Find flowers, herbs, vegetables, and trees at these local plants sales — along with craft vendors, food, music, and community.
by Hannah Ross
Local plant sales offer a joyful opportunity to absorb the wonders of spring, and to supplement our plant collections with new and interesting varieties. Just like shopping small for food or art, the plant sales around Raleigh are a unique expression of our region’s character, and a reflection of our ever-evolving understanding of our environment.
If you’re curious which native perennials will host butterflies or which heirloom vegetables hold up best to the heat, local flower farmers and arborists can be savvy sources of locally-specific advice. They also often offer uncommon, native, and heirloom varieties with great culinary and ecosystem value. Knowing that growers are also often brilliant home cooks, they’re who I ask for interesting, flavorful additions to my kitchen garden, like shishito peppers, lemongrass, husk cherry, loquat, and African blue basil.
But beyond being a place to shop for flowers or herbs, plant sales are fun! Enjoy the fresh air, the tender shades of green, the talented craft vendors, good food and music, and the sunbathed sense of community we long for each winter. Check out the following sales happening across the Triangle this spring.
Cedar Creek Spring Pottery and Glass Festival
Thoughtful, artful horticulturists John Martin and Jeff Bottoms — along with their teammate Josh Tsujimura — grow an inspired collection of botanical treasures at Falls Revival, a small nursery nestled along the Neuse River in North Raleigh. While plants from Falls Revival are sold year-round at Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, the plant spread will be plentiful during the gallery’s beloved Annual Spring Pottery and Glass Festival, now in its 53rd year. Plan a full day to enjoy this unique community event, as Cedar Creek Gallery has ample entertainment in store for the festival, from glass blowing and pottery demonstrations to food trucks and live music. Falls Revival will offer an array of perennials, annuals, and popular exotic tropicals, along with a few trees and shrubs. Plants will be sold in small starter sizes, easy for gardeners to establish.
April 1-3 and April 9-10 (plants sold by Falls Revival year-round, but with expanded variety and quantities throughout the 53rd Annual Spring Pottery and Glass Festival); 10am-6pm every day; Cedar Creek Gallery, 1150 Fleming Road, Creedmoor | cedarcreekgallery.com
Garner High School Spring Plant Sale
Garner Magnet High School’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) plant sale offers another opportunity to shop for plants this spring, while supporting the growth of students passionate about sustainable agriculture. Visit the school’s greenhouse to shop an artful selection of perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetable starts, houseplants, and succulents — all grown by GMHS students. For those who want to order early, the chapter’s website will offer an online presale.
April 7-9; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day; GMHS greenhouse: 2101 Spring Drive Garner, NC 27529 (second entrance, marked for buses); Plants may be shopped or orders picked up at the GMHS greenhouse: 2101 Spring Drive in Garner (use the second entrance, marked for buses) | garnerffa.com
Gardeners of Wake County Azalea Sale
The Gardeners of Wake County host the Triangle’s annual Azalea Sale, benefiting their scholarship fund for NC State horticulture students. For azalea lovers, this 41st annual sale is not to be missed. The sale features over 120 varieties of azalea, with sizes ranging from dwarf to 10 feet tall. Almost 2,000 plants will be available, all of which are locally grown. Find common, beloved shades of pink, red, white, and purple, in addition to less common yellow and orange varieties.
April 7-16 daily (nursery closed Sundays); 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Campbell Road Wholesale Nursery, 2804 Campbell Road, Raleigh | gardenersofwakecounty.com
Wakefield High School’s FFA Spring Plant Sale
Wakefield High School’s well-established agricultural education program consistently hosts a well-run, affordable, exceptionally diverse plant sale. All plants are grown, tended, and sold by students in horticulture classes and the FFA, who go above and beyond to learn about and steward the school’s extensive gardens and greenhouse. Proceeds go straight to the FFA for continued growth, learning, and leadership development. At Wakefield’s sale, stock up on healthy flowers, vegetables, herbs, houseplants, and perennials that will kick off your gardening year with gusto.
