Gardening guru Ciscoe Morris has a secret to share with all cheapskate gardeners out there – the half price rack hidden in most nurseries. It’s usually located somewhere near the back of the store, and it’s a great way to make your gardening budget go further.
“So these are plants that are in great shape, quite often, they just don’t live up to the standards that they have to sell a plant for full price,” Ciscoe explained, holding up a perfectly nice looking succulent with bright green leaves.
“So this is a Sedum ‘Lime Twister’ - I paid full price for this last year, it’s one of the coolest plants in the garden. I got it for half price! There’s nothing wrong with this plant!”
Some bargains may look a little worse for the wear, but can be a source of dozens of new plants:
“Who in the world would buy this tiger lily? I mean it’s practically lying on the ground!” Ciscoe laughed and pulled out the pot with a plant in a prone position. “I’ll put in a little stake so it will hold up, and these have really beautiful yellow flowers that recurve and bend back. And something else, I didn’t just buy one plant when I bought this - see these little bumps all over the stem? These are called bulbils. They come right off, you can plant these a half-inch to an inch in well-drained soil and they'll grow new lilies!”
Ciscoe says there’s one problem that a lot of bargain shelf plants have in common: they’re rootbound, and will die if left in the container they came in, since water will just run right through the pot. Ciscoe recommends planting them immediately in the garden, or if you don’t have a spot for them, transplanting them into a bigger container (save your old nursery pots) with potting soil (never garden soil) amended with organic fertilizer. And before transplanting, use pruners to free the roots. And be ruthless.
“Take your pruners and just slice the living tweedle outta this guy – this is gonna hurt me more than it’ll hurt you buddy. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!” he said, taking his pruners to the roots of a Japanese toad lily (tricyrtis) he found for a steal. After freeing the roots, he put his find into a bigger pot to wait for a space in his garden.
“It's kinda like a treasure hunt when you go to the nursery and go to the half price table. And sometimes you find some really great bargains and have a lot of fun with ‘em, and you’ll make your garden beautiful to boot!”