Plant swap: more than free plants

Posted by Ana Carlson on

I’m so excited about yet another plant swap coming up! Since I seem to have become a plant swap junkie and post a lot about it on Instagram, I get a lot of questions about plant swaps. I thought I would share some of my experiences with people who may be wondering how these events work and what to expect. Every time I attend a plant swap, I see a few first timers looking around trying to figure out what to do, and I always show them how easy and fun it is. Some plant swaps are more structured, but people typically just show up with plants and cuttings, and find a spot for them on the tables. People bring anywhere from one to 2342842988 plants and/or plant cuttings, so don’t worry about bringing too few or too many! People bring plenty of common plants but also rare plants.

House plant lovers talking plants at a plant swap.I think it's great to get to know and chat with the people I share a table with. After getting my plants settled and chatting with my plant swap “neighbors”, I like to walk around and meet other people. There are always people standing around the tables either by their plants or looking around. Some plant swaps can get pretty crowded! I’ve been to some where there was a designated area for free plants. If you have a plant that needs a haircut badly, or a plant that no longer sparks joy, or you don’t have the right conditions for, you can bring these plants and cuttings to a plant swap and find a new home for those plants. You can also grab plants you like from the free plants section. If you’re a propagation addict and don’t know what to do with all the baby plants, bring them to the plant swap and someone will love and nurture them! 

If you see a plant you like, tell the owner what you have and make an offer! Because of the informal nature of plant swaps, the person who brought that plant may not be standing by that table. They are often also walking around to see what they want. Some people attend plant swaps hoping to find a specific plant on their wishlist. Others are open to different offers. I’ve also seen people show up, often at the end, looking for free plants. There are all kinds. 

Some people at plant swaps take great care in labeling their plants with name and Table with plant cuttings at a plant swap.
care info, as well as their plantstagram handle. I love when people include their instagram info so you can tag them when you post plant updates on Instagram. With more and more people having plant accounts to avoid spamming friends and family who follow their personal account, that’s becoming very popular. I love it when people tag me so I can see how my babies are doing in their new home. Many people just go to plant swaps bringing a box full of random plants and cuttings. I’ve been guilty of being a spontaneous plant swapper myself, grabbing a few plants and plant cuttings as I run out the door. I always make new friends at plant swaps!

I always say that getting a plant from a new plant friend is a lot more exciting to me than plant shopping. It’s not about getting free plants, but making local friends in the process. Many of us who have Instagram accounts dedicated to plants have many plant friends who are scattered all over the country and the rest of the world. It’s nice to make friends in real life. Since I’ve been swapping (and buying and propagating tons of plants) for a while, I now go to plant swaps just to meet new people. Last time I went to a plant swap, I brought some popular plants that many people wanted. I was offered many great plants in exchange, but I had to be strong because my apartment is too crowded and I want to make sure all my plants are getting the light they need. I still had a great time, because to me the main goal when I attend a plant swap is to meet plant friends in real life. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and sharing more plants at the plant swap coming up this weekend!

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