Arbor Day Plant Sale frequently asked questions

A Plant Genius helping a shopper pick out plant for her landscape
A Plant Genius helping a shopper pick out plant for her landscape
February 5, 2019

Q. What is the Arbor Day Plant Sale?
A. One of the largest seasonal plant sales in the Chicago region, the Arbor Day Plant Sale at The Morton Arboretum offers thousands of carefully chosen plants. Expert Plant Geniuses are available throughout the sale to answer questions and suggest plants. The 2019 plant sale will take place Friday, April 26, through Sunday, April 28.

Q. I’m a member. When can I shop?
A. The sale is open exclusively to Arboretum members on Friday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Saturday, April 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. During these hours, shoppers will need tickets for specific entry times. Entry times are at half-hour intervals. The sale is open without a ticket to members and visitors with paid admission from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. 

Q. Why do I need a timed ticket to shop?
A. Timed tickets make the shopping experience more enjoyable for members. The number of tickets at each entry time is limited to keep the sale tent less crowded and the checkout process faster and more efficient.

Q. Who can buy tickets to shop?
A. Only current members can buy tickets, starting Monday, April 1. Each ticket will admit the purchaser and one other person, who need not be a member. However, a nonmember accompanying a member must pay admission to enter the Arboretum. 

Q. What is the cost of a ticket?
Each ticket costs $10.00, but the cost can be recouped by applying it to plant purchases. The ticket will be exchanged at the door for a $10.00 credit voucher, which can be redeemed for plants at the plant sale. The voucher cannot be used to purchase any other Arboretum goods or services. The $10.00 credit can be used only for plant purchases in a single transaction at the sale and is not refundable.

Q. How do I order member sale tickets?
A. Ticket sales will open Monday, April 1. Call 630-725-2066, visit the Information Desk in the Visitor Center, or order online. You must have a valid membership number to order. Your membership must be valid at the time you purchase tickets and on the date of the sale. Tickets are first come, first served. When the tickets available for a particular entry time are sold out, no more will be offered for that time. On the day of the sale, you must bring your ticket and your valid membership card.

Q. When can I start shopping?
A. At the time specified on your ticket. Shoppers will not be admitted early.

Q. What if I don’t get there at my designated time?
A. You will be admitted at or after the time specified on your ticket. However, if you arrive outside your scheduled entry time, you may be asked to wait until space in the tent opens.

Q. If I don’t get a ticket for an early time slot, will you run out of plants?
A. Plants will be restocked all through the sale, so every shopper will be able to choose from a rich and varied assortment of plants expertly selected by Arboretum staff.

Q. Can I bring a friend?
A. Each ticket admits the purchaser and one other person, who need not be a member. Only Arboretum members can purchase tickets, and only the ticket purchaser will receive a $10 voucher. Nonmembers must pay admission to enter the Arboretum. 

Q. If I bring a nonmember with me, can they purchase plants?
A. Member-only hours are just thatーshopping times specifically for members. To purchase plants, you must present a valid membership card. If a nonmember accompanies a member, all purchases must be made by the member.

Q. Is there a way I can shop before 9:30 a.m. Friday?
A. Arboretum members may shop early by purchasing $25 tickets to Early Access Shopping. This special member-only opportunity is limited to 325 members, who will have the sale tent to themselves from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 26. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 1. Call 630-725-2066, visit the Information Desk in the Visitor Center, or order online. Order early; these tickets will sell out quickly. A valid membership number is required. Each member may purchase two tickets. Each Early Access ticket will be exchanged at the door for a $10.00 credit voucher, which can be redeemed for purchases at the plant sale. There will be no refunds for late arrivals.

Q. Can I bring a friend to Early Access Shopping?
A. Early Access Shopping is open only to members. Each shopper must present an Early Access Shopping ticket and a valid membership card to enter the tent. 

Q. Do Early Access Shopping ticket holders have to check out before 9:30 a.m.?
A. Of course not! Members with these tickets can browse as long as they’d like.

Q. Will I miss out on plants if I can’t get a ticket to the Early Access Hour?
A. You will find a great selection of plants at 9:30 a.m and throughout the weekend. Plants will be restocked all three days of the sale, from Friday, April 26, through Sunday, April 28.

Q. Will I be able to park near the sale tent?
A. We can’t guarantee where you will park, because Arbor Day is one of our busiest weekends at the Arboretum. However, one of our friendly staff can drive you and your plants back to your car regardless of where you have parked.

Q. What if I have lost my membership card?
A. You can request a replacement card at the Member Services Desk in the Visitor Center or by calling the Membership Hotline at 630-719-2453. The fee to replace a membership card is $5.00. You also can use the digital membership card in our app for mobile phones.

Q. What if I can’t shop on Friday morning because of work?
A. The final entry time for members on Friday afternoon is 4:30 p.m. Members also can order tickets for entry times on Saturday, April 27, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, the sale will be open to Arboretum members as well as visitors who have paid Arboretum admission. Plants are restocked throughout the sale!

Q. I’m not a member. Can I shop on Friday or Saturday?
A. Only Arboretum members can purchase tickets to shop on Friday and Saturday. To join or renew so you can order tickets, call the Membership Hotline at 630-719-2453, visit the Member Services Desk in the Visitor Center, or join online.

Q. Where is the sale?
A. The sale takes place in a tent in the Parking Lot 33 on the Arboretum’s West Side. Signs will direct you to the parking area and the sale tent.

Q. If I come to shop on Saturday afternoon or Sunday, can I enter the sale for free?
A. Tickets are not required to shop on Saturday after 1:00 pm or Sunday, and both members and nonmembers are welcome. However, nonmembers must pay admission to enter the Arboretum.

Q. What kind of plants will be for sale?
A. The Arbor Day Plant Sale offers hundreds of species and varieties of trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, ferns, vegetables, and herbs. They are specially chosen by the Arboretum’s expert staff for Chicago-area gardens. Many are grown at the Arboretum. 

Q. There are so many plants to choose from! Can I get advice to help me choose the right plants?
A. Plant Geniuses are experts who will be happy to help you find the right plant. They will be available throughout the sale. Look for people in yellow T-shirts that say "Plant Genius."  

Q. Can I place a pre-order for plants on the website or by phone or mail?
A. No, you cannot shop in advance for the Arbor Day Plant Sale. You must shop in person.

Q. Can I get a list of the plants that will be available at the tent sale?
A. Sorry, but no advance list of the plants will be made available. When you arrive, you will find hundreds of kinds of plants to choose from. Expert Plant Geniuses will be on hand to assist you.

Q. How will I get my plants to my car?
A. Arboretum staff members and volunteers will help you transport your plants and load them into your car.

Q. What credit cards are accepted?
A. The Arboretum accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.

Q. What does admission to the Arboretum cost?
A. Admission to the Arboretum for nonmembers is $15.00 for adults ages 18–64, $13.00 for seniors ages 65 and over, and $10.00 for youths ages 2–17.

Q. I am a member of another organization with which The Morton Arboretum has a reciprocal admissions arrangement. Can I buy plants at the Arbor Day sale?
A. Free Arboretum admission is a benefit of these reciprocal arrangements, but member shopping hours are not. If you are not an Arboretum member, you must shop from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, when the sale is open to nonmembers.