I absolutely love shopping online for succulents and gardening supplies. If you aren't already saving money by comparing prices online, give it a try! Here are six of my favorite things that I have purchased online as I build my own succulent oasis:
- Serene Succulent Coloring Book for Adults
- Half-moon plant shelves
- Hexagonal wall shelves
- Succulent fertilizer
- Soil moisture meter
- Bright white grow lights
- Terracotta pots
If you love succulents but don’t have a lot of money to spend on them, never fear! There are plenty of ways to get free succulents.
And no, I’m not talking about “proplifting”–which is a form of shoplifting. I’ll talk about what this is and also how you can legitimately get free succulents without stealing succulents.
With a little effort, you can have an entire garden of these low-maintenance plants in no time. I’ve found some great ways to get my hands on more succulents for free, and I hope these ideas work for you, too!
What is Proplifting?
Before I jump into the legitimate opportunities to get free succulents, I think it’s important to talk about the elephant in the room. Proplifting is a term used to describe the act of taking cuttings or leaves from public places without asking permission.
Most avid proplifters will say that it’s only acceptable to take pieces that have already fallen off of the plant. But this is still not okay unless you ask for permission.
When I buy new succulents from my local garden centers, I get excited to see when plants include fallen leaves! If I am purchasing that plant, then those are my baby succulents.
I get it, succulents are pretty and they’re easy to propagate from the tiniest leaf. But that doesn’t make it right to take them without permission.
It’s not cool or legal, so please don’t do it! With that said, let’s move on to some more ethical ways of getting free succulents.
It’s far easier to get free succulent leaves and cuttings than mature plants. Most people do not easily part with their full-grown plants. They are often, however, willing to share healthy pieces of their plants. Call it a pride thing, maybe? But sharing succulents is a lot of fun!
It’s going to take a little work to build your succulent garden using free leaves and cuttings. As long as you learn how to propagate succulents, it’s smooth sailing. These tiny plants are designed to self-preserve and multiply. So, with the right help, they should thrive for you.
10 Legitimate Ways to Get Free Succulent Leaves and Cuttings
There are so many ways to get things for free, but it takes some time and effort on your part. So if you believe that time is money, then buying succulents is going to be the easiest route to take. But if you’re in it for the long run, try any or all of these free methods!
1. Ask Your Succulent-Loving Friends for a Leaf or Cutting
Do you have a friend who is as obsessed with succulents as you are? Or even a couple of friends who have just one succulent each? If so, ask them for a leaf or cutting! They might be more than willing to part with one.
One leaf can turn into an entirely new plant in just a few months, so this is a great way to get free succulents. Just make sure to take good care of the leaf and keep it in indirect sunlight until it takes root.
You might be surprised how many of your friends and acquaintances have succulents that they’re willing to give away pieces of.
2. Post a Request on Your Personal Facebook Page
If you don’t know any succulent-loving friends, post a request on your personal Facebook page. You might be surprised by how many people in your social circle have succulents that they’re willing to give away.
3. Search Local Buy/Sell/Trade Groups on Facebook
In addition to your personal page, try posting in relevant Facebook groups. For example, if you live in San Diego, post in the San Diego Succulent Society Facebook group. Check for succulent groups that are local to you.
Additionally, Buy Nothing groups are dedicated to exchanging goods and services within the community, so it’s the perfect place to find free succulents or cuttings. Just recently I saw a sweet lady giving away tons of clippings from her mature Jade. If I didn’t already have a Jade, I would’ve taken her up on the offer and had many cuttings to choose from!
4. Ask Friends and Family for Succulents as Gifts
Birthdays and holidays are the perfect opportunities to request a succulent gift or two from your loved ones. Most succulent lovers are happy to oblige, and it’s a great way to get your hands on some free plants. Just slip some hints to your spouse, kids, or parents, and let them know that succulents are all you want right now.
One day when my husband came home from a busy round of errands, he gave me a mature succulent from a local greenhouse. Once your loved ones know what you enjoy the most, they will be happy to no longer have to guess what to give you.
5. Work for a Greenhouse
Get a side job in your local garden center or greenhouse and potentially get all the free succulents you want. If you work in a greenhouse or nursery, ask your employer for fallen leaves and cuttings.
Most businesses throw away damaged pieces, but if you take good care of them, they can still grow into healthy plants. If you have a great working relationship with your employer, you just might get a cutting of every succulent that comes through there.
Related: How to Care for Succulents Indoors
6. Search for Free Succulents on Craigslist
People are always giving away plants on Craigslist, so check it regularly for deals on succulents. You might have to search through a lot of listings to find free succulents, but it’s worth it if you can score some.
7. Request a Leaf Swap With Other Succulent Enthusiasts
This is a great way to get new varieties of succulents without spending any money. Simply find someone with a type of succulent you don’t have and trade one of your leaves for one of theirs. It’s a win-win!
Plant swaps are a great way to meet other succulent lovers in your area. These don’t have to be large local events. You can arrange swaps with individuals you connect with in your local Facebook groups.
8. Check out Freecycle.org
This website is dedicated to helping people get rid of stuff they don’t want. It’s a great resource for finding all sorts of things, including free succulents.
There are times when people receive succulents as wedding favors or gifts from friends and they don’t know how to care for them. So they’re just hoping that a gardener or plant-lover will take them over and bring them back to good health.
9. Arrange a Plant Swap Event in Your Area
These events are becoming increasingly popular, so do some research to see if there’s one happening near you soon. If not, look into arranging one yourself. You’ll be able to trade some of your extra plants for others that you don’t have, which is always fun.
You can find plant swaps happening in your area by searching online or checking with your local nursery.
10. Keep an Eye Out for Sidewalk Sales
Many nurseries and greenhouses will hold sales where they give away damaged or unwanted plants so they don’t have to throw them away. These are often pay-what-you-want type situations, so even if you can’t find any true freebies, you’ll still be able to snag some cheap plants.
I like to shop for succulents toward the end of the summer because they tend to go on steep sales. I found some great hauls at my local greenhouse, but the plants definitely needed some TLC. So it’s definitely a tradeoff for quality when you get succulents for free or cheap.
Things You Should Do for Your Free Succulents
Since your succulents were likely given to you in need of some rehabilitation, here are four things you can do to ensure they thrive.
1. Repot Them in New Soil
The first thing you’ll want to do is repot your succulents in new soil. This will give them the nutrients they need to start growing again. You can usually find a succulent and cacti soil mix at your local garden center or online, or you can make your own.
When I make succulent soil, I like to mix potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite to ensure my succulents can drain completely after each watering.
2. Give Them Some Sun
Succulents love the sun, so make sure to give them a sunny spot in your home or garden. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll want to make sure they get at least six hours of sunlight each day. If you live in a hot climate, you may need to give them some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent them from burning.
3. Don’t Overwater Them
One of the most common problems people have with succulents is that they overwater them. So make sure to only water your plants when the soil is completely dry. Depending on the climate you live in, this could be every week or two, or once a month. Set up a watering schedule for your succulents that works for each one.
4. Fertilize Them Every Few Months
Fertilizing your succulents will help them grow strong and healthy. You can find special succulent fertilizers at your local nursery or garden center, or you can purchase them online.
Never Pay for Succulents Again
Whether your spouse says, “enough is enough,” or you just don’t have the funds to add one more succulent to your collection, there are many reasons why you might want to get your next one for free.
There are plenty of ways to get free succulents. With a little effort, you can fill your home or garden with these beautiful plants without spending any money at all. So get out there and start collecting those free leaves, cuttings, and sometimes, mature plants! Your dream garden is within reach.