North Shore Plant Club

We bring the nursery to you: a huge selection of "fresh off the farm truck" plants delivered at nearly wholesale prices!

Pollinator Garden
Make every week Pollinator Week with the Plant Club!


Ever wish it were cheaper and easier to get great plants for your yard?

For the past nearly five years, our plant buyers' club has been helping neighbors like you get the plants they want -- from the same sources the pros use -- at almost wholesale prices, without spending hours going from store to store! We'd love to help you too!


How does it work?

Several times a month during the spring and summer, we'll provide access to all types and sizes of plants and prices from a rotating list of hand-selected nurseries... Look at the photos and information on our easy-to-use website and if you want something, let us know. If you need some help, just ask -- we have a team of "garden coaches" at the ready, who can share insight about your particular situation and help you pick the right plants for your yard, and the right number to get as well -- so that you don't make mistakes by ordering too little or too much. Then... we'll order everything from the grower(s), get the plants and bring them to your home by the following weekend (or you can pick them up nearby). That's it!

For any number of plants we can bring you without special equipment, we charge a $15 delivery fee (you can pick them up from us if you prefer). Our prices are just a bit over our costs — in comparison to the 100%+ mark-up over wholesale typical at most North Shore nurseries — so you don't need to feel bad about ordering as much as you want, trying something new, giving extras to friends — whatever makes you happy!

We've got everything you might need for your yard: annuals or perennials; small plants in flats or mature plants in big containers. Long-time stand-bys, Illinois Natives, current favorites, and new introductions; plants for solving those problem areas in your yard, or helping you achieve goals for your yard. Even deliveries of mulch, compost or dirt. We're also always trying to find new plants we haven't had before... Here's what's new this week!

Plus, a few resources to help you dream bigger: photos of inspirational landscapes, planters and hanging baskets; a plant color wheel; and a calendar of local plant events.


Our Annual Club Spring Annual Pre-Order Is Coming Soon

Reserve your spring annuals soon to avoid expected shortages (and save a little, too)!


Despite the chill in the air, landscapers throughout the Midwest are already reserving flats of annual plants right now for installation in client gardens this spring. (Spoiler alert – you should reserve your plants now, too!)

Over the past five years of helping increasingly large numbers of friends and neighbors get the plants they want at great prices, we have realized that many spring annuals — especially newer introductions which may be in shorter supply — basically never go on sale to the public, because they are snatched up in pre-orders by landscaping firms and other big industry players. And then, every homeowner in Chicagoland descends on garden centers during a few weeks in May to fight over what’s left.

That seems a little uncivilized to us! This year — based on longer relationships with growers and our experience of having been deeply challenged by this in the past — we’re offering Plant Club members the chance to reserve specific flats of spring annuals now for delivery on a few dates in April and May... just like the "big guys."

There are several important reasons to order your annuals early this year. The demand for plants exceeded supply the last couple of years, and even with growers trying to plant more to accommodate anticipated needs, no one in the business thinks they can provide enough.

Why? It’s relatively easy for a perennial nursery to grow plants – they can add planted space easily and carry over some unsold merchandise to the following year in a bigger pot. But most mature plants were started years ago, with pre-pandemic expectations about volume. 2020, 2021, and 2022 were banner years for most nurseries. And as a result, a higher-than-usual amount of the smaller-sized plants – that would eventually grow into bigger ones – were sold. Because of that, there were fewer mature perennials in 2022 instead of more! By comparison, annual growers are extremely constrained... notably by the size of their expensive greenhouses. And the majority of annual installations happen in less than one month. If a nursery hasn’t unloaded everything they’ve grown by the end of that period, they face financial ruin. And if they undershoot, they can't restock – it’s already too late to start more annuals for May! Either way, "making more plants" is risky for any individual nursery, even if they’re all convinced that gardeners are going to buy a lot more. Because of these factors (not to mention our inflationary times), we expect higher prices and continuing significant shortages of annuals and mature perennials this year. We want to make sure you get the chance to get what you want and a pretty good deal.

So, whether you need...