April 21-25; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every day; 2200 Wakefield Pines Drive; at the greenhouse visible from the tennis courts; facebook.com/wakefieldplantnation
Plant Delights’ Juniper Level Garden Days
Gardeners from around the world flock to Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery for their Open Garden Days. With its 28 acres filled to the brim with native, rare, and unusual plant specimens, JLBG offers rich creative inspiration as well as deep local knowledge of planting possibilities. In addition to selling online, Plant Delights Nursery can be shopped in person on JLBG’s open weekends, which occur just eight times a year (two per season).
April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – May 8, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-5 on Sundays; 9241 Sauls Road | jlbg.org
Raleigh Plant Club Sale
The semi-annual Raleigh Garden Club Plant Sale is a fantastic opportunity to stock up on a wide variety of plants. Find the sale at Highland United Methodist church— on the corner of Lake Boone Trail and Ridge Road in Raleigh— on Friday and Saturday, April 28-30, from 9am to 5pm. Along with a stunning selection of plants, the sale will host local vendors with a variety of garden products, as well as a generous spread of gardening books at bargain prices. A food truck will be onsite from 11-2 both days, so plan for a picnic lunch. Proceeds from the sale will benefit local charities.
April 28 – Saturday, April 30 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Highland United Methodist Church (on the corner of Lake Boone Trl and Ridge Rd); 1901 Ridge Rd, Raleigh; www.raleigh-garden-club.org/plant-sale
Wake Forest HerbFest
Wake Forest HerbFest — the longest-running herb festival in the United States — is an immersive celebration of herb plants and lore that attracts plant lovers annually. While culinary and medicinal herbs are the stars of this two-weekend-long show, vendors will also offer vegetable, annual flower, and perennial plants, as well as herbal crafts and products of all kinds. Make a day of visiting HerbFest, where you will find food trucks, seminars, live entertainment, and bountiful ways to enjoy historic Wake Forest’s charming downtown scene. This Festival benefits the Graham Johnson Cultural Arts Endowment.
April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – May 8, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; 525 South White Street, Wake Forest | facebook.com/Herbfest
JC Raulston Arboretum Plant Sale
As part of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum’s annual Raulston Blooms Festival, the public is given rare access to shop from unique plant varietals usually open to only to arboretum members at the JCRA Spring Plant Sale. The garden, a part of N.C. State University, is nationally acclaimed and collects and evaluates samples in order to determine the optimal plants for the piedmont of North Carolina. It’s a destination unto itself with its 10 acres of winding paths, courtyards, the Japanese Gardens and tons of native plants to learn about. Make a day of heading to the sale to enjoy the grounds and the festival – a delightful event for home gardeners and their children with its garden talks, impressive birdhouse competition, food tucks and kid’s activities. April 30, 10 a.m. – 4p.m.; 4415 Beryl Road | jura.ncsu.edu
Town of Cary’s Friends of the Page-Walker HerbFest
In the heart of historic downtown Cary, the annual HerbFest hosted by the Friends of the Page-Walker is a family-friendly opportunity to plant shop, discover locally made goods and crafts, learn about gardening, and discover techniques for cooking and healing with herbs. Located at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, HerbFest visitors should make sure to tour the Anne B Kratzer Educational Garden for unique, historical garden inspiration. In addition to herbs, vendors will also offer many varieties of vegetables and perennials (natives included) for sale.
Sunday May 1; 12p.m.-4p.m.; the grounds of the Page-Walker Arts & History Center; 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary | friendsofpagewalker.org
NC Botanical Garden’s Native Spring Plant Sale
Gardeners across our state flock to the North Carolina Botanical Garden seeking inspiration for weaving Southeastern native plants through their own spaces. NCBG sets an impressive example for layering these species throughout a landscape, and their Spring Native Plant Sale offers many of their tried-and-true varieties for sale to visitors. Plants for sale will include starts from NCBG’s own nursery, as well as from Cure Nursery, Field to Cottage Nursery, Growing Wild Nursery, and Mellow Marsh Farm. Parallel to the plant sale on Saturday, May 7 from 10:30-4, NCBG will be hosting an environmental conservation fair in Reeves Auditorium. Become a member of NCBG to enjoy a 10% discount on plants. Native plants are also for sale daily at NCBG on a more limited basis, and it’s worth a visit even if you can’t make the big sale.
Saturday, May 7; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; 100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill | ncbg.unc.edu