Finally, sometimes the nurseries that supply the plants will set up short term discount racks far to the side of the garden area. An example is the $1.00 rack in the picture at right, which I spotted at a Home Depot in Missouri in late April. The nursery had moved $7-$10 spring blooming plants to this rack far from the main garden area in the hope of selling as many of them as possible before she brought in the next shipment of plants. She was putting up stickers on Friday, by Saturday, most of the plants were sold, and by Monday they'd been replaced by new $10 ones.
2. Perennials past their bloom are often the best deal. Often big box stores place their perennials at a steep discount in the weeks after they finish blooming. The flowers are no longer in bloom so they don't catch customers' eyes and take up shelf space. However, there's nothing wrong with the plants, and they make healthy additions to any garden. Some plants will not bloom again until next year, however planting them now will give them time to get established in your garden and grow strong roots. Others may still have the potential to bloom again. Simply deadhead them, by gently popping off the dead flowers, and they may regrow blooms this season. Whether they bloom or not, by next spring, you will have the same plants as your neighbors for 20% to 10% of the full price.
|My $1.50 "annual" a year later|
4. Stop by the plant section frequently. Whenever you go to a store that sells plants, swing by the garden center and browse the sales racks. Because plants bloom and die quickly, they go on sale quickly and are discarded quickly, so sales plants have rapid turnover and the best way to find a deep discount is to stumble on it. This also gives you the opportunity to chat with the garden center staff. Over time, you'll get to know the staff and see who knows their stuff about plants. You may be surprised how many stores sell plants now besides nurseries, by the way: hardware stores, big box stores, grocery stores, even the occasional card or drug store. You may also be surprised how many seemingly high priced nurseries have great sales. If you're at the store anyway, wander over to the plant section, say "hello," and peek at the clearance plants.