Consider reserving your spring annuals now. As always, we'll try to help you get whatever annuals we can get our hands on, but when May rolls around this year, we expect "same nursery" inventory to be much, much lower than it is now. But between getting into the game earlier and working with more nurseries, we can help you get nearly twice as many types of plants plus nearly 200 varieties of “retail ready” hanging baskets and patio pots. More of the sort of plants you requested. More Dahlias, Coleus, Edibles. More everything.

Reserve your annuals now here on the Plant Club website as soon as you can since supplies are dwindling industry-wide in real time. We'll be making orders every day for the next week, and our goal is to help you put in your reservations early so you’ll be able to relax knowing you will get the plants you want this spring, hassle-free!

As always, we're looking forward to helping you make your garden a special place -

- The Plant Club!

P.S. The Plant Club is committed to helping you get the best available plants this spring and summer, but RIGHT NOW our focus is adding something to your toolkit… the ability to reserve what you really want in advance, have the plants delivered when they’re ready, and get a good deal in the process. As usual, we’ll have tons of perennials and other cool stuff in May!


Popular Annuals

In Chicagoland, it's common to use annuals to jump-start spring color, either in beds or planters. The perennials which have survived the cold winter in your yard can take awhile to get going... But annuals, coming from warm greenhouses are already full of color. And there are so many kinds to experiment with!

If you're interested in creating your own planters or hanging baskets, here's a list of some cool "recipes" you can work from using plants which are available from the Plant Club right now. Want even more container inspiration? Check out our library of photos of hanging baskets and planters. Or, if you want something to show up on your porch or patio that's already in one piece, we have a growing list of hanging baskets and patio pots available for purchase.


Begonias

Begonia

Begonias are a profusely-flowering, low maintenance option for the garden or containers that require very little care and pack a huge punch. Keep begonias’ soil moist but not soaked, check on your variety’s light preferences (depending on the variety, begonias will produce spectacular blooms in full shade all the way to full sun), and watch out for botrytis blight, a fungal leaf infection that plagues these plants in the garden.

Begonias will bloom from spring to your first frost without any deadheading needed, but you can always pinch off old blooms or do some light pruning of the stems to promote a more incredible show. Some (tuberous) varieties can be dug up in the fall, stored, and replanted the following spring, which makes them a great investment, and all can be potted and brought inside to spend their winters as houseplants if you just can’t live without them between gardening seasons.

Begonias are members of a genus (Begonia!) containing about 1400 different subtropical and tropical perennial flowering plants often grown seasonally in cooler climates. Those include fibrous-rooted begonias like the wax begonias; cane stem types (angelwing begonias), characterized by their tall stems; and hairy begonias, which have felt-like leaves. Rhizomatous begonias include the rex begonias, grown for their brightly coloured and patterned leaves. Rieger begonias, tuberous begonias, and whopper begonias are also popular in nurseries.

Pros
  • Offer tons of color, height, and green or bronze foliage options
  • Low maintenance
  • Can tolerate full shade to full sun, depending on the variety
  • Do well in containers and planted in the ground
Cons
  • Needs extra water in extremely hot weather
  • Susceptible to botrytis, a fungal leaf disease - pick these leaves off and put in landscape waste collection (do not compost diseased plant material) / solution: water the soil, not the foliage
  • Cannot “overwinter” in the Chicago area (will need to be dug up and stored indoors or sacrificed to the snow gods in the fall)
  • Will drop their leaves if the soil is too wet or too dry for an extended length of time
Rex Begonias

Rex Begonias

You’ve probably seen Begonia rex as a houseplant, but did you know they can be stunners in the garden, too? Even though these plants do flower, they’re really prized for their strikingly colored and patterned foliage.

Rex begonias love humid conditions, but don’t like to get their feet wet . . . overwatering this plant will result in a soft, wilted mess. You can also over-fertilize this one, which will result in discolored, burned leaves and a lingering feeling that no good deed goes unpunished. Long story short, give this beauty some space and she’ll give you a season’s worth of fabulous foliage.

