Morris Arboretum Annual Plant Sale

PHILADELPHIA – Visit Morris Arboretum on Mother’s Day weekend, Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7, 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 2016 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 pickson great plants. On Saturday, the sale is open to the public.

Try something new in your containers and beds this year.  Grow annuals that are not only colorful, but also fragrant, or that will reliably attract hummingbirds and butterflies. How about Cuphea platycentra ‘David Verity’ –firecracker plant, or Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’ – Thompson’s flowering maple?  Both plants are irresistible to hummingbirds! And don’t forget the culinary herbs; basil, chives, mint, oregano, and thyme, which are all excellent pollinator plants.

In perennials, they’ll be an array of spring bloomers and a great selection of native plants that are both available in smaller sizes, so you can go home with more plants!  Some of the standout plants this year are: Mertensia virginica – Virginia bluebells that arrive as early as March and flower throughout April; and Polystichum acrostichoides – Christmas fern, which is an evergreen, native fern and a favorite among the horticulture staff for woodland gardens.

Several choice woody plants are being offered this year, with a range of different color and sun/shade particulars to satisfy every gardener’s requirements.  One of the featured plants is Asimina triloba – common pawpaw, a small understory tree or large shrub with dull purple flowers that appear in spring, and mature into edible, oblong yellowish-green fruits on female plants. Another plant to look for is Hydrangea macrophylla‘LA Dreamin’ – LA Dreamin’ bigleaf hydrangea. This is the first hydrangea that sports both pink and blue flowers on the same shrub, regardless of soil pH.

Looking for roses?  A selection of beautifully performing plants have been chosen that range from classic antique roses to the most disease-resistant, recently introduced hybrids.  Two of the many gorgeous plants available this year are Rosa ‘Queen Elizabeth’ – a rose that is a proven, persistent performer with lots of pink buds, and Rosa ‘Purple Pavement’ – a rose that has very fragrant, purplish-red blossoms.

Stock up on clematis, which are wonderful vines perfect for growing in containers, through trees, on a rose, or up a trellis. In addition to a few select clematis in larger containers, there will be many varieties of clematis in smaller 3.5-inch pots that are easy to carry.

For Morris Arboretum members, the 2016 free Dividend plant is very special.  The featured plant this year is Clematis viticella ‘Betty Corning’ – Betty Corning clematis, with delicate, pendulous, light-purple blossoms.

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, native Catawba Rhododendron, R. catawbiense.   This large-leaf rhododendron flowers in May and June, and several forms of the species will be offered including the white-flowered ‘Ken’s Find’.  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, for the first time, 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

Plant Experts from Natural Lands Trust, the region’s foremost conservation organization, will be on hand to offer advice and resources—including simple planting plans—on the benefits of choosing native plant species for your home landscape.  As one of the region’s largest owners of preserved lands, Natural Lands Trust has both a breadth and depth of experience in caring for a variety of landscapes and is continually exploring new and better approaches to problems like invasive plant control, reforestation, wildlife management, and habitat restoration. Learn more at

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 6 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 7 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


Make a list and check it twice to ensure you get everything you want at Morris Arboretum’s Plant Sale!  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 6 & 7.  Friday is member’s-only day and Saturday is open to the public.  With the many unusual and hard-to-find plants featured at the Sale, leave room on your list, and in your garden, for a few extra selections! For more information,

     Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

100 E. Northwestern Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19118

Phone: 215.247.5777 |

Stay Connected: