How to Save Big on Indoor and Outdoor Greenery

Indoor and outdoor greenery make a home feel homey, but plants, even fake ones, can put a sizable dent in your decorating budget. Add a little life without subtracting too much from your cash stash with these money-saving tips. (See also: 6 Surprising Ways a Houseplant Can Save You Money)

DIY air plants

I recently visited a nursery where air plants in seashells were being sold for $13 a pop — an outrageous price point if you're familiar with what each of those items cost separately. Air plants alone retail for less than $4 on Amazon, and seashells are free if you pick them up on a relaxing walk along the shore. Air plants don't require soil to grow, but they still need water, sunlight, and TLC. You can buy a pack of them and give them all the care they need for under $10. (See also: 9 No-Fuss Plants That Will Brighten Your Home Until Spring)

Reuse food and decorative jars as planters

Instead of tossing my used candle jars in the trash or recycling bins, I clean out the leftover wax residue by setting the jars in boiling water for about a minute and then wiping out the excess before hitting it with soap and warm water. The more decorative candle jars make excellent planters.

You also can use old food jars as planters, and I highly recommend the new Oui by Yoplait yogurt jars as mini planters. I love these small jars because they don't have lids but rather foil coverings, which eliminates the need for grooves at the top of the jar. In my opinion, they don't look as cheap as regular jars when used as planters.

Also, be advised that some plants don't like to sit in too much water, so keep that in mind if your planters don't have holes on the bottom to provide drainage.

Repurpose deep dishes and wooden boxes

Before you send your old dishes and wooden boxes to the trash or local donation center, look at them as potential planters. For instance, I have a couple deep, high-sided modern dishes from CB2 that I've chipped and don't want to use for entertaining anymore, so I turned them into planters. I keep the chipped edge to the back so no one can see it. They look great on coffee tables and mantles.

Take a walk through the woods

Mother Nature provides us access to all her bounty, and there's no reason you can't take advantage of this by collecting seeds or identifying plant species from unrestricted wooded areas that will survive in your indoor or outdoor gardens. Dig 'em up and replant them at home — sparingly, of course. You can easily research types of plants with the help of apps or nature books.

No trespassing on private land, and don't even think about taking cuttings from protected areas, like state and national parks. That's a big no-no with even bigger fines if you get caught.

Snip from your parents' or grandparents' plants

My grandmother had this spider plant the whole family would snip from to propagate spider plant babies of their own. You can use this method to start new plants from a variety of species, as detailed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. (See also: 13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master)

Check Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Letgo

While you're out there trying to save money on plants to spruce up your joint, others are tossing theirs out.

"Looking on sites such as Craigslist and in the 'free' section local Facebook groups can sometimes land you a gorgeous house plant that could need a little love," says Vicky Popat, owner of, which delivers fully grown plants, like Cotton Candy Mango trees. "If you live in a city, sometimes you could even spot a potted, ready-to-go plant just sitting on the curb. Before bringing any of these plants home, ask or check for pests."

Shop the clearance sections

Like everything else, plants go on sale, too. Poke around your local nursery or even your local big-box hardware store to see what kinds of deals they have. Don't be afraid to ask an associate either; they may know where the discounted goods are hidden if you can't find them. If available options aren't the most beautiful of the bunch, consider if you can clean them up, or if replanting in a more decorative planter will help. Many times you can just trim off the dead parts, wipe the dirty leaves with a washcloth, and feed with plant food until the plant is happy again.

Plant herbs

Herb seeds are cheap, but full-grown herb plants (often available at your supermarket) are quite affordable, too — in the $3 to $7 range. These plants will give your space, either indoors or out, the green punch you're looking for. You'll also save money over time on buying fresh herbs since you can snip from the ones you've cultivated. (See also: 6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too)

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How to Save Big on Indoor and Outdoor Greenery

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