Free flowers....seeds and volunteers

Am I the only one that gets free seed packets in the mail? I get a packet from a heating company every year with a Christmas card. I get another packet from a national publishing company and still more from friends and neighbors when they get those 'party favor' seed papers. Normally I just don't use them since I have my gardens planned out way in advance. This year though I decided to try them out. 

Flower plants grown from free seeds

I planted each packet in a separate pot (planning on thinning later)  and sat back and waited. The results were a little unexpected. Well, I expected the seed papers to not work at all and that was exactly what happened! 

Just from looking at them I could only see maybe 3 seeds on each.....the odds were against that one to start with. Plus I know they're made with wet paper mush type product. Any time you get seeds wet they run the risk of starting to germinate, so for them to be pressed into paper and dry up would be the end of that sprout.

free flower seeds and volunteer plants

Free flower plants for your garden.

The packets however surprised me. Though they seemed to grow a little slower I did get a few flowers out of each one. Not enough that I needed to thin them, but I still got a few pretty flowers. 

Truthfully, I expected more to grow. I expected it to be no different then seeds I would buy in a store. I posted about factors that affect seed viability in this post...and I suppose since the seeds were handled by a third party and shipped through the mail, that could have affected them. 

Who knows, all I know is only a few sprouted per pack but that's ok because they look cute in the pretty colored pots!

If you don't happen to get seed packets in the mail and would like to try planting some, Cheerios gives away packets of seeds to help save the bees. They update their seed giveaway page every spring with an order form and they will send you a pack of 500 seeds absolutely free! 

Last year I used mine to make seed bombs!

Another place to get free seeds is through a seed exchange. There are groups online for seed swapping and through many garden clubs. The basic overview is that you would share the excess seeds you have and other gardeners share the excess seeds they have. This way everyone gets different plants for their gardens without having to invest in more seeds.

If you're looking to add more fruit or vegetable plants to your garden many seeds can be saved from the produce you buy in stores! Cucumber, tomato, peppers, strawberries and more have viable seeds in them that will most likely grow for you! That's how I grew my little avocado tree, lemon plant and dragon fruit plant! 

Luckily I had lots of other volunteers popping up in my garden too!

What are volunteer plants?

Volunteer plants are when something starts growing that you didn't plant, and then you realize it's not a weed. These happen for various reasons, everything from dropped seeds from not dead heading flowers, to using compost that didn't get hot enough.

This year I've been pulling lots of little pale green weeds that seemed oddly familiar. I knew I didn't plant them, but they didn't look like ordinary weeds. I pulled a lot of them out from all over my flower and vegetable gardens. 

Then one popped up by the fish pond and I didn't notice it. It grew several inches tall and started to get flower buds on it. I decided to let it bloom and when it did, I recognized it as a flower I had seen at the farm market. 

wild flowers

I had never planted any of those though! How is it possible that they are popping up in every flower bed and even my veggie garden??? Don't get me wrong, I understand how seeds get spread. Especially dill. I have dill everywhere

I just don't understand how the flowers got here to begin with. I like them though, and have let them grow wherever they want. They add a pop of Of color here and there and are much prettier then the weeds. As far as volunteers go, they're the most colorful ones this year!

Most every other volunteer was a tomato plant or chamomile.

Making money with volunteer plants

I do have another story to tell you about volunteer plants. There is a woman near me that sells seedlings every year in springtime. The last few years I noticed she had lots of flowers and herbs in mismatched pots. I mean LOTS of huge comfrey plants, black eyed Susan's, Calendula plants, different colored poppy's, butterfly bush and so many more!

Every year I think "it must take her days to plant all these!" I usually only pick up a few vegetable seedlings to fill in where mine failed or things I forgot. Then this year, for whatever reason, she set up her tables full of plants behind her house instead of in front. That's when I realized the secret to her inventory of huge flower plants. 


We walked around the gardens and she pointed out this or that plant and all it's babies growing around it. She simply dug each one up and potted it! What a brilliant way to let the plants do all the work! She also used everything from old pots people gave her, to ice cream tubs for pots! She saved so much money and effort and just raked in profit. 

So if you are planning on making any money from your garden this year, consider digging up your volunteer plants and selling them. As a bonus, they won't need hardened off like seedlings started indoors!

How are your flowers growing?


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  1. I get tons of seed packets in the mail too, but alas I don't plant them. A green thumb is something that I will never have. ;-(

    1. You should try it! I didn't do much but water them...what have you got to lose? lol


  2. Thanks for linking your blog up to Share the Love blog hop at

    Now following you

    Natasha x

    1. Thanks Natasha, I love your blog hop! Thanks for hosting!


  3. I love volunteer flowers! Thanks so much for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist.
    Happy Tuesday! Come on over and share your latest posts.

  4. I love your post. I so need to get going on some of the free seeds I was given too. Thanks for the inspiration.


    Cottage Making Mommy