1. How to get going
First step is to create your Grower page. The purpose of this page is to present the information other gardener's need to engage with you. Filling it out should only take a few minutes. But beforehand, get together a good picture of yourself and one or two of your garden to upload.
2. Create interest
Your Grower page is your shop window. So do take or select some attractive, interesting pictures of your garden. It’s important to realise that other gardeners will not just come for plants. They will come to see you and your garden too. And it’s not all about impressing them. It is about people relating to you, your interests and how you’re tackling your garden, however large or small, mature or new.
So do include a good written description of your garden and your swap interests. The latter are vital if you want people to contact you with swap suggestions.
This is where using GreenPlantSwap is so different from visiting a garden centre, and in many ways more rewarding.
3. Preparing plants for swap/sale
This may well be much easier than you think. You already have masses of plants in your garden. Many of these can be simply divided to create instant plants. You don’t need to dig them all up now! Either measure their above-ground size or dig out one or two and see what size pot they will require. The plants can then continue to grow happily in your garden, with no extra special watering or treatment, until they are needed.
When you do pot up your plants, take the trouble to remove any weeds in the soil, deadhead flowers, take off any dead foliage and trim back any dead stems or branches.
Also make sure the plant is well-centred in an appropriate-sized pot with a decent 'shape' and enough room for root growth.
Add potting compost as necessary and water well.
From time to time then check under pots for snails and slugs, and that the compost doesn't have vine weevil grubs, or signs of other pests or diseases.
A few minutes work can make all the difference between a plant that looks deadbeat and one that is cared for and desirable.
4. Making plant listings
GreenPlantSwap is designed to work hard for you. So please do not be tempted to just name the plants you have for sale on your Grower page. Only the people who view your Grower page will see these and the plants will not be linked to the Plant Finder plant records.
Conversely, listings you make through the Plant Finder or via the Plants button top right of every page will not only appear with plant images and links on your Grower page and in the Plant Finder, but also create individual sell/swap listing pages indexed by the major search engines like Google. You are therefore many, many times more likely to reach people looking for your plant in this way.
5. Listing plants
To list the plant, all you will need is:
- The name of the plant (but don't worry if you are not too sure of the name - see the section below)
- The litre size of the plant's pot, or the height and spread of the plant itself above ground - you can give either one of these details.
- The price if you are selling (no need if the plant is for swap or free)
If you are unsure of the litre size of your pot there is a handy calculator on the List plant form to help you.
You do not have to add a photo of the plant if there is one already on the plant record you are listing against. But pictures of your actual plants for swap or sale will always help.
If you follow the tips on the List a plant form, you will soon have the hang of it.
6. Naming plants
Many of us have difficulties with identifying, remembering and spelling plant names. To make it easier, we have the following solutions:
A. Find your plant in the Plant Finder and click the green button 'Sell/Swap this plant' top right of the plant record page. Many users find the best way to search for a plant is to enter the genus name (e.g. Hosta or Hebe). This will deliver a single page of results showing all the plants with pictures in that genus, which you can quickly scan through.
B. If you struggle to find your plant and don't know the name, a second way is to click on the Plants button top right of every page and select 'List my plant' then click on the 'Full name not known' link. This will let you list your plant against the genus to which you think it belongs as 'variety unknown'.
C. Alternatively, if you know the botanical name of your plant, but cannot find it listed in the Plant A-Z, then on the 'List my plant' page click the link 'Plant name known but not found in Plant Finder list' and list your plant against the genus naming your variety.
You can also make plant name not known or found listings from the genus record for the plant in question e.g. Acer, Hebe or Hosta. Just click the green 'Swap sell a plant in this genus' button on the genus page. Many users prefer this route.
7. How sure are you?
When you make your listing you will be asked whether you are 'sure' or 'fairly sure' of your plant identification. What you select will then be shown on your plant listing. In other words, it's OK to be less than certain and good to be upfront about this. Other gardeners should understand. Many will not mind, as long as it is a nice plant. And some may even help you one way or another with the identification.
Pots in garden centres can be very expensive. Best prices are online; and most economical are poly pots for as little as c. £5 per 100 1L pots, from suppliers like:
All these come in GreenPlantSwap litre sizes, from 0.5L to 50L. They also sell good value plug plant trays.
As in other walks of life, variety is the spice. So look at what other Growers are offering in your area and, where you can, offer something different. Think what other people are less likely to have. One of the great opportunities with GreenPlantSwap is for the service to offer a much wider range of plants than the average garden centre.
It’s a good idea to specialise in one or two particular plant types and have a deeper range of more unusual varieties. Gardeners will go the extra mile to Growers providing more choice. With a little planning you can enhance this by buying in smaller plants at low cost from a wholesaler and growing these on; or propagating from seeds and cuttings to have some volume in the varieties of one plant type. You’d be amazed the income a small patch of your garden can generate. It’s also a lot of fun becoming a specialist and gives you more ‘swapping power’ with other gardeners.
10. On the day
Five top tips:
- Keep the appointment
- Be welcoming
- Be generous with your time and show them other plants in the garden if they are interested
- Keep some carrier bags to put pots in, so the back of their car doesn't become a mud bath
- Keep a cash float, so you have change when they pay