Bringing some greenery into your home and yard doesn’t have to cost a fortune. (Yes, we’ve been Googling “budget garden inspiration ideas” too!). The cheapest way to plant a garden, of course, is to use what’s already there and to then add cuttings you get from your friends. But what if you don’t have any green-thumbed friends? Then your best bet is to forget about those rare orchids and focus on more affordable plants. The cheapest way to buy plants is often online. You can also save money by buying assortments or going for seeds instead of seedlings. To get an idea of the 20 cheapest plants for your home and garden, we checked what’s available from Toronto-based Plant Collective and Greater Vancouver-based West Coast Gardens. Both these companies ship throughout Canada. Prices were accurate at the time of publication and do not include sale prices.
Tillandsia Air Plants – From $6
Plant Collective has various species of tillandsia air plants for $6 and up. While these bromeliads don’t need soil to grow, they can actually be among the most high-maintenance plants. This is because when you water them, you need to soak them in rainwater.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) – From $6.25
At Plant Collective, you can find spider plants for $6.25 and up. Their powerful air-purifying properties make spider plants one of the best plants for your bedroom. They’re easy to grow too and can adapt to a wide range of conditions.
Cacti – From $7
Plant Collective has a range of cacti for as little as $7, so buying an assortment of them may be the cheapest way to plant a garden. There are a few cactus species that are native to parts of Canada, but generally, you’ll have more luck growing your cacti in pots that you can move indoors when temperatures drop.
Tiger’s Jaw (Faucaria Tigrina) – $7
At Plant Collective, a tiger’s jaw is only $7. Endemic to South Africa, this succulent has soft, white “teeth” along its edges. It loves lots of sunlight and will thrive outside during the summer months. In autumn, it may produce bright yellow flowers. It doesn’t like high humidity, though.
Donkey Tail (Sedum Morganianum) – $7
Also known as the burro’s tail, donkey tail plants are available from Plant Collective for $7. This succulent is native to southern Mexico and Honduras and prefers full sunlight, but not too much heat. It produces pink to red flowers in summer.
Echeveria – From $7
Plant Collective has various echeveria species for $7 and up. These drought-resistant plants are native in semi-desert areas of Mexico and northwestern parts of South America. Most species tolerate frost.
Graptoveria – From $7
When you cross an echeveria and graptopetalum plant, you get graptoveria. These hybrids are available from Plant Collective for as little as $7. When they get enough sunlight, they may produce vivid colours, like pink. They do not tolerate frost and may be best suited for a spot inside or on a deck.
Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata) – $7
You can get a jade plant from Plant Collective for $7. Also known as the money plant, this succulent is native to the eastern parts of South Africa and Mozambique. It is hardy and easy to grow, making it perfect for bonsai. However, it’s toxic to horses, dogs and cats and mildly toxic to humans.
Elephant Plant (Portulacaria Afra) – $7.50
Plant Collective sells the elephant plant for $7.50. Also called the elephant bush or spekboom, this succulent is native to South Africa and prefers drier conditions. It’s fire-resistant and one of the best plants for gobbling up excessive carbon in the atmosphere. The elephant plant is not only non-toxic: you can actually toss some of the leaves into a salad or soup for a Vitamin C-rich, lemony zing.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata) – $8
At Plant Collective you can get a snake plant for $8. This popular houseplant is native to the tropical parts of West Africa and in the Canadian climate, it’s best grown indoors. Luckily it’s one of the easiest plants to grow and is one of those indoor plants that thrive on low light. It is mildly toxic to cats and dogs, though.
Aloe Flow – $8
You can get an aloe flow plant from Plant Collective for $8. It’s a hybrid between gasteria and aloe species from South Africa. This pretty succulent with its toothed, white-spotted leaves grows best indoors to protect it from frost. It prefers partial shade.
Lemon Cypress Tree (Cupressus Macrocarpa) – $8
West Coast Gardens has four-inch lemon cypress trees for $8. The name comes from the citrusy scent the leaves give off when you crush them. You can grow this tree indoors or plant it outside in the garden, where it can grow to around 16 feet tall. It needs lots of sunlight.
Haworthia – From $8
The cheapest way to buy plants is to get an assortment or variety pack online. You can get haworthia plants from Plant Collective for as little as $8. Endemic to southern Africa, these succulents look a bit like small aloes. They don’t like too much direct sunlight so do best indoors or in a pot in a shaded part of your garden. Haworthia are among the plants that are safe for children and pets.
Woolly Senecio (Senecio Haworthii) – $8
At Plant Collective, you can get a woolly senecio plant for $8. Also called the cocoon plant, this perennial shrub with its white leaves is native to South Africa. It’s a succulent that needs dry soil and lots of full sunlight. Once you have one of these plants, it’s easy to propagate new ones: even the fallen leaves may take root.
Split Rock (Pleiospilos Nelii) – $8
The split rock plant is a succulent available from Plant Collective for $8. It looks like a rock split in the middle and new leaves grow at right angles to this cleft. In winter, the plant produces an orange flower. It’s native to the arid parts of South Africa, so it needs lots of sun and very little water. In fact, you’ll need to protect it against rain if you keep it outside in summer.
String of Buttons (Crassula Perforata) – $8
String of buttons is another succulent that you can get from Plant Collective for $8. It’s also known as the pagoda plant or the necklace vine. Native to South Africa, it’s a great plant to grow indoors or in a terrarium. If the plant gets enough light, the stacked leaves can have a pinkish tint. In the spring it may produce pale yellow flowers.
Chocolate Soldier (Kalanchoe Tomentosa) – $8
Plant Collective has chocolate soldier plants for $8. This kalanchoe succulent is native to Madagascar and has several other common names, including panda plant. While some kalanchoe species are among the plants that flower in winter, the chocolate soldier tends to go dormant during the colder months. However, the dark markings along the edges make its leaves as striking as any flower.
Sand Rose (Anacampseros Rufescens) – $8
You can get a sand rose succulent from Plant Collective for $8. Native to South Africa, it has olive green leaves that take on a reddish brown to purple tint if the plant gets enough sunlight. It forms a bright pink flower that will close by nightfall. It’s best to bring the sand rose plant indoors when temperatures drop, since it doesn’t do well in frost.
Living Rocks (Lithops) – $8
Plant Collective sells living rocks for $8. These succulents, also called living stones or pebble plants, are native to the drier parts of southern Africa. As all these names imply, they look like rocks and are perfect for a dish garden. In summer and winter you shouldn’t water them at all. In the fall, they will flower if you water them correctly.
Babies’ Toes (Fenestraria Rhopallophylla) – $8
The babies’ toes succulent is available from Plant Collective for $8. It’s native to the arid Namaqualand region of Namibia and South Africa. In the wild, it grows under sand, except for the tips. These tips are transparent, making the plant look like lots of little toes. In Canada, this plant will grow best in a sunny window. It will produce white or light yellow flowers.