How to Rescue Clearance Plants
Finding and rescuing clearance plants or plants that have already found their way to the trash at local garden centers is a great way to find free and cheap plants for your garden. And, if you’re like me, you think the clearance price is attractive, but is it worth it? Is this plant too far gone? Chances are, no.
Most places will toss the ones that cannot be revived. If you have any doubts, ask the staff there if they think it could be revived.
Because with the right knowledge, the average gardener can turn these plants into flourishing additions to their own gardens. Or, even help them recover and then donate to the local community garden if you do not have room for additional plants in your own personal garden.
How to Find Clearance Plants
As the gardening season moves on from planting a lot of plants are leftover in the garden section of your favorite stores. These plants may not have received the best care and need some help but many have the potential to become something great.
Some of these plants will be in great shape and are only hit the clearance section because they are getting too big for their container and the store wants to give them a chance of finding a home while others find their way to the clearance section because they are on their last leg.
Choosing: Look for Signs of Life
When you find clear and plants at the storm they have often been neglected without water or have been in their small container for far too long. In many stores, the employees are instructed to not care for the plants to save on staffing by having the employees work in more valuable areas of the store.
These plants can often be revived if they have some signs of life remaining. Look for surviving green leaves that are still going strong to indicate that the root system still has some life to it.
The exception here would be bulbs. Even if the plant part of the bulb looks really dead, it may be worth the cheap price to get the bulb. Bulb flowers tend to be more expensive than most of your annuals, and will come back year after year. And, they have a dormant stage.
Do not purchase any plants that show signs of diseases or mold. These plants can spread diseases back to your garden and should rather be burned than rescued to help prevent further issues for other plants.
How to Rescue Clearance Plants
These tips will help you save clearance plants that still have some potential in your garden. If you are lucky enough to score a plant on clearance that is in great shape and producing you will want to remove any produce and flowers from the plant before beginning this process to give your plants time to spread their roots and grow a stronger base before producing food and flowers.
Move to a Bigger Pot
One of the most common reasons plants make it into the clearance section is because they have sat too long and have become root bound making them begin to die off from lack of space to grow.
You can make the most of these plants by quickly transplanting them into a bigger pot or directly into the ground where they have room to spread their roots quickly. If planting into the ground be sure to till well first to ensure that the soil is loose enough for the roots of your new plant to spread out.
Gently Add Water
When you rescue a plant that has not had enough water it can be tempting to give it extra water in hopes of helping your new plant thrive. This can actually shock your plant and cause further damage particularly if only some of the root system is still functioning.
Start by adding just a bit of water until the soil is moist avoiding overflowing your plant’s container no matter how tempting it may be.
Clear Away Old Dead Plant Matter
Clearing away the dead parts of the plant allows your plant to work to sustain only the healthy parts of the plant and helps to encourage fresh new growth. When you bring your new plant home make a point to use clean shears to trim away old dead parts of the plant leaving the living parts to continue to grow.
You want to make sure your shears have been sterilized to prevent introducing any bacteria that can be damaging to your plant when it is so fragile and recovering.
Fertilize Only After New Growth Starts
Once your plants have started to bounce back and are starting to show new growth you can give them a small bit of fertilizer or use compost tea to help give your new plants extra nutrition to help them continue to grow and recover.
If you do this too soon when you first bring them home you risk shocking your plants so wait until they are showing signs of new growth.
Create a Greenhouse
To help give your new plants a better chance at survival you can create a mini greenhouse over your new plants with a plastic bag or container that will help trap in heat and moisture.
This mini greenhouse helps provide your sick plants with the environment they need to bounce back and thrive. Remove the plastic for a bit each day to encourage airflow and prevent rotting.