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How to Host a Plant Swap

Plant swaps are outstandingly fun adventures. Not only do you get to leave with a bunch of new plant babies, but you also get to meet all the other nerdy, geeky, houseplant-obsessed folks in your area. 


7 Steps For Organizing A Plant Swap


  1. Build interest in the community

    It would stink to go through all the trouble of organizing a swap only to find out no one is interested. Before you do anything, reach out to your networks, including local plant shops and Facebook groups, and see if there is interest.

  2. Find a convenient location

    Based on the response from the plant community, determine how big a space you need.

    Ask around to local businesses, churches, and gathering spaces. Maybe a business is interested in co-hosting it with you.

    If the weather is nice, consider hosting it outdoors on a patio or deck.

  3. Get Sponsors (optional but recommended)

    This can help cover the costs, so you won't need to charge attendees as much. They might even give you free products to hand out - yay swag!

  4. Provide food and drinks

    There are so many ways to have food and drinks at your plant swap. You can provide them yourself, invite guests to bring food potluck-style, or have sponsors provide food.

    A fun and boozy approach that many hosts take is to partner with bars, providing both a venue and a liquor license for your guests to enjoy. Others will invite food trucks to work their event. Nothing is a bad idea, and everyone loves food.

  5. Sell tickets and gather RSVPs

    A headcount is necessary to ensure there is enough food, drinks, and people in the community who are actually going to attend.

    People are more likely to RSVP and attend if there is a nominal fee. If you make it free or "just show up," people won't value it as much and won't show up. 

    You can have the money go to a local nonprofit as a fundraiser to draw more interest.

  6. Create event page

    People have to know about your event to attend! Facebook, Meetup, and Eventbrite are some popular and easy-to-use event pages which give your swap great exposure. You can also submit your event to Propa's plant swap page.

  7. Promote! Promote! Promote!

    Use all the social networks, word of mouth, and put flyers on local community bulletin boards. Local media loves covering community events, so reach out to them. Maybe you'll end up on TV!


Setting Rules For a Plant Swap


To make the swap run smoothly, it's essential to have a set of rules so everyone knows what to expect and leaves happy.


Plant swap basic rules

  • Everyone must bring at least one potted or bare root plant to trade.

  • The plants must be free of pests and disease and in overall healthy condition


Trading rules


This is by far the most complicated aspect. You want it to be fair but not cumbersome. There are a number of ways to do this:


Individual Trading

  1. Everyone labels their contribution with the plant name, whether it is a common or exotic plant, and their own name. 

  2. All the plants go on one table. Or, if it's a big event, each person can have a “station” at a table to set up their plants.

  3. Let everyone mingle and check out the plants for a bit, then announce the official swap has begun.

  4. People propose trades to each other. Swaps happen on an individual basis.

Ticketed Trading

  1. Each person gets a numbered ticket when they walk in the door, one ticket for each plant they bring.

  2. All the plants are labeled (plant name, exotic or common) and go on a central table.

  3. Numbers are picked from a hat. Each person goes up to the table and picks a plant when their number is called.


Details To Manage Before The Plant Swap

  • Get name tags and markers or pens. (Folks can use these for themselves and their plants.)

  • Buy plates, cups, napkins, and plasticware, if necessary.

  • Double-check the venue, sponsors, and event page to make sure all is going smoothly.


The Day Of The Plant Swap

  1. Print out a list of RSVPs.

  2. Arrive early! Go at least an hour before the swap starts to set up tables, pick up food, decorate, and just to make sure all is in place before people arrive.

  3. Welcome folks as they arrive; be available to answer questions.

  4. Have Fun!


Tips For Making The Plant Swap A Bigger Success

  • Have extra plants on hand in case some people don't get any trades. This way, they can still go home with new plant babies.

  • Set up a "free to a good home" table for anyone wanting (or needing!) to give away a few plant babies. Folks can also put books, gardening tools, or other plant-related items here that they'd like to donate.


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