What should I know before I arrive?
- Please do not bring your dog. The event gets very crowded and for the safety of your pet we ask you leave them home.
- People are often surprised by the selection and quantity of items to choose from. It is helpful to bring boxes or box tops to carry your new plants home in.
- It is important to label your donated plants. This really helps the new owners of your plants treat them well. The form is downloadable here.
If you do the labeling before you arrive it makes the drop off and check in much faster and smoother. If you do not know the name of what you have, bring it anyway. We have plant identifiers here who can give you the information you need. Please do not bring invasive species.
Tools and other inanimate objects do not need labels.
What do you accept / Any restrictions on what to bring?
We accept anything that can be used in a yard except small plastic pots and chemicals/fertilizer. This includes all types of plants from seedlings up to full trees. If you can dig it up (with its root ball intact) it will find a new home. We take indoor and outdoor plants. We also accept anything related to yards and gardening, including books, landscape accents, sprinklers, tools and equipment, pots, stepping stones, yard art and even goldfish. But, no invasive species, please.
Do you take pots?
Yes. We take all kinds except plastic pots one gallon or smaller. But if you need some of those, start talking to your fellow Plant Exchangers. Someone probably has a few lying around. Clay pots are very popular, but in general all pots that are donated find new homes pretty quickly.
When will the next exchange be?
The exchange is held every March. The date is set about 4 months prior and posted to this site and our Facebook page. Reminders about the date and about when we start accepting early plant donation drop-offs are sent out to our mailing list. Click here to join our mailing list.
When and where is the exchange?
Location: 4500 Lincoln Avenue (on the grounds of Ability Now Bay Area) Oakland, CA
Time: 12 noon to 4:00 pm
Please see the map on our home page.
Can I get there by public transit?
Yes! The Exchange is a short bus ride away from the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. Please check the #339 bus schedule for exact times.
- Exit Fruitvale BART
- Walk northwest toward Avenida de la Fuente
- Continue straight onto Avenida de la Fuente
- Board Bus 339: Chabot Science Ctr.
- Stay on bus for approximately 20 mins. or 17 stops
- Get off at Lincoln Ave: Head Royce School
- The Exchange is directly across the street
Is there somewhere to park?
Yes, there is plenty of parking in adjacent lots. Look for our signs.
Do you take donations / Can I just give you some plants that I do not want/need?
Absolutely, we are delighted to take donations. You are not obligated to take something back if you are just trying to downsize.
When can I drop off my plants / Can I drop off plants early?
We accept living plant donations all year around. Contact us for dates and times you can drop off donations. If it is on a weekend we would need to be there to let you in.
Do I have to pot the plants I am donating / Do you have pots that we can use to repot?
You do not need to pot the plants, just be sure to bring them wrapped in wet newspaper or plastic bags. They need to survive the few days before the exchange! If you choose to pot your donations, ACE Garden Center (Grand Avenue in Piedmont) recycles pots of all sizes. They place the pots next to the dumpsters. Feel free to stop by and take what you want.
What if it is raining?
We hold the plant exchange rain or shine. Only once did it rain hard. It was during setup, but then the gardening gods cleared the skies for the exchange!
I am interested in volunteering. What should I do?
Please sign up online or drop us an email letting us know that you’d like to volunteer. Or call us and we will get back to you promptly to give you information on the different areas where we need help. We need volunteers starting a month before the exchange, the week before, and of course the day of. There are different tasks with various requirements from sitting at the welcome table to digging up and repotting plants. There will be something that fits your physical abilities and interests.
How does the exchange work / How do I know what my plant is worth?
It is not a 1-for-1 trade. Bring any amount, take what you’d like. Gardeners seem to be fair and friendly people for the most part — if there’s a whole bunch of something, only take some of it, please share.
Volunteers put out donations on tables with designated areas for things like seeds, succulents, non-plant donations, etc. As people arrive with more donations, volunteers keep running them out to the tables. In an ideal universe, everyone has labeled their plants, so you know what you’re looking at, but we have volunteers dedicated to plant identification as well as master gardeners who can tell you a little more about what you’re considering taking home. We have a Hold area for your selected plants while you keep looking. When you are ready to go, bring your car around to the pick-up area and load.
Can we get gardening advice?
Yes. We have plant experts and/or master gardeners who are there to answer questions and help you.
How much does it cost / Do you accept cash?
The exchange is free-to-the-public, but it is an exchange. So, if you don’t have plants you can go to ACE Garden Center (Grand Avenue in Piedmont) to purchase something to participate in the exchange, you can volunteer, or you can give a monetary donation. The exchange could not take place without donations. They are our only way pay for insurance, printing fliers and posters, permits, supplies and materials we need to put on the event, as well as snacks and beverages for the volunteers.
What if I do not have plants to donate?
When people do not have plants to share we ask for a donation. Since it is a trade and not a giveaway the other options are to buy something to donate or to volunteer at the event.
What happens when I get there?
We have a designated drop-off area with people in orange vests directing traffic. You can pull in; get help unloading your car, then go park.
Your donations will be brought out to our plant tables and you’ll get a sticker showing that you donated, and away you go.
Didn’t see an answer to your question?
Please send us an email at [email protected]