Pros
  • Thrives in partial to full shade
  • Gorgeously colored and patterned foliage
  • Doesn’t require deadheading for continuous blooms (but honestly, who cares about the blooms with those leaves!)
Cons
  • Can be a bit of a diva when overwatered
  • Will burn if over-fertilized
  • Susceptible to botrytis blight, a fungal leaf disease / solution: water the soil, not the foliage
Wax Begonias

Wax Begonias

Often called “Wax Begonias,” for their shiny, waxy leaves, Begonia semperflorens are a bit “vertically challenged” which makes them a beautiful choice for borders and the outside edge of mixed containers. These plants will tolerate partial shade to full sun, depending on how hot and humid their growing environment is: they’ll grow taller but bloom less in shady areas, and will be shorter but have more blooms in sun, but are prone to burning in full-sun, dry, very hot conditions.

Pros
  • Will tolerate partial shade to full sun
  • Blooms from spring until first frost
  • Doesn’t require deadheading for continuous blooms
  • Beautiful along borders or in containers
Cons
  • Prefers consistently moist soil, which could mean daily watering during hot weather...
  • ... But will wilt and/or rot if overwatered
  • Needs well-draining, loose soil to grow and thrive
  • Does best in humid conditions (only a con if you have curly hair and/or an aversion to feeling slightly sticky all the time)
  • Susceptible to botrytis blight, a fungal leaf disease / solution: water the soil, not the foliage
Whopper Begonias

Whopper Begonias

Showy and fabulous in gardens and containers, Begonia benariensis grows to a respectable 2 feet tall and likes to be the star of the show. Her shiny, waxy dark green leaves and rose-hued blooms are romantic, sure, but don’t let that fool you - this girl is tough as nails. If your version of "gardening" is to pop something in a pot in April and forget about it until the Fourth of July, Begonia benariensis might be just the boss babe you’ve been searching for.

Her tour du force? She’s happy in both sun and shade, making her a truly versatile star.

Pros
  • Blooms from spring to first frost
  • Doesn’t require deadheading for continuous blooms
  • One of very few plants that thrives in both shade and sun
Cons
  • Um... she’s too tall to wear heels?
  • But seriously, there’s very little to not love about this gal except her susceptibility to botrytis blight, a fungal leaf disease (solution: water the soil, not the foliage)
Rieger Begonias

Rieger Begonias

Begonia x hiemalis is kind of the best of two worlds. This plant is a hybrid of a tuberous begonia and a wax begonia, a match made in low-maintenance heaven. These little gems are super easy to grow and have one parents’ lovely, waxy leaves, and the other parent's tubers, making it easy to dig them up, overwinter them in a cool dry place, and pop them back in the ground come spring.

Pros
  • Thrives in part sun to full sun
  • Tubers can be dug up in the fall, overwintered in a cool dry place, and replanted in the spring
  • Doesn’t require deadheading for continuous blooms
Cons
  • Doesn’t like “wet feet,” so be sure the soil dries out between waterings
  • Susceptible to botrytis blight, a fungal leaf disease (solution: water the soil, not the foliage)
Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous Begonias

Need a pop of color for that shady corner of your garden? Look no further than Begonia x tuberhybrida! Commonly known as “tuberous begonias,” these little lovelies pack a powerful punch and are pretty unfussy, as a general rule. Their Achilles Heel is powdery mildew, so don’t plant too densely to allow for air circulation between each plant, which will help fight off this unsightly affliction.

Pros
  • Thrives in shade
  • Tubers can be dug up in the fall, overwintered in a cool dry place, and replanted in the spring
  • Doesn't require deadheading for continuous blooms
Cons
  • Doesn’t do well in full sun
  • Susceptible to powdery mildew and botrytis blight, fungal leaf diseases (solution: give them space and water the soil, not the foliage)
Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa are also called million bells or trailing petunia because of their prolific, bell-shaped flowers and their resemblance to petunias (but typically with smaller flowers). They are a fairly new ornamental, introduced in the 1990s, and rapidly gained popularity with the gardening world. Their trailing habit make them very suitable for hanging baskets and other places you might want Petunias.

