What Plants Are Available When?

What Is The Best Time To Buy Plants?

The best time to buy plants depends on a few things: the kinds of plants you're looking for, when they're most available from the nurseries, the weather, and when you have time to put them into the ground.

Replanting is stressful for plants, so it tends to go better when the weather is not exceptionally hot and dry. The timing varies some between different types of plants, but September, October, May and June are probably the best time to plant small to medium-sized container-grown perennials. Those are also nice months for working in the garden!

Kind of Plants When They're Most Available...

Annuals are used to fill in gaps in the landscape early and late in the season and for fantastic color in the heat of the summer. Some annuals (like Pansies) are quite cold-tolerant and can be planted in April in Chicagoland. Others are tropical and tender, and shouldn't go in the ground until the weather is warmer.

The best time to get a great selection of annuals is not when you'd think... It's actually while the nurseries are still growing them in greenhouses in mid to late winter. At that time, the plant club can pre-order over a thousand varieties! By May, when everyone is thinking about annuals, there may be only a couple of hundred types available.

Perennials are longer-term investments that will make your yard look nice for years to come.

As a group, perennials are at peak availability to the club between May and October. During those months, we'll be making orders from many perennial nurseries a couple of times a month, and there might be nearly 2000 types of perennials available in sizes raning from big to small! You don't have to buy perennials while they're blooming (they'll get around to it soon enough), but since garden centers make more money selling blooming plants, availability from wholesale nurseries tends to be highest just before and during a plant's typical bloom period.

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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.

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