Free Plants: Dumpster Diving Season

toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)July 1, 2013

Great time of year for dumpster diving discarded plants at the hardware stores. I came home with 9 hanging baskets (everything from impatiens to dianthus) and about 3 dozen 3-4" pots including 13 Gerbera Daisies. Those retail for about $2.99 I think. Luckily the weather is unseasonably cool this week and I'll be able to get away with planting some of them even though it's late. Some will do well in porch pots or hanging as-is from the porch roof. Gotta love free plants!

Sometimes they are dried out or have dead leaves, others look just fine. I pick out the best ones, prune them up, wash the dirt off the leaves, replace soil if it's spilled out (or repot), and soak with soluble plant food water. A little TLC will do wonders for a forlorn plant.

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mzdee(6b)

Cool. Please share some pics of your rescues.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 6:04PM
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sunflower_child(9b)

Love it! I could try this on my lunch half hour... Home Depot is right down the street!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 8:52PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Some of the big box stores like HD now have trash compactors, so there is no open dumpster that you can dive in. WalMart does also, but I've heard sometimes they have an open dumpster near the garden section where they pile everything at the end of the spring season. Here in the Midwest, that's about the end of June.

I do pretty well at the Ace Hardware and the regional farm supply store. They are small enough that they don't have big compactors. Ace Hardware throws out literally hundreds of plastic flats of all types. I collect stacks of them and donate back to a local nursery where I buy my vegetable plants. Keep wishing they'd give me a discount but the point is to recycle, whether I get a reward or not.

Couple years ago the farm supply threw out 20 potted flowering crab trees. I found one that was not broken off and rescued it. Guerilla-gardened it across the street in an empty spot in the tree line of a large school yard. Got to see it bloom this spring - nice!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:36PM
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gardenper(8)

Yes it's too bad that these places don't even save containers or have the city come pick up the plants for compost or mulch. I'm not sure how I'd feel about things like this if i was a manager at the store, though I do know that like many things in life, once you acquire a few of them, you don't really have the same care and concern about the others. One reason we want these plants (that have been tossed) is that we don't think we have enough of them yet.

I do get some rescue plants because I wanted to learn the ways to revive them, for when I ever actually need them. For example, I'm too chicken to transplant and cut the roots on my orchids before they need it, but with the rescue orchids I found once, I was able to repot and cut roots as needed to try to save them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 1:53PM
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