Finding Free Plants: Aloe Vera

Here at Dancing Treetops we are all about saving plants, and this often means that we rescue plants discarded by others. This past weekend, when walking to the land for our weekend work, we discovered that some of our new neighbors had thrown out about a dozen aloe vera plants at the opposite side of the road.

aloe vera dumped

We love finding free plants, and we have a soft spot for these aloe vera plants, since we've been envious of them for years. The mature aloe vera plants were surrounding a tree in an empty lot, where the house burned down about a decade ago. The lot has been empty ever since, although the lawn was fenced in and it was maintained nicely. The lot was recently sold, and our new neighbors removed almost all plants and trees on the half acre lot. They have been bringing in palms and flowers instead, so its not a complete loss, although there is nothing native left on the property.

Aloe vera plants are quite spiky, so in order to rescue them our oldest son had to return home for a large container to carry the plants in. We planted a couple of the aloe vera plants at The House, but the rest of the aloe vera plants were planted in the new xeriscaping garden at The Land. Our xeriscaping garden already contained a free agave plant we had found in the ditch as well as some baby aloe veras, which came from a found aloe that had been propagating on their own in a pot at The House.

How to Find Free Plants:
  • Look around your neighborhood and community for plants you can either get cuttings or seeds from
  • Look for native plants in wild growing areas
  • Ask your neighbors if you can take cuttings and try to root the plants yourself.
  • Trade plants with your friends, family and neighbors
  • Look at the free section on Craigslist
  • Always keep an eye on what kind of plants people throw out 
  • Keep an eye on houses for sale. Plans are often discarded before or after a home changes owners. 
  • Look for wild flowers, native plants or stray plants growing at road sides, but remember to leave some behind for wild life. 

We always encourage our neighbors to keep native plants growing, as these provided food and nectar for the wildlife in our community. Just recently we took a new neighbor around the neighborhood to find free flowers and plants for her empty garden, and we found several species that could bring a little green to a barren lot. In the past we have found everything from wandering yew, purple heart, wild elderberries, wild muscadine grapes to yellow cone flowers and wild black berries.

This is not the first time that we've found great plants someone was ripping out of their garden. Just recently we found an agave that had been thrown in a ditch, and a couple of years ago we picked up a bunch of bromeliads while on a bike ride, as someone was cleaning out their garden. We could only carry a few plants in the bike basket, but we returned the next day for more, and we now have some beautiful bromeliads growing in our garden because of it, and when they bloom its almost magical.

Have you found any free plants lately? If so, what is your favorite free plant find?