Morris Arboretum Annual Plant Sale

PHILADELPHIA – Visit Morris Arboretum on Mother’s Day weekend, Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, for their annual Plant Sale. The event will feature unusual and hard-to-find plants, many from local nurseries familiar with Philadelphia’s soil and climate, and that are well-suited to thrive in this area. The 2017 Plant Sale will be held at the Horticulture Center at Bloomfield Farm, across the street from the Arboretum’s public garden. Friday is Members-Only day, so now is a perfect time to become a Morris Arboretum member for first picks on great plants and to save 10% on your entire Plant Sale purchase. On Saturday, the sale is open to the public.

Add excitement to your summer plantings with something new!  Annuals take a new twist this year with the addition of tropical foliage. Look for patterned bromeliads, exotically striped cordylines, and anthuriums with their heart-shaped leaves and long-lasting blooms.  Look for ‘Stainless Steel’ (Pseuderanthemum) known as the “the little black dress of horticulture.”  And don’t forget the culinary herbs; basil, chives, mint, oregano, and thyme, which are all excellent pollinator plants.

At the perennials booth this year, several native plants will be featured that will help gardeners to help the pollinators.  Many of these important insects are in decline and one of the easiest things to do to support them is grow the plants that insects need.  Consider dense blazingstar – Liatris spicata, an elegant staple in the butterfly garden and golden alexanders – Zizia aurea, a host plant for the black swallowtail caterpillar.

At this year’s sale there will be trees and shrubs to fit any gardener’s taste. Whether you have sun or shade, dry or moist soils, there will surely be something to suit your needs. Among the selections are two staff picks, Dwarf Globose Japanese-cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’) and Joel bush cherry (Prunus japonica × Prunus jacquemontii  ‘Joel’).  Dwarf Globose Japanese-cedar is a neat, rounded evergreen that provides year round color to the garden with its vivid green needles.  Joel bush cherry is both a highly ornamental plant and a great addition to the edible landscape.

Looking for roses?  A selection of beautifully performing plants has been chosen that range from classic antique roses to the toughest, recently introduced hybrids.  Two of the many gorgeous plants available this year are ‘Frau Dagmar Hartopp’ with lovely light pink blossoms and delicate looking petals, and JULIA CHILD rose that boasts clusters of golden yellow double-blooms and a strong anise to licorice fragrance.

Stock up on clematis, which are wonderful vines perfect for growing in containers, through trees, on a rose, or up a trellis. There will be many varieties of clematis in the ever-popular 3.5-inch pots that are easy to carry in colors

ranging from white (Snow Queen) to various shades of purple (Bijou, Carnaby, Diamantina, and Filigree) to deep burgundy (Avant-Garde, Niobe).

For Morris Arboretum members, the 2017 free featured dividend plant is Blue Shadow fothergilla (Fothergilla × intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’).  This amazing fothergilla cultivar has blue leaves!  It also has fragrant, white bottlebrush flowers in spring and it produces glorious fall color of reds, oranges, and yellow.  Once again, the Arboretum offers some very unusual “surprise” dividends this year that will wow members who relish the rare, unusual, and challenging.  These plants are surplus material from Morris Arboretum propagation trials, research, and seed collecting trips.  No promises on species or numbers, but they go fast, so come early for best selection.

The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society returns to the Morris Arboretum Plant Sale this year with their featured plant, the early spring blooming ‘Cornell Pink’ Rhododendron mucronulatum.  And of course, there will be a large selection of other outstanding large-leaf (elepidotes) and small-leaf (lepidotes) rhododendrons offered, all hardy in the Delaware Valley, many of which are not available elsewhere.  Explore the American Rhododendron Society at

This year, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society will be represented at the Morris Arboretum Plant Sale, offering 80 different rock garden plants. Rock garden plants evoke the beauty of high mountain places, yet they can be quite practical for growing in small spaces or difficult areas. For more information about the Rock Garden Society, visit the chapter website at

On Friday, May 12, 3-5pm, Plant Sale attendees may purchase a copy of the newly released Philadelphia Trees:  A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley and have it signed by co-author and Morris Arboretum Executive Director, Paul W. Meyer.  This definitive guide covers 168 tree species and offers an identification key, along with photographs, illustrations and essays.

Whether it’s the old, the new, or the steadfast you’re looking for, Morris Arboretum’s Plant Sale is sure to have something to pique your interest.  So, mark your calendars to join your friends and other gardeners for a wonderful selection of plants, and the availability of expert advice from Morris Arboretum staff.

Friday, May 12 from 10am – 7pm, is Members-only day.  All Morris Arboretum members are invited and will receive a 10% discount on their entire Plant Sale purchase, as well as a free dividend plant. Anyone who joins before, or at the Plant Sale, is eligible to receive the member benefits.

Saturday, May 13 from 10am – 3pm is open to the public.

Morris Arboretum members receive a 10% discount on purchases.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. The Arboretum includes numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, historic water features, a swan pond, and the only remaining freestanding fernery in North America. The Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also the official arboretum of Pennsylvania. A permanent nationally award winning exhibit, Out on a Limb – a Tree Adventure exhibit adds to Morris Arboretum’s allure by transporting visitors 50 feet up into the treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing.  Open weekdays 10am-4pm and weekends 10am-5pm (Apr-Oct).  Open late on Wednesdays in June, July, and August until 8:00pm.  For more information, visit

Photo Credit:  Paul W. Meyer

Photo Caption:  Morris Arboretum’s Plant Sale offers a wide array of choice plants, including many unusual and hard-to-find items, so leave room in your wagon, and your garden, for a few extra selections! This annual event will be held at the Horticulture Center at Bloomfield Farm, across the street from the Arboretum’s public garden on Mother’s Day weekend, May 12 & 13.  Friday is member’s-only day and Saturday is open to the public.  For more information, visit