 
Caladium

Caladiums

Caladiums (Elephant Ear) are in the arum (Araceae) family and native to Central and South America. They are hardy only to USDA zone 9 or 10; therefore, caladiums should be used as annuals in Chicago gardens. These tropical foliage plants are grown for their decorative, multicolored foliage.

Caladium leaves are combinations of red, pink, green, and/or white, with colored midribs and contrasting backgrounds and borders. The varied leaf colors and patterns create many uses for caladiums in the landscape. The leaves do not have stems, but instead originate on long petioles emerging directly from the tuber. They may produce a greenish-white spathe flower. Caladiums are grown for their beautiful foliage; therefore, remove the flower as it takes food away from the leaf production and reduces the tuber size.

Since Caladiums prefer heat and humidity and do not tolerate cold, soggy soils, for most gardeners who live in the north will have best results in containers, as the soil in pots or planters warms up faster and has better drainage so plants will not become soggy. Remember for best growth always keep the temperatures above 65 F.

 
New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens

Commonly known as “New Guinea Impatiens,” Impatiens hawkeri are quite similar to Common Impatiens, with a plot twist: they can be grown in full sun. Their blooms are also slightly larger than their cousins’, which makes for some awkward Impatiens Family dinner conversation.

Pros
  • Can be grown in sun or shade
  • Season-long blooms
  • Well-behaved, mounding growth
  • Wide range of colors available
Cons
  • Many varieties are susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungal leaf disease
  • Not cold-hardy
 
Common Impatiens

Common Impatiens

Often simply called Common Impatiens, or, our favorite, "Busy Lizzy," (how cute is that!) Impatiens walleriana is one of the most grown annuals in the world. This "mounding" (read: well-behaved, full and lush) annual thrives in hanging baskets, pots, or in the ground along walkways and borders. Its true allure lies in its light requirements: this plant is one of very few shade-tolerators who offers up dense, spectacular, vibrant, long-lasting carpets of blooms from spring to early fall.

Because of that, it's a popular annual bedding plant with a wide variety of colors and does best in part shade to full shade. This plant tolerates full sun, but is a water guzzler and tends to look wilted when heat loads are high and water is less plentiful. Over watering, however, can cause rot. Flowers may be bicolored or double. This plant has low drought tolerance and is hardy in zones 10-11. This plant performs best when soil is moist, well-drained, and supplemented with organic material.

Pros
  • Thrive in shade
  • Season-long blooms
  • Well-behaved, mounding growth
  • Wide range of colors available
Cons
  • Do not do well in full sun
  • Many varieties are susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungal leaf disease
  • Not cold-hardy
 
Petunias     

Petunias

Would spring even happen without a gorgeous hanging basket of petunias on every front porch?

These planter favorites are easy to care for and give much more than they take. Petunias love the sun but can tolerate partial shade. They grow best in well-drained soil (planting with a handful or two of peat moss can help with this) but should be kept moist when potted, so plan on watering these beauties every few days or daily during hot weather if you have them in a planter. Petunias are HUNGRY and should be fertilized often to promote the most blooms!

Pros
  • Tons of colors and varieties available
  • Bloom from spring until the first frost
  • Showy and colorful in planters or the garden
  • Adapt easily to most soil conditions
  • Prefer full sun, but can tolerate partial shade (6 or more hours of sun a day)
Cons
  • Dead blooms need to be pinched off to keep the plant looking its best
  • Require selective pruning to retain lushness
  • Need daily watering during hot weather
  • Prone to root and stem rot if planted in poorly-draining soil
  • Need to be fed (fertilized) often / solution: every other week with fertilizer dissolved in water or once a month with a slow release granular fertilizer in the soil
Inspire Plus Orange Blotch Pansy

Solstice White Snapdragon

Supertunia Bordeau Petunia

Blood Orange Nemesia
   

What's Popular in Spring?

In Chicagoland, it's common to use annuals to jump-start spring color, either in beds or planters. The perennials which have survived the cold winter in your yard can take awhile to get going... But annuals, coming from warm greenhouses are already full of color. And there are so many kinds to experiment with!

