worth of product). 

  • 10 of 10

    Get on Store Mailing Lists

    Female friends looking flowers at stall
    Cavan Images / Getty Images

    Lowes and Home Depot both have a garden club, and both chains send out buy-one-get-one-free coupons regularly. Get on the list and wait for those coupons to hit your inbox. Then head to the garden center or shop online for some great buys on plants.