50 Gardening Tips to Save You Money and Time

  1. Take advantage of August sales vs Late Fall sales. Fall sales don’t always give enough time for the plants to root up.
  2. There is no hardy grass that has the full redness of ‘Rubrum’ despite what some may tell you. There is a short grass called ‘Red Baron’ that has a lot of red but it’s not the same and 2 feet shorter. Just plant the Rubrum each year, it’s worth the effort
  3. Mums need to be planted in August early September for your greatest chance of coming back
  4. If you want a grass that comes up early ask for a “cool season grass” An example would be Karl Foerster. Most are warm season and that’s why they come up later. An example of a warm season grass would be Miscanthus
  5. Fall pansies that survive the winter are merely annual violas. They have smaller flowers but usually come back in the spring
  6. Fill half of your large pots with empty plastic soda bottles, packing peanuts, or anything light weight. You save a lot on soil, the planter is lighter, and it drains better
  7. Want your asters and mums to be short, compact and bloom in the fall? Trim them back all the way to the ground in the first of June. Do the same for Sedum Autumn Joy
  8. The general rule to remember for planting all bulbs is to bury the bulb three times the size of the bulb
  9. Pointy side up. All plants, all bulbs. This works on 99% of things if you aren’t sure how to plant
  10. Waterlilies, iris, lotus, most oxygenators stay in the pond. Most of the rest must come in or they’ll die
  11. Wilt Proof is a miracle spray for protecting all things evergreen. It keeps the winds from taking the water out of the leaves which is the main source of winterburn
  12. Do not cut back your hydrangeas or grasses in the fall. The tops help protect the plant for winter.
  13. The only hydrangea you cut back are the Annabelle types. They grow on new wood so cutting off the old wood is ok. If you cut off all the old wood you’ll be left with a beautiful plant next year that never blooms
  14. If your plant had any foliar disease during the year, make sure to pick up and get rid of all leaves.   No mulching or composting them. It carries the disease
  15. If you want to stop the squirrels from getting at your bulbs. Plant up the area, put down chicken wire and then mulch on top
  16. Wrap the trunks of all your trees that bare any kind of fruit. Trees that bear fruit have a sweet bark that rabbits like to eat
  17. If you’re not using Rabbit Scram in the winter you are asking for trouble
  18. The more sour the fruit the longer it will hang on your tree. Red Jewel Crab holds fruit the longest because it is the bird’s least favorite
  19. Mixing daffodils and tulips seem to keep the squirrels at bay. Daffodils are poisonous (don’t ask me how squirrels know this) and so if tulips are planted close they skip the whole area
  20. Japanese maples don’t mind the cold as much as they dislike the freezing and thawing. It’s too hard on them to go from 40 to 0 each day. Put them in a spot on the north side or east side where the snow never melts and you’ll have a very happy tree
  21. Paint you terra cotta pots with cement sealer and they will last twice as long as if you didn’t
  22. A pyramid shaped boxwood makes a much better plant for a pot vs. a dwarf Alberta spruce. One lives, one doesn’t
  23. Feed the birds. It’s relatively cheap and watching them feed is a very relaxing and peaceful thing to do. Don’t forget open water for them as well
  24. Winter last 5 months yet most people buy plants based on what they do for 6 weeks during spring. Pick plants that make a nice late fall, winter presentation
  25. Have us store your winter plants. We charge only $10 a square foot and for most tropical plants that’s cheaper than a new one and yours is full, beautiful, and ready to go when you pick it up in the spring.
  26. Want to collect seeds? Put pantyhose around the seed pods and let them dry naturally. You’re neighbors may think you’re crazy but you don’t have to worry about them blowing away or having the birds eat them
  27. The best price on tree work (pruning/removal) is during the winter. If you’re not in a hurry wait until then because the arborist and tree trimmers love to have winter work and will give you much cheaper prices.
  28. Almost every tag in the nursery industry underestimates the mature size of the plant. Small is good so they always stay on the short size to increase sales.
  29. Sowing grass seed over the top of snow works very well. When it melts it takes the seed into the ground with it
  30. Having trouble keeping astilbe watered? Dig a hole, put in a plastic shopping in the bottom, plant the astilbe. Won’t let water drain which is OK in this case
  31. Ask for a discount if you buy a certain amount. Garden centers usually reward for buying large quantities. All they can say is no
  32. Almost all wall stone is cut 8” deep. You get 27 feet long at one feet high per 2000 pounds.   That info will save you a lot of time.
  33. This group will kill 5 times more plants from overwater than you will from underwatering. Overwatering symptoms are the exact same as being dry
  34. Don’t use fresh wood chips to mulch your bed. I know they’re free but they will zap all the nitrogen out of your plants. Let it age first
  35. Water your petunias and calibrachoas with acidic fertilizer. They are acid loving plants. Actually they are basic hating plants
  36. The grafted vegetables are worth the high price. Better yields, no disease. Cost 4 times more but easily get your money back
  37. Have a plant that’s a little temperamental? Put it in your window well. Less harsh down there
  38. If you store your cannas and caladiums, don’t wash and use dry peat
  39. What you learn in master gardening is a great base. Just enough to make you dangerous.
  40. Put foot markers on your handles and they can then be used to measure
  41. Next time you boil your vegetables. Use the water to water your plants. They love vegetable soup
  42. Use the two liter bottle , quarter filled with sand trick to keep pots and ponds from freezing and breaking
  43. The lint from your dryer makes a perfect amendment for water retention in your hanging baskets and pots.
  44. Keep the slugs off your hostas by crumbling up your eggshells. Slugs hate the rough surface on their bellies
  45. Sleep Creep Leap. That’s generally what your trees and larger shrubs do the first three years. Good soil and better care helps reduce the timeframe but not the process.
  46. Trimming right after a bloom is the perfect time in 99% of plants.
  47. Clematis don’t have to grow on just trellises. Drape them over a nearby shrub like a blanket of flowers. Or even as a groundcover
  48. The word dwarf is a relative term. It only means it’s smaller the original species.   Dwarf can still be 6 feet high and wide. Even if it says dwarf, read the label.
  49. Never put weed fabric under mulch. Good mulch breaks down to a wonderful soil but then you have soil on top of your weed fabric which renders it useless
  50. Hanging Irish Spring soap in nylons from young trees really keeps dear away. They don’t like the scent.