Whether you're brightening up your landscaping or adding some new friends to your urban garden, plants and flowers can be very expensive. With small plants running around $5 to $10 and larger plants anywhere from $30 to $80, a large haul at the nursery each season can end up costing hundreds.
The temptation is certainly there this time of year as nurseries and stores begin putting out their newest selection of beauties. I know I get excited when I start to see those telltale pops of color in the gardening section. Here are some ideas for saving money on plants this year:
Limit seasonal pick-ups
If choosing between plants or flowers that last all year and those that don’t, I suggest you choose something you can transition indoors and outdoors.
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Or, if you really have your heart set on selections that only bloom for a period, choose which season you want to buy for and add it to your budget. If you’re really into the pinks, whites and blues that bloom in spring, make that your spending priority. If you can’t pass up the fiery oranges and red of fall mums, start saving now so you have cash on hand when the weather cools again.
Just have a plan because again, the temptation is high right now.
Understand plant care
Most plants come with a little tag or sticker explaining care, and if not, there are a plethora of online resources or nursery professionals who can help. Even though this is the boring part of owning beautiful plants and flowers (it’s way more awesome to choose and display them), it’s well worth the read. Watering needs, exposure to sunlight and trimming needs are all completely different for each flower or plant. So, make sure you have a care schedule in place to preserve your investment.
What’s the full cost?
If you’ve ever purchased plants before, you know the actual plant itself is just the beginning. Most plants require additional soil, a planter of some kind and occasional food/nutrients if you want them to last. Be sure before you hit the check-out line, you speak with someone about the long-term care of your plant and what you’ll need to have on-hand. It’s kind of like a low-maintenance pet.
Before you find yourself raiding the nursery with a full cart of goodies, be sure you follow these tips to keep your costs down. And finally, be sure you aren't planting too early. While it may seem tempting to plant flowers and veggies on a warm spring day, remember a cold snap could send your investment down the drain.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.