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My Hobby: Rescuing plants from the clearance section

 
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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My favorite part of going to town, besides the beach, is checking the garden department clearance sections of our two hardware stores.

Plants that are a bit awkward looking or have past peak blooming (wow they come with seeds!) will often go on sale. There is very high turn around and we are in a climate where you can garden all year round, so many plants end up on the clearance shelf.

The plant may be sold as an annual, but I know it is in fact perennial. Or it may look dead, but I'm pretty confident I can bring it back.

It's finally cooled down enough that plants can sit in the yard for a day and not dry out, so we made the rounds yesterday and found:

Lavender for about 50 cents each
Rosemary for a dollar each
a mixed pot with at least 7 viable plants in it for 5 dollars
and some flowers to try in the deer taste testing garden for 30 cents each

We saw blueberries had gone down to 4 dollars, but I like to wait til they get to 2 dollars each.

What sad, sorry plants have you rescued from clearance or wherever and nursed back to health?
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clearance plants on shelf
typical clearance shelf
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our full cart
 
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Location: western NY (Erie County), USA
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This post reminds me to try doing this next year! A few years ago I bought a hydrangea for $2.98, down from the original $16.98. It was a few months past peak selling and planting season and it "had seen better days." I took it home and planted it and it did OK for a while; did not survive replanting it elsewhere. Our mistake. Next year I may try again, the big chain stores usually have a clearance rack full of nice things no one else wanted after a few months.
 
Amy Arnett
pollinator
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Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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Nice one, Paul! That's like 80 percent off!

We went to pick up a friend in the big city today, so naturally, we stopped at a few hardware store garden centers on the way.

The big "gets", as they say here, were:

one acacia, rare to see and expensive normally, taller than me for ten bucks down from thirty!

one eucalyptus also ten bucks down from thirty. Yeah I already have one, but they are hard to find here and it called to me...

also the usual for this time of year: lots of dollar lavender and three dollar olives, with fruit!
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Today's haul in the back of our van. You can see we left plenty of room for our friend's luggage...
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Hard to see as it was already dark, the tall acacia barely fitting comfortably, hovering over the car seat.
 
gardener
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This is awesome.  I do as much plant rescuing as I can, but I don't get very often to the places that do discounting on half-dead plants.

Last year I bought a bagged $15 goji berry bush for a couple of bucks that seemed dead, but knowing gojis are desert survivors, I potted it up and it came back nicely.  

This year I got a decorative flowering sage in a one quart pot for a buck; it's been doing extremely well.  I also bought 4+ large rosemary plants in two quart pots for $2-ish each; there was some death, but in pruning back the survivors I got sprigs to start new plants from, and several of those new starts are thriving.

One failure was a bunch of pond plants, sold as roots and rhizomes in little peat moss baggies (to be submerged in your pond to "plant" them) locked inside paper cups with plastic domes that contained fake little plastic versions of the plant that ought to grow.  These overmarketed overpackaged garbages were $12 apiece in the spring, but I bought half a dozen when the dropped to $.50 on clearance.  I knew they had dried out badly but I hoped a few would come back to life in my pond.  Sadly, nope.
 
gardener
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I have had 2 bad experiences. One just made me angry.

All.those bare root trees that stores sell for $12. I offered to buy all the leftovers (they leafed out) at 50% off. They said no. They would rather trash them and file a defective claim on them. Their words. Oh my.

The other was a hanging basket strawberry.  I replanted it and it took off. I got a dozen runners and planted a bed with the dozen strawberry plants i got. They bloomed with red flowers which was odd. It turned out to be an ornamental. Never heard of such a thing with a strawberry. It never fruited. Lol.
 
pollinator
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Location: Western MA, zone 6b
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Last year I found a really nice amalanchier on clearance for 75% off.     It was quite pot bound and not looking great.    After some root surgery I ended up with about 13  really good sized small trees from that one pot!    I planted 3 and gifted many more,   all have swollen buds ready to leaf out as soon as the weather turns warm in a few weeks.  One of my best finds.   I always visit the clearance sections too,  so many really good deals.  :)
 
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My master gardener daughter taught me to add a little mild soap, like dish detergent, to the soak water when bringing a seriously dried out root bound bargain back to health.
 
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Great job Two years ago my friend wanted to throw away some neglected plants, so I took them and saved three, they hold great now. I like clearance sections, a lot of good deals... but not all plants from clearance can be restored to good condition, they often have various diseases and half of them usually can't be nursed back to health
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas
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A large % of my collection has come from clearance plants. Whenever I make a dreaded trip to the local Walmart, I always try to check the clearance rack in the garden center. While a lot of it is much too dead to bring back, I've gotten several things for under $1, just because they had bloomed & needed deadheading to bloom again. Last year I got a flat of 8 geraniums for $6, when it would have been $40 at normal price. I cleaned them up, fed them, and used them in the mixed ornamental baskets to sell at the market for $14. I've also done that with the little 6 packs of annuals that have finished blooming or had one of the plants die. They come out to like 15 cents/plant on clearance, and just need a good pruning to produce another flush of blooms.
Lowe's has been good for trees/shrubs. I've gotten some on clearance, just because the plastic nursery pot they're in was cracked or damaged.
It's definitely worth checking out the clearance racks if you're already at the store.
 
pollinator
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I love Lowe's clearance rack!  I have gotten so many wonderful plants for next to nothing.  It kind of makes me feel good to rescue a sad plant and make it happy. The only fails I've had were things I didn't get planted in time, and that was my fault, not because the plant was beyond saving.  I'm not an expert, but can usually tell when there is no hope.  Some of it is knowing what will grow in your area. It always amazes me how the garden stores will sell plants that don't have a chance to make it at all or at that time of year.  A lot of the garden center people don't have a clue what is what.  I'm not a person who carries my phone with me all the time, but I like to look stuff up in the garden center just to be safe.
 
Posts: 93
Location: WV
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I've done this for years. I used to have lots of African violets that I picked up on clearance but my absolute best buy was two racks of perennials at Lowes for $5. The manager saw me looking through the rack and said he'd make me a heck of a deal if I took them all.  Most were in gallon sized pots and I had plants stacked all over my SUV by the time they were all loaded.  I stopped at my neighbor's and invited her up to pick out what she wanted, I shared with my mom and grandma, I planted some and the rest went to the flea market where I sold them for $3-5 each.  
 
Amy Arnett
pollinator
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During this pandemic, I've been settling for "nature's clearance section". That is, keeping an eye out for plants in places that I know are mowed or cleaned out once a year and places that are wet now, but will dry up in the heat of summer.

On our walk along the river today, we spotted Japanese maple seedlings in such precarious places.
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Sprouting in cracks in the stairs to the river
Sprouting in cracks in the stairs to the river
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In a small park that's mowed
In a small park that's mowed
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On a sandbar in the river that will be too hot in summer
On a sandbar in the river that will be too hot in summer
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A good haul, at least 25 seedlings
A good haul, at least 25 seedlings
 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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Very often pots of bulbs are "forced"....made to bloom out of season, for various holidays, and once the holiday is past, go on deep discount.  Plus at warm indoor temperatures the bloom cycle is accelerated and the flowers quickly fade and the plant looks shabby as it prepares for dormancy.  Sometimes they can be had for free in the dumpster like that.  They may take a year or more to bloom again after planting out, but bulbs are pretty resilient.  Incidentally, places like nursing homes also receive a lot of gift plants, which, once again, are usually tossed when past their prime.  Some cut flowers even, like chrysanthemums, can also be rooted as cuttings if they have a couple of leaves on the stems.
 
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