A Guide to the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Annual Plant Sale

With over 40,000 botanical beauties available, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Here's what you need to know before you head to the VanDusen Botanical Garden Plant Sale this weekend

With over 1000 attendees and 400 volunteers, the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Annual Plant Sale is the biggest of the year

Navigate the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Annual Plant Sale like a pro

When VanDusen Botanical Garden’s gates open at 10 am this Sunday, April 28, more than a thousand people will charge through them.

Why? This is the day of the Garden’s annual Plant Sale, which, like a rock concert, attracts a frenzied lineup and literally thousands more who wander in through day to check out the six-hour sale.

The enthusiasm of the public is only equalled by that of the 400 volunteers who do everything from growing new plants, re-potting donated plants, splitting perennials and caring for trees and shrubs for this major Garden fundraiser.

The result of this huge effort is a phenomenal mega-list of more than 40,000 botanical beauties that has gardeners across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland drooling.

Keeners can pick up an advance copy of the Plant Sale Catalogue for $2 at the Garden in order to plot their plant-sale strategy in advance, or they can simply download it.

The Hottest Plants at this Year’s VanDusen Garden Plant Sale

  • Arisaema sikokianum ‘Silver Feathers’: Tuberous hardy perennial from Japan, for part shade. Dark-green leaves marked with silver feather pattern. Stunning jack-in-the-pulpit flowers in early spring
  • Vaccinium ‘Pink Lemonade’: Bright-pink fruit mid- to-late season blueberry with berries that ripen pink with sweet flavour
  • Paeonia lactiflora var: Select forms of peach- and coral-flowering peonies
  • Daphne x houtteana: Mature foliage is a deep purple-black
  • Paeonia x Itoh ‘Bartzella’:  Stunning peony with huge, double, lemon-yellow flowers. Very sturdy.
  • Paeonia x Itoh ‘Gold Crown’: Compact grower with large, fully-double, golden-yellow flowers.
  • Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Hanakisoi’: Bright-pink Japanese cultivar. Large, double flowers.
  • Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Kinkaku’: Yellow & orange Japanese cultivar. Large, fully-double flowers.
  • Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Shima nishiki’:  Rare Japanese variety. Semi-double with white, pink, red or combination.


The Paeonia x Itoh, or Bartzella, is one of our must-have flower picks at this year’s VanDusen Gardens Annual Plant Sale (Image: Flickr / F.D. Richards)

The big sale is arranged in categories for easy plant hunting: Cannas, Fruit Trees and Berries, Fuchsias, Geraniums, Herbs and Vegetables, Miniature Roses, Mushrooms, Native Plants, Perennials (including Ferns/Grasses), Pot Luck, Rhododendrons, Roses, Shade and Sun, Trees and Shrubs, Tropicals, and Vines. 

For edible-garden enthusiasts like me, there is an impressive selection of herbs for culinary, medicinal, and showy purposes (including a “Soup Pot” combo container), along with mushroom kits, tons of tomatoes, salad gardens and more.

Fruit trees and berry bushes also abound, and I was pleased to see an impressive selection of Pacific Northwest Native Plants, many noted for their benefit to the birds and bees that we all love to have attract in our gardens.

VanDusen Plant Sale Tips

  • The doors open Sunday, April 28, at 10 am sharp and close at 4 pm.
  • While the huge lineup starts to form as early as 6 or 7 am, you can usually just walk straight in any time after 10:30.
  • Admission to VanDusen is free on Plant Sale Day.
  • Bring something in which to carry purchases – a wheelbarrow or wagon is recommended.
  • Dress for outdoor weather.
  • Wear durable footwear – the ground is uneven and can be muddy.
  • Plant Hold and Plant Pick-Up is available.
  • Visa, MasterCard, debit, cash and cheque accepted.
  • Master Gardeners and volunteers stand ready to help you – ask lots of questions!
  • Parking is at a premium, so be prepared to do some walking.