Pansies -- colorful, easy and frost-resistant -- are one of the most popular families of early spring annuals. Snapdragons, English & African daisies, pot marigolds, lobelias, sweet alyssum, forget-me-nots, nemesia, stocks, primroses, and sweet peas can also be planted in early May after being gradually hardened off.

After that, there are lots of choices in the annual palette: Impatiens, Geraniums, Pentunias, and much more. Browse a list of Proven Winner's annual best-sellers, or search for what you're looking for in the menus above.

If you're interested in creating your own planters or hanging baskets, here's a list of some cool "recipes" you can work from using plants which are available from the Plant Club right now. Want even more container inspiration? Check out our library of photos of hanging baskets and planters. Or, if you want something to show up on your porch or patio that's already in one piece, we have a growing list of hanging baskets and patio pots available for purchase.




Celebrating Pollinators

Every week should be Pollinator Week in our gardens, because birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, moths and flies are critical to our ecosystem. We're celebrating them because they make such important contributions to our ecosystem and sustainable food supply. And they are beautiful!

Native plants are key to providing a wildlife friendly garden. Native plants, shrubs, and trees provide nectar and pollen to native bees and other insects that are in severe decline. And they offer food, protection, and housing not only for insects, but also for spiders, birds, amphibians, reptiles, small and large mammals.

By adding these pollinator-friendly plants to your garden, you could help create a "pollinator corridor" which is series of yards, open spaces and communities with native plants that connects different areas of habitat. This provides nutrition and homes for pollinators. A common example is milkweed, which is necessary for monarch butterflies as they migrate. Milkweed used to be found commonly along roads and open areas but has been greatly reduced or eliminated over the years.

Here are some of our favorite natives:




More than Just the Background


Take Your Garden to the Next Level with Grasses

Grasses will take your garden to the next level. These plants are among our favorite items for four-season intrigue, and can take the place of other more expensive and typical evergreens in many cases.

Look in any garden design book or go to a botanic garden and you’re sure to see beautiful grasses, in a multitude of heights and colors. It doesn’t matter what season you visit – there’s always ornamental grasses, plumes of grey, taupe, green and even red and purple, setting off the flowers and other greens around them.


Groundcovers Solve All Your Problems

If you choose the right type of groundcover for your garden, it will grow and grow and not require a lot of maintenance. Not many other things in a garden can deliver such a big punch without major effort. But a good groundcover is even better than that! It won't complain if you put it in the shade (where many other plants won't thrive), and it will keep unwanted plants out of the way while giving you a beautiful living carpet where you would otherwise have bare ground.

There are lots of groundcovers to consider, but the classics include: Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed), Pachysandra terminalis, Vinca minor, and Euonymus fortunei.


Mulch Makes You Look Like a Genius

It's always a good time to add mulch and soil to your garden beds. Mulch is great for your plants. It adds nutrients to the soil, helps it retain moisture (so you don't have to water as often), prevents soil compaction, insulates the soil from hot or cold conditions and suppresses weed growth. It even looks good!

Book a delivery now and our partner, the Mulch Center, will deliver your order to you. Take advantage of our negotiated cubic yard and delivery rates for Club members. Shoot us a note at mulch@northshoreplantclub.com and we can help you place an order.


You just found a better way to get great plants!

Join the club (it's free), and let us help you get the plants you want -- fresh from the nursery -- without all the hassle and expense of retail!


Need Help?

If you need extra help, shoot us a note at help@northshoreplantclub.com and we'll work through situations by email or phone, or share the names of some great teammates who can efficiently and affordably help you plan a new area in your garden, or coach you on how to care for what you have -- a great option for a new homeowner who inherited a garden but isn't quite sure what to do with it, how to expand on it, or how to care for it!

January 2023 Plant Club Top 25

No rankings this month.

What people are saying...

