Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blooms On A Budget

Do you dream of having a really lush and beautiful garden. I do! We have a large suburban lot - a corner lot - and I've been faced with trying to landscape it without emptying our 401K (especially since the house itself still needs some work)!

Here are some things that I've done that have helped me garden on a budget. I hope some of you find this helpful. I'm sure all you experienced gardeners already do these things and maybe you could share what has worked for you in the comments.

1. When buying plants always check to make sure that your cell packs have plants in each cell. Sometimes a 6 pack will only have 5 cells filled with plants. I also check to see if I can find a cell pack with extras that I can divide. When I buy the single pots I try to make sure I buy one that is easy to divide. This pot had four very distinct plants. The others I looked at had one or two bushier plants.

This was cheaper than buying a cell pack!

2. Learn to propagate! It's really not that hard! I LOVE hydrangeas and they are so easy, easy to propagate. This is my favorite way to propagate hydrangeas and forsythias..

It's called ground layering.

I select a branch that is close to the ground.

I scrape a little bit the outside of the stem off preferable at a leaf nodule.

Lay the part down into the dirt and put a rock on top and then wait. I usually do this during the growing season - spring and summer.

Soon you'll have another plant. I wait until the new plant is pretty well established before I cut it off from the mother plant and I usually leave it where it is for a few weeks so it can get used to growing on it's own. The hydrangea pictured below, under the Dogwood is about 3 years old now. The only hydrangea I've had trouble with is Oakleaf but usually this variety will have off shoots that you can dig up.

All the hydrangeas along this fence have been propagated by me with the exception of the first one. As you can see they, get smaller as you get to the end because those are the newer ones. All you need is patience and the will to suppress the desire to impress your neighbors with an "instant" garden. (The plant to the right of the last hydrangea are some blackberries creeping under the fence)

I do the same thing with forsythia. This branch has rooted and now it's time to detach it from the mother plant.

The other way is to propagate is to take a cutting, especially if you're trying to do many plants at once. Here is how Martha Stewart does it.

3. The other thing I do is buy the smaller pot. This little Knock Out Rose will be as big as this older one in one or two years. Especially if it's happy where it is and the soil is good. Things will fill in. Also, plants that are started smaller are usually healthier than planting larger versions.

4. Divide what you have. The rule of thumb is to divide spring-blooming perennials in the fall to to divide fall-blooming perennials in the spring. Summer bloomers can be divided anytime. If you divide in the summer be sure to give your new plants extra TLC because of the heat and less rain. Remember even though perennials may seem expensive, for a small investment you'll get a big return.

Daylilies - I will dig up clumps of daylilies and plant them in other parts of my yard. I usually wait until they bloom because otherwise I don't know what color they are. But if you're more organized than me and mark your plants then early spring is a good time. I just give mine extra water. Like this Stella d'Oro that I just divided and moved here.

This is a fairly new bed and I moved these Daylilies last year. See how big they are already! I can divide them again this year!

Internet image

Hostas - I usually dig the whole plant up and then you can see where you can separate it. Just be sure that each piece has its own roots.

This is an image from BHG.Com. I usually divide my Hosta in the summer so I know what kind it is. So it's usually fairly large like this one and it's pretty easy to see where to make divisions. Just be sure to give it's lots of water if you do this in the summer!

Every year I buy a coleus and I always say I'm going to propagate it since I love them. They come in so many colors these days and now there are ones that can handle sun. Did you know that the more red pigment in the leaves the more sun it can tolerate? So this year I remembered and all you have to do is: pinch some off!

Yep, Coleus will root in water! Just change the water every few days and you'll have a roots in no time.

If you have more time than money, like me, this is the way to go! There are many, many more plants than I showed in this post than can be propagated and divided. Of course growing from seed is a huge money saver too and I'll do a separate post and show some pictures another time of the flowers we're growing from seed this year. I hope you're inspired to try some of these techniques for a cost cutting garden!


Jo said...

Great timing for this post! I'm currently working on landscaping our new yard, and I'm sure I will make use of your tips! I love your little row of hydrangeas.

I'm hardly an experienced gardener, but I do have a tip of my own: Don't be shy about accepting free plants! I put a comment on facebook about needing plants, and now my front flowerbed is full of free gifts from my friend. And my husband's grandmother always gives me her extra tomato plants. Gardeners are very generous.

Ally's Corner said...

Do you trim back your Knock Out Rose? If so what time of the year?
How is your garden doing? Mine is ok not great. I need a little more sun and less rain.


Unknown said...

I did not know hydrangeas and forsythias were so easy to start. I will give it a try.;D

I love pass-a-long plants and many of my plants are just that. Each one comes from a dear friend and every year when they are in bloom it reminds me of them. And I agree with you, it's a very affordable way to landscape.

Kelli said...

