Raise your hand if you love having houseplants around, but somehow kill them within a few weeks? Yep, me too. But it doesn’t have to be this way, guys! With these houseplant hacks we can raise our plants to be beautiful and healthy as much as any green-thumber can. We can do it for cheap too.
Here are my favorite ways to get cheap and free houseplants and keep them alive through the seasons.
1. Return dead Lowe’s and Home Depot plants for up to a year.
These houseplant hacks will only take you so far. If you nurture your plant babies as best you can and they still die, you have options — especially if you bought a Lowe’s or Home Depot plant.
Lowe’s and Home Depot trees, perennials, houseplants, and shrubs have a one-year guarantee. So, if your shrub dies on day 359, you can dig it up and return it, as long as you still have your receipt.
If any live plants you bought online arrive damaged or dead, call within three days to get a replacement delivered at no charge! At Lowe’s, you’ve got 90 days to return annuals. Home Depot’s policy doesn’t cover floral arrangements or cut flowers.
2. Look for clearance shelves with “rescue” or distressed plants and save up to 80%.
These plants are all final sale and require a lot of TLC in order to get them to thrive. But the savings are so good, it’s worth a try.
3. Grow a new houseplant using dropped leaves from succulent plants.
I haven’t purchased a new succulent plant in years, because why should I when I can propagate them for free?! This is one of my favorite houseplant hacks ever.
Grow your own free succulent plant using dropped leaves from your local garden center. You’ll want to ask store management first, but most managers I’ve run into are cool with it.
What You’ll Need:
How to propagate succulents from dropped leaves:
- Make sure the dropped leaves are whole leaves that have broken or fallen off as close to the stem as possible. Halved succulent leaves won’t work.
- Allow the cut leaf to scab over — it can take a few days to do this. If you don’t let the cut end dry out, the leaf will absorb too much water and start rotting. Once the leaf starts to look a little shriveled up, it’s time to start watering.
- Place the leaf on top of potting soil, and place the pot in a filtered sunlit area.
- Mist the leaf and soil with water. When the soil dries out, mist again (about a couple times a week).
- Roots will start sprouting in about two weeks. When your baby succulent plant reaches about half an inch, replant it in a pot.
4. Use a sponge in houseplant pots to soak up excess water.
The next time you repot a plant, place an everyday sponge in the bottom of the pot first. The sponge will act as a reservoir for your plant — vital for all those times you forget to water it.
5. Serve diluted coffee and tea to acid-loving houseplants.
Acid-loving houseplants like abutilons, African violets, azaleas, gardenias, and ferns will start to love coffee and tea maybe as much as you do!
Dilute black coffee and plain tea with distilled water — and make sure you cool it down first too. You may be into cozy, warm caffeinated drinks, but your houseplants prefer their beverages room-temp.
6. Make homemade houseplant fertilizer from boiled eggs and veggies.
When you boil eggs and vegetables, beneficial nutrients leak from those ingredients into the water. Cool down the liquid and serve it up as a homemade, houseplant fertilizer.
7. Water plants with a plastic bottle when you’re on vacation.
Don’t forget to leave your houseplants hydrated before vacation! Easily water them while you’re away with this DIY plant waterer.
What You’ll Need:
- small drill bit or nail
- empty plastic water bottle with cap
How to make your own plant waterer:
- Use a small drill bit or nail to poke 1-4 holes into the cap of a plastic water bottle. If you need to water bigger plants, use a 2-liter bottle, keeping in mind that the more holes you have and the wider the holes, the faster the flow of water.
- Fill the bottle with water and replace the cap.
- Quickly insert the filled bottle into your plant’s soil. You may need to press soil around the bottle to keep it upright. And that’s it! Water will drip slowly out of the bottle’s cap while you’re away.
8. Fight root rot, gnats, and other houseplant pests with a hydrogen peroxide solution.
Gnats in houseplants shouldn’t be left to do their thing — not when there’s an easy (and cheap) way to get rid of them.
What You’ll Need:
How to get rid of pests in houseplants:
Combine 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water in a spray bottle, and mist the foliage and stems well to create humidity around your plant and hydrate its leaves. Spray daily for a week, then once weekly to get rid of pests and gnats in houseplants.
How to get rid of root rot in houseplants:
Mix 1 Tbsp. of hydrogen peroxide per 1 cup of water, and spray your plant thoroughly. One treatment should get rid of root rot.
9. Water an orchid the easy way with this houseplant hack.
Everyone knows orchids are picky AF. To prevent root rot by overwatering, place an ice cube in your orchid’s pot once a week. It’ll ensure your plant gets regularly watered without accidentally drowning it.
10. Dust your houseplant’s leaves with a banana peel.
Dust your houseplant’s leaves and make them shiny at the same time.
11. Head to Starbucks for free coffee grounds for your garden.
Enrich your plants’ soil with free Starbucks coffee grounds. Most Starbucks cafes have them near checkout, but if you don’t see them at your location, just ask. To use coffee grounds as a fertilizer, mix them into the soil around your plants.