So How Does Plant Swap Work?

Two smiling plant swappers with their plants after Sheffield PlantSwap 09

Are you coming along to your first Sheffield PlantSwap to swap house or garden plants? Want to know what to expect, how the plant swap works and what to bring? Or maybe you have been before but aren’t quite sure how it works

PlantSwap has grown organically from a group of friends swapping house plants to something much bigger and busier. And we love how popular swapping plants has become but popularity brings challenges too. This is our first attempt at explaining some of the things that help PlantSwap run smoothly.

First and foremost is the principle that PlantSwap is open, inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

Fay and Sarah

We set up PlantSwap to encourage more people to enjoy and connect with plants and to help newbies could get started. This means that we do not do a straight up ‘plant for a plant’ exchange.

Because we realise that everyone is at different points in their plant journey, from just setting out to having houses overflowing with plants, we ask people to bring what they can, take what they like and pay what they feel.

So if you have no plants to exchange you are still welcome to take a plant but simply make a donation in exchange. Your donation goes towards the running costs of PlantSwap.

What to do before the plant swap

Label your plants so that people know what they are and pot them up so it is easy for people to take them home.

Fay and Sarah
  1. Label your plants. (Pretty please!)
    We love a mystery plant as much as the next plant hoarder but we want to be inclusive and encourage new plant parents. So if you know what type of plant is please label it. Even if you don’t know exactly what it is any clues are useful!

  2. Add other useful information
    Similarly, add more information about how to look after the plant and what conditions it likes. You could also add the name of the gifter (you!)- it is nice to be able to say thank you via the Facebook group.
  3. Separate and label outdoor or indoor plants
    At the swap indoor and outdoor plants go on different tables so please label them so that volunteers put them in the right place.
  4. Use individual pots
    Use individual pots so they are easy for people to take away. Multiple plants in one pot or multi-pots joined together may get left or may get taken all in one go.
    This doesn’t mean you have to give away precious plant pots – yoghurt pots, tins and takeaway cups all recycle well as temporary containers!

  5. Prepare unrooted cuttings or cuttings in water
    Prepare cuttings by bringing these wrapped in damp kitchen towel and a plastic bag or container. This helps people get them home without damaging them.

  6. You can bring more than just plants!
    PlantSwap is not only about plants! You can bring pots, tools, seeds and anything else plant-related that you think another plant lover could re-home.

  7. Post pictures on the PlantSwap Facebook group
    It’s very exciting seeing what people are bringing to the next swap so post pictures of your swaps to our Facebook group. (But please don’t pre-arrange swaps, it’s not fair to people who just come along on the day).

What to do at the plant swap

Remember that for the swap to be successful everyone has to feel that they have benefited so don’t take all the best plants just because you can.

Fay and Sarah
  1. Pay as you feel entry
    We always want to feel open and inclusive to all so we don’t charge an entry fee. However setting up, organising and advertising PlantSwap costs both time and money so we ask you to pay as you feel for entry.
  2. Arrive before the start time
    Arrive early so you can put your plants out before the swap. Sarah and I will be there half an hour early to help with this (and yes we will be changing our advertising to better reflect this – we are learning as we go too!).

  3. Try not to arrive at the end…
    You can turn up at any time during the swap but to have the full amount of choice, make sure you arrive at the beginning of the swap….towards the end there are lots of spider plants!
  4. No swapping before the start
    We want to be fair so no swapping plants or arranging deals before the start.

  5. When new people and plants arrive
    Please don’t swoop down on people as they arrive – give them space to unload their swaps onto the tables. This gives everyone a chance to look and people don’t feel they’ve been mobbed!
  6. Choose some lovely plants to take home
    We want to spread the plant love so choose some plants you love the look of. We don’t dictate how many plants anyone takes but please remember to only take what you can look after.

  7. Be awesome to each other
    You are all awesome anyway but take extra care to be considerate, and kind. Remember that for the swap to be successful everyone has to feel that they have benefited so don’t take all the best plants just because you can.
  8. What if I don’t have any plants?
    If you’ve just started out with owning plants – welcome!  You don’t need to bring something to swap, there will be plenty of time for that in the future. Instead, take what you feel you can manage, ask for advice and suggestions, and make a donation towards running costs.
    If all goes well, by the next swap you might have some plant babies or some cuttings to bring.  
  9. Donations
    If you feel that you are benefiting by more than you brought then please make a donation that covers that difference. And add an extra bit if you are feeling all warm and fuzzy at how wonderful and friendly PlantSwap is.

What to do after the plant swap

Stay and chat, say thank you and follow us on social media to find out more.

  1. As you’re leaving pose with your plant (if you like)!
    Sarah will be asking people who are leaving if they are happy to be photographed with their plant. It’s not required but if you’re not shy please get in front of the camera! We post plants and people pictures from all our swaps on Instagram and on here on our PlantSwap gallery pages.

  2. Stay for tea, cakes and plant chat
    Don’t rush off, there are usually lots of plant people happy to chat plants, give advice and have a friendly cuppa.
  3. Tweet away
    Mention us on Twitter at @PlantSwap_UK and tweet pictures of your plants using the hashtag #plantswapsheffield. Nothing like a bit of envy from your friends to help promote Sheffield PlantSwap’s next swap to make it even bigger and better!
  4. Get advice on looking after your new plant
    Completely at sea with owning a plant? Or just want to make sure that you get your new plant off to the best start? Check out our ultimate guide to keeping your house plant alive and plant care blog.

  5. Say thank you in the Facebook group
    It’s nice to say thank you in the Facebook group. Post pictures of the plants you’ve taken home and give updates on their progress. The group is also a great place for advice and to help ID mystery plants.
  6. What if I want to run my own plant swap?
    Drop us a line!  We’re happy to talk if you’ve got a venue/location in mind, or if you’re from out of town we can give advice on setting up a swap in your city/town.  
    At the moment we aren’t looking for further venues/dates in Sheffield, but we’re always interested in ideas and recommendations.

Still have questions about how to plant swap?

Finally, if you’ve still got questions we’ve got a FAQ here or send us a message via email or social media.

See you there!

Looking forward to seeing you at the next PlantSwap!

Fay and Sarah explaining how plant swap works
Fay and Sarah at Sheffield PlantSwap 09

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