Is there anything worth buying for the garden at the dollar store? We scoured the isles to look for items that are useful and long-lasting—not single-use or disposable—and discovered some good finds.
Love frugal tips? Also see 24 Clever Garden Problem-Solvers Using Household Items.
Dollar Store Garden Hacks
I thought it would be fun to go through some dollar stores to find useful garden items that have lasting value.
Like many of you, I am not a fan of our disposable society, so I try to avoid cheap or single-use items that end up in the trash.
Dollar stores are that odd mixture of worthless knock-offs and (sometimes) excellent bargains.
Everything I selected here is either useful as-is or can be used for a hack—a clever, alternate use that solves a problem.
To be earth-friendly (and thrifty), I always check second-hand stores, marketplace ads, and yard sales first. But, if I can’t find what I need, a dollar store is usually next on the list.
I don’t think anything here will change your life, but it is amazing what good quality bargains you can find in those isles sometimes and the savings can really add up.
Want mail order? The Dollar Tree ships within the United States.
This may be the most obvious choice but it’s often overlooked. You can find good, inexpensive seeds at dollar stores. And, if you need a large quantity, the savings add up.
Selections will vary and they tend to sell out as spring moves into summer but check early and you’ll get some deals.
To compare prices with other sellers, have a look at the quantities, either by weight or number of seeds. They may have lower quantities but still all that you need—at a better price.
Check the packets and you’ll see many of them come from recognizable name brands—for a fraction of the price. I have no idea how they end up at dollar store kiosks but they do.
The ones in the photo include a variety of vegetables and flowers including annuals and perennials. The packets pictured above do not have Sow Before dates to check for freshness, but I’ve never had a bad batch. And you can always do the paper towel test first if you’re unsure.
The downside of the dollar store seeds is selection. We love independent seed sellers for all the weird, rare, and wonderful offerings, and I will always order from them for this reason. But for common items, these seeds are quite a bargain.
I bought a bunch of these wire mesh waste baskets years ago and they are still going strong.
They work very nicely as garden cloches to protect seedlings and young plants from critters and offer extra shelter from rain storms. In windy locations I anchor them down with tent pegs or garden staples.
But that’s not all. See 5 Smart Uses for This Dollar Store Waste Basket for other handy, unexpected uses.
Retractable hangers can retail for 20x the price of the dollar store ones. Quality may vary but I’m happy with these ones.
They are very handy for hanging flower baskets. Hang it up high for display and pull it down for easy watering.
4Wedding Favor Bags
These tulle or organza bags, often sold for wedding favors, are perfect for seed collecting. Place them over your best flowers when the flower is turning to seed. The bag allows air flow but while catching any seeds that fall from the pods.
Read more on this Clever Seed Saving Tip here.
When we bake we call them “Bundt” pans but really, they make perfect planters to fit around a patio table umbrella.
The shallow pan is suitable for succulents and many flowering annuals. Be careful not to over-water as there are no drainage holes.
And, they are good for more than plants. Use the container to place floating candles, fairy lights, seashells, or any other themed decor.
Or stash napkins, cutlery, or condiments for outdoor meals.
There are no perfect plant tags or markers in this world, but these work just fine.
I like the long, bamboo skewers for marking young plants in pots waiting for transplanting into the garden.
The classic popsicle stick is also a good choice for those of us who don’t want plastic ones. They can get water-stained over time, but you can still get many uses out of them.
For pen options, paint pens (oil-based markers, not regular Sharpies) don’t fade in the sun. Pencil also works. Top-coat with clear nail polish or polyurethane to protect the wood if you like.
There is more here on which marking pens are best for plant tags.
This is another dollar store item that has many uses. It’s intended for hanging flower baskets but that’s just the beginning.
Connect two together to form a decorative orb. You can see a version below with holiday lights inside.
And finally, I also use the hanging chains for various projects including this simple DIY hummingbird feeder.
Want to display flowers (or herbs) on a fence, wall, or the roof of a doghouse?
For this reason, I would not try doing this with cheap, plastic shoe organizers that will dry or crack in the sun. But I have seen another type at the dollar store that would work.
Look for dollar store shoe organizers made from polypropylene. It’s the same material that landscape fabric and some reusable shopping bags are made from. And for just a buck or two, that’s a good deal for a hanging wall planter.
I use landscape fabric to make my own grow bags. I don’t recommend it for weed control, but it works nicely for this.
Years ago, I came up with a trick for cleaning pond water without any chemical treatments. Basically, all of the water is filtered through polyester quilt batting. You can read about the clean pond method here.
So what are the cooling racks for?
If your garden pond has an in-ground skimmer basket, you can filter the water on its way to the recirculating pump.
Place a piece of polyester batting sandwiched between two cooling racks and secure everything with a binder clip.
Positioned at the entry to the skimmer, it works like a charm to remove algae and other gunk from the water. Change the batting as needed.
Dollar store party plates make excellent bird bath liners! Most bird baths are dangerous for birds because they are too deep and many birds cannot swim.
Use a plastic party plate to create a shallow reservoir, safe for birds to drink and splash.
Wash thoroughly each day and replenish with fresh water.
You can also add small stones to provide better footing for our feathered friends.
Bees, butterflies, and dragonflies will appreciate it too.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