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.


Bring On Our Favorite Time of Year!

Perennials, including shrubs, are the backbone of your garden and early fall is the best time to plant them!

Fall has all of the benefits of spring, with some cooler evening temperatures and a bit of rain. Typically, plants are less stressed and you’re not on the hook for quite as much watering. But, there’s even more to like about fall. Your plants have nine full months to develop an extensive root system before the heat of next summer kicks in. Even when plants start to drop their leaves, their roots keep growing, setting your plants up for more vigor in the spring. And, of course, fall is a great time to be outdoors digging in the dirt!

At this time of year, local garden centers are starting to worry about getting rid of their plants, so they aren’t stuck with them at the end of the season. Often, that means there are some pretty good deals to be had... pretty similar to the Plant Club’s "every day" prices! But, frequently their stock is considerably more limited than earlier in the year, and looks pretty picked-over and ragged from sitting in small pots in the hot summer sun. That’s where the Plant Club comes in… We’re here to help you get over 1000 types of plants – in the varieties, sizes, and quantities you need – fresh off a truck from great regional wholesale nurseries (without breaking the bank).

Sure, some of the benefits of fall planting involve a bit of delayed gratification, but there are plenty of plants to enjoy in your garden right now. Our garden coaches are adding these late-flowering perennials to their carts...


Anemone canadensis

Anemone

This beautiful, dainty plant is commonly called Windflower for the way her flowers tend to bob and dance in the breeze. Anemones come in a wide variety of sizes and bloom in a wide range of colors with contrasting centers (some varieties in spring; others in fall). Anemone’s blooms hover on thin stems over her neatly-mounded leaves, giving her the delicate air of a well-dressed aristocrat.

Anemone prefers partial shade and well-drained soil, but isn’t overly picky and is quite easy to grow. She spreads easily, so choose your plant’s home wisely and she’ll reward you with a happily-dancing carpet of gorgeous blooms.

Reasons to want this plant:
Deer and rabbit resistant
Thrive in partial shade
Make beautiful cut flowers
Attract pollinators

 
Aster

Aster

Asters are wonderful additions to a fall garden, with daisy-like flowers that bloom reliably in late-summer and early-fall. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes -- pick from white, pastel blues and pinks, and even purple and scarlet. Best of all, they are easy to grow and will be predictable in the way they bloom for you. Overall, Asters are a very agreeable plant and one that makes a lot of sense to bring to your garden party.

Reasons to want this plant:
Deer resistant
Attract pollinators due to their bright colors.
Disease resistant

 
Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

If August had a spokesplant, Black-Eyed Susan would be it. Hardy green mounds of foliage are crowned with domes of striking yellow rays surrounding contrasting black centers. Just looking at a warm golden sea of these flowers feels like sunbathing for your soul.

Rudbeckia is as hardy as she is pretty, and this plant can grow quite large in the right spot. She prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade, can survive all but the driest of droughts, and attracts pollinators like crazy with her highly-contrasted blooms.

Black-Eyed Susan does not like to get her toes wet and is prone to powdery mildew in areas with low air circulation, so drier conditions are better for this beauty.

Reasons to want this plant:
Attracts pollinators
Thrives in full sun to part shade
Drought-resistant

 
Ironweed

Ironweed

This statement plant is named for its tough stem and persistence to survive. She makes a great addition to a fall garden with her fantastic height. Intensely purple flowers, add a prominent focal point and also attract butterflies and bees. The best thing about Ironweed is its flexibility -- while it grows naturally in moist conditions (even where it sometimes floods), it can handle regular soil as well. Want the same great pollinator attraction and mass of flowers but not the height? Plant the shorter varieties for the same WOW!

Reasons to want this plant:
Deer and rabbit resistant
Attracts pollinators
Thrives in full sun

 
Sedum     

Sedum

This diversified group of plants has one thing in common: all sedums are succulents, meaning they store water in their leaves. This gives their colorful foliage a plump, shiny look that provides a unique contrast in the garden, in planters, or along stone walls and walkways. The genus can be loosely split into three groups: upright Border Sedums, low-growing Creeping, and Trailing Sedums.

There’s a moment in the garden when most plants have died back and things start to look a bit bleak, usually right around Halloween. This is Border Sedum’s finest hour. These Sedums begin blooming in August and certainly hold their own during the peak of any late-summer garden, but these plants can withstand very cold temps and look good doing it, which makes them an amazing addition on those dark November days. Border Sedum’s deep purple, emerald green, warm gold, and even hot pink foliage is truly stunning before, during, and after these plants bloom.

