The first thing I would have you know is that to me no plant is a lost cause. Now with that in mind I will share a photo or two with you that shows the scope of my greenhouse business near its end in 2007. In total I probably had my hands on 20-30,000 plants over the five years I tried my hand at owning my own business. Reference my first sentence and consider that it pains me to let a single one of these beauties go. Unfortunately even though we have more flower beds or containers arranged around our homestead than the average person, there is only so much you can do. Eventually you have to let some of the plants go.
Before you open a second browser to google some psychological services for me, thanks for caring by the way, I do have some criteria about what plants I try valiantly to save. With experience you can know when a plant has the potential to survive and when it is a lost cause. It is amazing to me how many people eschew the opportunity to enjoy plants because they are afraid they will kill them. So what if they do. If they don’t they get a chance to enjoy their beauty. Beauty like these window boxes outside my house in the photo I posted next. I took these photos on Friday the 14th of June.
But on to the purpose for this post. My wife and I like to experiment with new flower varieties, but are not excited to try these things at their full price. Yes, you can call us bargain flower lovers. In our time of growing large quantities of flowers we discovered a great way to pick up new varieties at a lower price, or even familiar plants we love at a bargain.
As the growing season progresses at your local big box stores the volume of plants circulating through increases greatly. I can tell you firsthand that keeping everything watered as the volume and heat increase in tandem can be a overwhleming task. In the meantime there are some plants that just do not get the care and attention they need to thrive. As a result there is a subset of plants that begin to show their displeasure and thus become unsaleable at their full market price. For the average flower shopper these shriveled plants become taboo.
But, for people like my wife and I with experience growing these gems from seeds, we understand the needs and are happy to pick up the bargains. Usually with some focused care, water and fertilization you can rescue these plants and have another showy piece to your horticulture stable. Everyone loves a bargain and when you can get them to thrive there is a great sense of accomplishment.
So what do you need to look for when trying to mimic what I described? You need to look for the rack marked like the pictures that follow:
Now for an example of a “rescue” from this year. We found these Lantana “trees” mixed in with the bargain plants on May 30th. We brought them home and began nursing them back to form. Within a couple of days we noticed new growth as the dead spots began to fill in with lighter colored branches.
You can find all manner of plants on these racks. You may see annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs or basically any plant your retailer has in their inventory. So keep an eye open for this bargain area and take a chance on a new plant. You just might be surprised how well you can do with a bargain.
EDIT (April 2016) Here is another bargain purchase we found in the stressed rack at Lowes.