Planting vegetables from seed will almost always be the cheapest way to grow, but sometimes it’s just nice to get seedlings from the store to help get things kick started. Peppers happen to be one of the plants that I have not had much success growing from seed and many varieties are hybrids anyway so I actually couldn’t save seed even if I wanted to. My absolute favorite pepper is the Lunchbox Sweet Snacking Peppers (also called the Yummy Snacking Peppers). They’re the fancy little colorful ones that usually come in the clear zippered plastic bags at the grocery store. They’re the ones that are bite-sized, super crunchy, amazingly sweet, and that cost $6.81 for a measly 1.5 lbs. at Costco.
So today, I want to share 4 tips on how to get vegetable seedlings for more than half off at Home Depot. I’ll use my recent pepper purchase to illustrate, but this will work with any plants sold at Home Depot.
- 1-Year Guarantee. Home Depot has a generous return policy where for one year they will refund you your purchase if your plants die. You just need to bring your receipt and the plant corpse. This means you can take the risk to set your plants out early to get a jump on the growing season, because even if you get a late frost that wipes them out, you can take your plants back for a refund. In fact, this is exactly what I did last year when one of my eggplants got knocked out by a late frost.
- Wait for the Annual Spring Sale. Each year, Home Depot runs sales on their plant starts at some point in the spring. Last year, the sale was buy one, get one free. This year, the sale was 5 pots for $10. The pots at full price range anywhere from $3.18-$3.98 each, and depending on the type of vegetable, may only include ONE plant in the pot! That’s VERY expensive. So wait for the sale.
- Use Cardpool. Don’t forget to load up on a discounted Home Depot gift card from Cardpool before this purchase. I got mine for 9% off, and so saved an additional 9% on my full purchase.
- Pick the Pots with the Most Plants! Here’s the coolest trick of all, remember that not all pots contain the same number of plants. Simply pick the pots that have the greatest number of plants, and subdivide them when you get home. So the Lunchbox Peppers I wanted came with 1 plant per pot…except I selectively went through and picked out all the pots that had 2 plants. So I effectively cut my cost in half again.
Of course, the roots will be completely tangled together as depicted in the photo below and it’ll take care to separate them without killing them, but hey, even if they die, they’re guaranteed, right?
When it came planting time, I just carefully subdivided the plants by pulling their roots apart. It might seem a little abusive to cause so much trauma to the little seedling, but the plants took it well and are still thriving in the garden. Taking this little extra effort got me double the number of plants for the same price!
Here are our deeply discounted plants, ready to produce lots of yummy sweet peppers!
How Much We Saved
So off of the original price, we stacked the savings in multiple ways: Home Depot sale, getting multiple plants per pot, using a discounted gift card from Cardpool, and purchasing the gift card with a cash back credit card. Here’s how the actual numbers break down:
|Cost per Plant||Notes|
|Sale||$2.00||Special Home Depot sale|
|Double Plant Pots||$1.00||Cuts the cost in half|
|Cardpool Discount Gift Card||$0.91||9% discount|
|Credit Card Rewards||$0.89||2% cash back|
So the full price for my 5 pots (which ended up being 10 plants instead of 5), would have been $18.40, but after all these savings, it ended up being $8.90 ($0.89 per plant). That’s a 52% discount! Plus we still have the 1-year guarantee to boot.
So to put it into perspective, we paid $8.90 for 10 pepper plants that will each produce all summer long, rather than paying $6.81 for just a small bag at Costco! These peppers will taste even sweeter since they’re this much cheaper!
So we’ve shared some of how we save the crumbs in the garden, what are some of your tricks to save when it comes planting time?