Hi Manuela,

Thank you for the frugal gardening tips. You've inspired me to give propagating a try! You have a lovely garden. I especially admire your hydrangeas. We have a lovely bush on the south side of the house. It's still blooming in the first month of winter! So come spring I'll definitely try some cuttings. Thanks for the helpful post!
Have a wonderful day,

Beth at Aunties said...

Thanks for all the information! I do wish we could be sucessful growing hydrangeas where we live. I love there gorgeous bloosoms. I didn't know that about Coleus and just bought a bunch! I will be propam going to propagate sevral different plants this year and see if I can get it to work. I will let you know if I am successful!!!
Have you tried to propagate a Clematis?


Stacey said...

Great post! You are propagating your hydreangeas - I'm very impressed. I've gotten lucky this year. A great friend needed to thin her purple coneflowers and she shared with me. Then two or three different times I've been to Lowe's and they had excellent perennials marked down to $2.00!! Usually they are near death but these were beautiful. We got lucky. :)

Melanie@TheOldWhiteCottage said...

I've seen forsythias and azaleas root from a branch, but I had no idea hydrangeas would root like that! Thanks!

TPH said...

Beth - No I haven't tried to propagate Clematis. Mainly because I have trouble growing it in the first place. I've tried two different kinds and they all have gotten wilt. But they're so pretty I'll keep trying.

Ally - my garden is doing pretty good. It benefited from the few days of sun and no rain we had. So far I haven't really trimmed back my Knock Outs. I do trim them somewhat in the Summer. The unruly branches mostly. They get big so I'm going to have to cut them back one of these days!

I always accept free plants from friends - just be sure they are NOT invasive. I learned the hard way. I got some - I forget what they're called- 10 years ago and they reseed themselves - I'm STILL pulling them out!


GlorV1 said...

I've got to give that a try with my hydrangeas. Wow Manuela, thanks for all the hints and coleus roots in water, I guess like mint. Thank you for sharing.

Erica said...

Thank you so much for the tips! I currently only have potted plants but once I have a real garden I'm going to propogate my hydrangea... I just love the blooms!

Gena said...

I loved reading this since I know you live in my climate.

I think coleus are glorious and I did not know that the more red in the leaves the more sun tolerant they are. I love them and will now maybe buy one to see if it will grow.

As for the Knock Out Roses - they are incredible! I have one in the front of my house that is probably 6 1/2 feet tall and about that wide. It was the cheapest size they had at the time (maybe $3.95 or so?) and I have had it for about 3 years. I never trim it, since I needed a really big plant in that spot. This year I bought 5 more tiny ones to plant in other places and they have already almost doubled in size.

I will also try your trick with the hydrangeas - they are one of my favorite plants and I left my gigantic one at my old house.

Laryssa Herbert said...

Thank you for sharing these budget friendly gardening ideas!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What great tips! I also divide my hostas. I divide my iris's too. Another way to plant on a budget is to have a plant exchange party.

Rosemary said...

Very nice post! So pretty!
You always have the best posts!
Have a great weekend!

Rhonda said...

I love this post! thank you for sharing your plant knowledge.
my MIL kind of told me about the hydrangea tip but your instructions are better than hers.
It seems all our basics seem to cost more every month so doing non-necessary things like flowers for a small cost is just so smart.

and if I did not live 5 or so states away from you, I would come have a glass of lemonade with you in your pretty patio room. You share the best ideas!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Great tips, Manuela! My best hydrangeas were some that a friend propagated the way you explained! I am soooo excited because my pink lace cap hydrangea is blooming finally! There was some old wood that didn't die back!! Woo hooo!So I guess I should move my stella d'oro this Fall? Heaven only knows what we'll Thanks again! Have a great weekend...Debbie

Emily said...

Wow these are great tips! I'm going to try them. I just bought my first hydrangea plant. Wish me luck.

Sandra said...

I really enjoyed reading your post! Very informative! Have you ever done this to rosebushes?
Thanks for the info.

cherry said...

That is hydrangia is gorgeous! great tips chickie. cherry

Terri Steffes said...

We do a lot of diving but never any propagating (is that the word?). I love your hydrangeas.

Kelly B said...

So beautiful!! We also live on a corner lot. It had no landscaping when we moved here. Not even the beds by the house had anything other than weeds. What you are doing looks wonderful. I planted a hydrangea last year and it is looking lovely already this year. If it has pretty blooms, I will have to take your advice and propagate it. Thanks!!! :)

Manuela said...

Oh wow, that was so educational! Love you little place there. So cute. Can't wait to move back home and give that a try.
And yes we share the SAME name! :D

Sharon said...

Beautiful Manuela! I just love the Hydrangeas and are hoping to plant some soon...along with Honeysuckle and Bleeding Hearts and... :)

I love the idea of propagating. I will have to try that.

I also like to purchase Perennials at end of the season for a song :)It's exciting knowing that you have them awaiting you for next year :)

Have a glorious weekend!