Low-growing Creeping and Trailing varieties of Sedums come in a huge array of shapes, sizes, and growing habits; some spread slowly, some are quite invasive, and some fit cozily into any little nook or crevice they can find and stay there quite happily. Most low-growing sedums do bloom, though some varieties have relatively muted blooms and are better known for their striking leaf shapes, colors, and designs. These Sedums are little gems scattered about the garden - rich jewel-toned gifts in surprising, geometric patterns.

Reasons to want this plant:
Late season color
Unique shapes provide high contrast
Huge variety
Drought-tolerant (they store water in their leaves!)
Low maintenance

Festuca glauca     

Grasses

Grasses are a great addition to a garden, especially as they are four-season elements. Consider using them instead of evergreens in places where you want a more interesting texture. There are many varieties of grasses: the arching forms provide a delicate, graceful element and the more upright grasses can provide a more bold statement.

One favorite small grass -- and truly an evergreen one -- is Blue Fescue. It has chalky blue blades, and does best in full sun. It looks great paired with roses or other blooming perennials. It grows to be about 2' by 1.5'. Best of all, this grass stays blue even in the winter.


Fall Annuals

Fall annuals bring lots of color to your garden and provide a nice complement to perennials and shrubs already in place. By changing annuals with the seasons, you can create a new look and feel in the garden and keep it looking fresh. People tend to think about the classic spring annuals like pansies in spring or geraniums and petunias in summer, which bring a wide range of colors to any garden. But lots of people forget that fall also has many options for colorful annuals -- and many can be meshed right into your existing planters or beds, when summer annuals wind down and may look a bit "tired."

Simply remove those summer annuals and in their place add some vibrant colors with these fall favorites, which come in sizes to fit every garden or container.


Chrysanthemums

Mums

Chrysanthemums (commonly just called "mums,") are a popular late bloomer, and they come in many fall shades of red, yellow, pink, burgundy, lavender, orange, white, and bicolor. There are now hundreds of varieties, sizes, and shapes of garden mums. Garden mums planted as fall annuals typically grow one to two feet tall and wide and fill in any garden with brilliant fall colors.

To extend the colorful show, purchase mums with lots of flower buds that have not yet opened. These plants are just coming into their prime display. Blooms can last for many weeks, depending on light and water conditions. Mums like consistent moisture in which the soil stays moist, but not waterlogged. They have shallow roots and may need to be watered a few times each week, especially in warmer weather. While mums will thrive in full sun, the heat and stress will shorten the blooms and they will fade a bit faster. With a bit of shade or indirect light the blooms will last longer. Pinch off the flowers as they begin to fade. New blossoms will continue to form and provide color until freezing weather arrives.

 
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

Ornamental cabbage and kale (also known as "flowering" cabbage and kale) are colorful additions to home gardens with their ruffled, multicolor leaves in large rosettes of white, pink, purple or red that tolerate cold weather quite well. Ornamental kale is the term used for types with deeply cut, curly, frilly, or ruffled leaves. Ornamental cabbage is the term used for types with broad, flat leaves that are edged in a contrasting color. Ornamental cabbages and kales are used primarily for their decorative qualities, or as a culinary garnish.

Plant these fall bloomers in late August and early September. They will last well into the cold weather, and a few frosts can even enhance their colorful pigmentations. This makes them great additions to outdoor flower beds and pots. Ornamental kale prefers moderately moist, rich soil in a sunny spot.

 
Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental peppers are a fun, colorful addition to garden beds and containers in the fall. These beauties come in vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, and purple in a variety of shapes, and sizes and are intended for decorative use. These peppers produce the fruit on the top of the plant where you can see the colors, which adds a bit of fun and interest to the bed. They prefer full sun in moist, well-drained soil.

 
Purple Fountain Grass

Ornamental Grasses

Grasses are a great way to add texture and movement to your garden bed. While most ornamental grasses are perennials, a great annual ornamental grass is Purple Fountain Grass. This can be grown all season long or easily added to garden beds or containers in the fall. The burgundy-colored foliage, fuzzy blooms, and purplish seed heads are a perfect complement to other fall annuals.

 

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 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!

November 2022 Plant Club Top 25

Plant November October
Achillea millefolium 'Balvinwite' NEW VINTAGE WHITE 1 NR
Achillea 'Moonshine' 2 4
Anemone x hybrida 'September Charm' 3 NR

NR: No Ranking


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 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 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!