I just wanted to thank you for making the North Shore Plant Club available to local residents, and for all that you do to run the organization so efficiently. My family and I have been amazed by the wide variety of plants we are able to purchase, and the high-quality plants we have received! It's like Christmas morning when I get your text saying that our plants are ready for pickup! We had a busy weekend of planting a butterfly garden, all thanks to you. It's official --- we are addicted to the North Shore Plant Club!
Wilmette
We wanted to write a quick note on how impressed we are by the club! We just got your delivery with a personal note and it warmed our hearts so much. It added to our feelings of absolute awe of everything that you have accomplished. I know you had huge numbers of orders this season but that never took away from the speedy, professional and fantastic customer service. To be honest, we have a theory that you guys must be a breed of super-humans to organize all that you have. Thank you for all your efforts and thank you for helping add beauty in this world through plants!
Glencoe
You saved me nearly $1000 on my new boxwood hedge compared with what I would have spent at [redacted]!
Northfield
This spring I spent several days going to all the usual garden centers in the north shore to try to find a few specific plants. It turns out you have them all!
Kenilworth

More Testimonials



Want to create a great garden in a specific color scheme?

Use the Plant Club Color Wheel of Plants to find plants in every color you can imagine, allowing you to combine color shades, textures and growing patterns to create the garden of your dreams.



Useful Articles About Plants & Gardening

We're always collecting useful gardening articles to support new and experienced gardeners. We now have assembled nearly 800 of them, arranged in an easy to use way. Please share any interesting gardening articles you come across to readingroom@northshoreplantclub.com and we will add them to our site!




Where to see plants!

Chicago's official motto is Urbs in horto (meaning "City in a Garden"). Here are some of the best places to see gardens in and around the city!


Interactive Landscapes

Educational Plant Photography

If you can't get out to an arboretum or botanic garden, never fear -- we have tons of education and inspiration for you! If you're looking to design your own planters, check out our container, planters and hanging basket photo gallery. The plants in our interactive landscapes are tagged, so you can explore them at your leisure -- asking "What's that plant?" -- no matter how cold it is outside.



Want to help us make the world a better place?

Share your knowledge, skills (or even your enthusiastic lack of these)... Email us to help the Plant Club help others become better in the garden. Or share photos of your yard or from your trips to other gardens near or far!

© North Shore Plant Club 2023. Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions.

Limited Availability

We try very hard to source exactly what you’d like, but sometimes growers run out of plants! While this variety is a great deal at the price shown, we know that it has limited availability. If you want the plant even if it might be more expensive, or in a different size or quantity -- after you place your order, just send us a quick note at help@northshoreplantclub.com. Then, we’ll try to get you some version of this from one of our growers. And if we can’t get it from anywhere, of course, we’ll send a refund!


Field-Grown vs. Greenhouse-Grown Plants

Plants which are well-adapted to our local climate are most often field-grown (outside). Field-grown plants are generally cheaper and have the advantage of already somewhat acclimated to our cold winters, but that means they’re not artificially far along in the spring and tend to bloom at the normal time in our area.

Spring annuals and tender perennials are typically grown in Greenhouses so they can be ready and luxurious exactly when customers want them. Some perennials are also “forced” into early bloom in greenhouses. In May, there can be a very big difference between field-grown and greenhouse-grown plants of the same type. The latter typically look good right away (so they’re a great choice where that’s important), but we typically pay a premium for it.


Benefits of Membership

Want a better way to get great plants and make your yard look awesome? Create your account below and get:

  • The best plants… from the same sources the pros use, but at near wholesale prices
  • More plants in more sizes than anywhere else… whether you’re looking for classics or rarities; annuals, perennials or shrubs; one plant or a whole yardful!
  • "No Contact" delivery or easy pick-up at a site near you without fighting the retail crowds. You choose!

Membership is free, but — since we rely on delivery and local pick-up — you have to live near one of our hubs (or be willing to drive to a site to pick them up). If you live farther away, and would like to help us bring the club to your neighbors, please email helpusgrow@northshoreplantclub.com.

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About Ordering From The Plant Club

To secure the best prices for club members and make sure we know the current plants available from each nursery, we take orders only a couple of times a month.

Shoot us an email at help@northshoreplantclub.com, and we'll be happy to talk about plants or let you know when it's time to buy them!