Spring Gardening Tips and Resources

It’s time to exercise your green thumb and plan your Spring and Summer garden. Whether you have a container garden, roof garden, window boxes, or the luxury of a backyard, we want to connect you to resources that will not only add beauty to your garden but also improve the local ecosystem.

Indestructible Plants

If you have tried talking to your plants, reading poetry to them, and begging them not to die to no avail, we have good news. There are plants you can’t kill even if you never look at them. Try an Aloe Vera plant! It only needs to be watered every two weeks and requires minimal sunlight. Plus, it produces a gel that is better than anything you can find at CVS for healing burns and bruises. Jade plants are also good for busy people. They store water like cacti and need watering only when the soil is bone dry. The Peace Lily, which has beautiful white flowers, is another no-brainer. They don’t need a lot of light and tell you when they are thirsty by letting their leaves go limp. Not to worry. They perk right up as soon as they are hydrated.

PHS Pop-Up Garden Plant Swaps 

Make a date to attend PHS Pop-Up Garden Plant Swaps at 1438 South Street, sponsored by Solo Real Estate. These free, family-friendly events start in mid-March, weather permitting. They are an opportunity to bring plants, plant cuttings, or any garden-related items (i.e., books, tools, pots, etc.), to swap and meet other plant enthusiasts. It’s a one-for-one exchange; if you bring five items, you’ll go home with five new items! Plant experts will be on hand to help identify unknown plants, offer tips for healing “sick” plants, provide demos, and introduce you to seasonal plants. Solo Real Estate will also do seed and plant giveaways throughout the season. The plant swaps will begin in April and are held the first Tuesday of each month spring through fall. Preregister for an upcoming plant swap through PHS’s website for a chance to win a special plant courtesy of Solo.

Woman holds up plant while fellow plant enthusiasts meet up for a monthly Plant Swap at the PHS Pop Up Garden courtesy of Solo Real Estate.
Plant enthusiasts meet up for a monthly Plant Swap at the PHS Pop Up Garden courtesy of Solo Real Estate. Participants bring plants from home and exchange them for plants and cuttings while socializing at the popup garden.

Get Free Seeds

There are numerous opportunities for you to score some free seeds throughout the season. In addition to the free seed packets provided by Solo Real Estate at the PHS Plant Swap on South Street. The Wyck Historic House & Garden in Germantown is also hosting its Annual Seed Exchange, Saturday, April 20,11 am – 4pm. Bring your extra seeds to swap for new ones.

The National Park Service has a free seed program developed to increase native pollinator populations like bees and butterflies. In the past 5 years, these creatures have declined, threatening 75% of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts we eat. The available seeds are Black-Eyed Susans with yellow flowers and Milkweed with bright orange flowers.

Another good source for free seeds? Ask your neighbors or try local Facebook groups like the Philadelphia Seed Exchange and PHS Home Gardening.

Historic Gardens

For inspiration, visit 5 of Philly’s historic gardens: Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd.; Wyck Historic House & Garden, 6026 Germantown Ave.; Stoneleigh, 1829 E. County Line Rd, Villanova; Chanticleer, 786 Church Rd., Wayne.

Stunning image of Stoneleigh's Evergreens, captured by Dave Korbonits

Stoneleigh’s Evergreens. Photo: Dave Korbonits

Neighborhood Resources

Ready to start your spring garden? We encourage you to explore and support these local gardening shops to acquire plants, pots, tools, and more. The staff can also advise on planting conditions and requirements.

Urban Jungle, 1526 E Passyunk Ave., sells everything you need for your houseplants, from the soil to the plant itself. Their mission is to bring Nature to the urban environment. That includes repotting services, care tips, and plant accessories. They also create Living Walls, Rooftop Gardens, Landscape Lighting, Window Boxes and Container Gardens.

City Planter, 814 N.4th Street, has been a Northern Liberties plant mecca since 2008. Visit their store or shop online for houseplants, outdoor plants, seeds and bulbs, containers, and supplies, including window boxes.

Jade Forest, 616 S. 7th Street, is a mother-daughter shop of plants and unique plant containers from seashells to hanging baskets. They will plant-sit while you are on vacation. Be prepared to be awed!

Plants, Etc., 2313 Fairmount Ave, is a family-owned plant, flower, and cacti shop since 1982 offering flowers for all occasions. They also offer plant maintenance and provide services to many shops and restaurants throughout the city.

Pretty Green Terrariums, 1111 South Street, offers all you need – including workshops – to create and maintain terrariums of all shapes and sizes. And, yes, they have plants for container gardens too. Greenly Plant Co, 821 Dudley Street (inside Bok), sells house plants, locally sourced pottery, and plant accessories. 

Stump Plants, 956 N. 2nd Street, is a family-owned retail business offering one-on-one education and guidance to ensure that you have a successful experience owning and caring for your houseplants. 

Cloris & Prase, 1915 Washington Ave., offers plants and containers, decor, books, food, and drink.

Interested in learning other ways you can exercise your green thumb? Check out our article which highlighted The 2024 PHS Flower Show or explore some of Philadelphia’s Community Gardens. If you’re a Solo tenant or owner and want to sign up for a special 2-month trial offer from Bennett Compost, please e-mail us!

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