A Native Plant Sale shopper admires pots of prairie grasses

A Native Plant Sale shopper admires pots of prairie grasses (Photo: Kathy King)

Since 1990, the Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale in early May has provided local gardeners with a reliable source for native plants and expert guidance. All species offered at the sale are native to Wisconsin and, once established, require minimal care. No plants are dug from the wild. All are grown in commercial nurseries that follow best practices for preventing spread of disease and pests such as the jumping worm. The plant sale is open to all. Proceeds from the Native Plant Sale help FOA support the Arboretum’s work and mission. Friends of the Arboretum receive a discount on all plant purchases.

Jumping worm precautions: The Arboretum has followed best management practices for the jumping worm (Amynthas spp.) invasive species since it was discovered here in the fall of 2013. In coordination with Arboretum staff, the Native Plant Sale organizers have also taken preventive measures against spreading the invasive worms.

Native Plant Sale

2021 Native Plant Sale pickup and volunteer information

All plants for the Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale were sold in advance. There will be no on-site purchases. If you are picking up plants or volunteering, see the informational links below.

If you ordered plants, see the pickup instructions (PDF).

If you are a volunteer check-in person or escort, see the check in and escort training information (PDF).

If you are a volunteer plant loader, see the plant loader training information (PDF).

There virtual volunteer trainings on Thursday, May 6, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and on Friday, May 7, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If you have questions or want to sign up for a training, please email npscoordinator@foamadison.org.

2021 general sale information

In a typical year, the sale is held at the Arboretum on the day before Mother’s Day and offers more than 200 species of native plants suitable for a variety of soil and light conditions. FOA also holds an advance order sale offering trees, shrubs, garden mixes, and half and full flats of select species. To get an idea of Native Plant Sale offerings in a typical year, download the 2019 plant list. In addition, plant information sheets provide more information about particular plants.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not hold the walk-in tent sale in 2021, but we will have a virtual sale. All plants must be ordered by March 15, 2021 for curbside pickup in May. Wildflowers, grasses, ferns, and mixed garden kits will be picked up at the Arboretum on May 8. Trees and shrubs will be picked up at Winterland Nursery in early May.

How to order:

To get the latest news about the plant sale:

  • Subscribe to arbNews to receive the Arboretum’s email newsletter (once or twice a month)
  • Be a Friend of the Arboretum to receive the Friends’ quarterly print newsletter NewsLeaf, which includes information about the plant sale
  • Join the FOA Native Plant Sale Facebook group for news about the sale and to ask questions or share information about gardening with native plants

Benefits for Friends of the Arboretum

Friends of the Arboretum receive information about the Native Plant Sale, including preliminary plant lists, in the quarterly NewsLeaf newsletter. Learn more about how to be a Friend and contribute online.


Friends of the Arboretum gratefully acknowledges in-kind contributions from the following businesses in support of the 2021 Native Plant Sale:

  • Agrecol Native Nursery
  • Northern Sunset Perennials
  • Winterland Nursery, owned and operated by McKay Nursery Company