Southern Fried Gal said...

Hello! Thanks for stopping by! Love all your tips! I'm the one studying each pot at the nursery as well. I've propogated lots of things but never a hydrangea - gonna have to try now - thanks!

Betsy Brock said...

What great advise! I've divided hostas for years. I'm especially excited to know how to propogate hydrangeas! I'm doing this for sure! Wonderful post, as always!

Lady Katherine said...

Enjoyed your hydrangeas! I rooted some last fall from my daughters, I going back over and place the brick. lol I done layering with other plants never thought to layer the hydrangeas! I been rooting things from old home places. Now I did not set them out early enough. My figs I rooted just got set out so far 2 out of 3 are going strong. My hubby cut the blackberry down, in the yard. We used to have a pasture full. The sheep ate them. My daughter and I are trying to hide some from him. lol I going on 13 to our old home place, Dad says he has sassafras trees, small ones growing. I going to try and did it up and baby it. The woods are full, My brothers use to dig the roots and Mother would make tea.

june@craftyniche said...

Thanks for the tip! Your garden is so pretty and I would love to have more flowers, but the deer would eat them! Your Hydrangeas are simply gorgeous!

morninglorycottage said...

Hi Manuela,
Was so good to get caught up with you finally. I've had no time for the blogging world this past month or so. You're always full of such wonderful tips and advice. Thank you so much for sharing. Your porch looks smashing!! So inviting. A day on the porch would be great, if I had one. ;-) Your yard looks wonderful too. I miss the South for that sometimes. The lush greenery. We can grow a lot here but it is different and not so verdant. I also like dividing plants and sharing with neighbors. Many of them often reciprocate with their divisions. Also planting from seed is inexpensive, a little more labor intensive but you can't beat the cost. Take care. Have a great summer!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by. I've actually followed your blog on Google Reader for quite a while but I don't think I've ever commented. I love your site and what you share. Linda

Angie said...

Thanks for these great tips!

Crystal said...

Thanks so much for your post. I am in the middle of putting in some flower beds, so this is perfect timing. I believe money is tight in a lot of households right now.

Thanks for sharing!

Gabrielle Mader said...

those are great mother was a great propagator..hee.

I just got bit with the gardening bug and have LOTS to learn. thanks for your knowledge.

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Thanks so much for these great instructions. You make it look so easy to do. I hope I can have as much success with it as you have laurie

Laura said...

Thank you for posting this information, especially on the hydrangeas! I'm going to give it a try!

Margaret's Ramblings said...

What a great post Manuala. I am going to try your method with the hydrangas. I have tried to do it with cuttings with no success. They are one of my favourite flower bushes.

Would you like to link this post up to Buddy's Friday. It has so much good information in it that I'm sure our Buddy readers would use. If you do just use the Mr Linky link on my blog


About Southern Belle said...

Hi Manuela...I have an award for you on my blog..come and get it.

marmielu said...

Oh, Manuela, this is a great post! Thanks so much for sharing these tips. We just planted 3 hydrangeas earlier this Spring, so your tip is great timing. I'm so thrilled with all the information, I'm going to ask my hubby to read it, too.

Chloe m said...

I did not know about the pigment in the Coleus! Thanks for helping me learn new stuff! Love your hydrangeas.

bj said...

I love hydrangeas so much but am afraid it is too hot, dry, sunny, windy out here in West Texas to grow them. I never see any growing around here. I have one in a pot that I can move around...early morning sun is good but hot, afternoon 100 degree weather is murder on them.
I am needing to divide some of my orange lilies...might do that tomorrow..That means making my little tiny garden plot bigger...and that's ok, too...

bj said...

I love hydrangeas so much but am afraid it is too hot, dry, sunny, windy out here in West Texas to grow them. I never see any growing around here. I have one in a pot that I can move around...early morning sun is good but hot, afternoon 100 degree weather is murder on them.
I am needing to divide some of my orange lilies...might do that tomorrow..That means making my little tiny garden plot bigger...and that's ok, too...

Anonymous said...

I knew a few of these tricks but not all. thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!! :) I thankyou, my wallet thanks you and certainly my husband thanks you!! :) Your instructions were so clear too! I have no doubt now how to do it! Jody

Amber said...

Wow, I really enjoyed this post! It was very informative. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You can also try the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin put out by the GA Dept of Ag. It's online. People throughout the state list flowers & farm stuff for sale. There's a lot of send a SASE and $1 for some seeds, but some are for plants of varying prices. I've picked up fig trees in Marietta and day lilies from another lady for my Dad.

I've also bought southern shield fern (they can take the sun) off ebay from a seller in Statesboro. They arrived on my porch by UPS.

brokeintrovert said...

I really appreciate all the prop techniques. I know people who have huge gardens because of their skills. Your tips made it look easier than I thought.