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.

Getting Hy with Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are an eternal favorite because they keep your yard looking great all summer long! Their large, showy blooms are beautiful in the garden or in a pitcher of water -- and they make enough to have it both ways! And there are many, many varieties (The Plant Club can frequently get nearly 50 kinds) to choose from.

Here is a round-up of some of the main types available:

Hydrangea anomala subsp. Petiolaris (climbing)

Hydrangea anomala (Climbing Hydrangeas)

White, lacy, hand-sized blooms adorn this thick and lush climbing vine. The old adage "first they sleep, then they creep, then they leap" definitely applies here; it takes several years for a climbing hydrangea to get established, but once that’s taken care of, Hydrangea anomala will grow quickly and can reach up to 50 (yes, you read that right!) feet tall.

Climbing hydrangeas cling to their building of choice quite vigorously with small rootlets and like sun, but are content with a fair amount of shade.

Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)

Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangeas)

"Smooth" or "wild" hydrangeas tend to grow to 4-5 feet high and sport gorgeous profusions of large pompom or lacy blooms, making them a wildly popular choice for privacy plantings, borders, or focal points in the garden. These shrubs grow extremely quickly and can actually be cut back almost all the way to the ground each winter, but don’t require shaping or deadheading during the growing season.

Interestingly, these hydrangeas do not react to the pH in the soil by changing the color of their blooms like many other hydrangea varieties. Smooth hydrangeas always have greenish-white or bright white blooms that fade to a sepia-toned brown by fall and make gorgeous cut fresh or dried flowers.

Common cultivars include 'Incrediball,' 'Annabelle,' 'Invincibelle Wee White,' and 'Invincibelle Limetta.'

Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangeas)

Bigleaf Hydrangeas tend to grow in a rounded manner, and can grow from 3-6 feet tall, with large leaves that are serrated and sort of oval. People love these because of their summer blooms, which last a long time, and can be either “lacecap” – with flattened flower clusters, or “mophead,” with globe shaped flower heads. If you plant this hydrangea in alkaline soil, you’ll get a plant with pink flowers. If you plant it in acid soil (or add acidifier to the soil, which is easy to do – just add a few cups to the soil periodically), you’ll get blue flowers. Tip: If the flower color of newly opened flowers is either blue, purple or pink then you have a Macrophylla type. If the flower buds open a green color, then turn white, and as they age turn green or greenish brown, you have an Arborescens type.

Common cultivars include 'Endless Summer', 'Endless Summer Crush,' and 'Blushing Bride.'

Hydrangea paniculata (Panicled Hydrangea)

Hydrangea paniculata (Panicled Hydrangeas)

Panicled Hydrangeas tend to be larger than bigleaf or smooth hydrangea and some can grow to 15 feet tall if you don’t prune them, though there are varieties for every size, including awesome dwarfs like 'Bobo,' and 'Little Lime.' Unlike the flowers of big leaf hydrangea (above), these blooms are not round ball-shaped – but instead, are more cone shaped. The flowers have a distinctive, very different look than the round ones.

Examples of paniculata hydrangeas include 'Lime Light,' 'Quick Fire,' and 'Vanilla Strawberry.'

Hydrangea quercifolia - Jetstream     

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangeas)

Have a shady spot that's just begging for a hydrangea? Oakleaf Hydrangeas are the most shade-tolerant of the bunch. They will bloom even in partial shade, but are often grown predominantly for the interesting foliage for which they are named... oak-leaf-shaped leaves that turn a striking red and purple in fall.

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 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 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!

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!
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!
You saved me nearly $1000 on my new boxwood hedge compared with what I would have spent at [redacted]!
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!

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 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 2022. 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 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

Already a member?


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, and we'll be happy to talk about plants or let you know when it's time to buy them!