In gardening as in life, timing is everything. Warm, sunny late April days transform dead, yellow lawns into springy grass green and raise a siren song to legions of Omaha gardeners to emerge from their dens and start kicking ass, mowing lawns and planting gardens.
But Zone 5b can be a cruel and unpredictable mistress. She makes planting prematurely a fool’s errand. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assocation pinpoints the average last freeze dates in our town to April 1 – 15th. My mom and grandma used Mother’s Day as the all-clear, so that’s what I do.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get some plants now while the selection is best and let them chill in a sheltered place for a week or two.
As the spring days get warmer, avoid the sweaty crush of Midwestern gardeners flocking to the big box garden centers in the next few weeks. Here some of the best hidden gems where you can Spring Garden Plants in Omaha.
Benson Plant Rescue
- 5603 Northwest Radial Highway (entrance off alleyway)
- Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- (402) 933-3867
- Facebook page Benson Plant Rescue
Now located just a few miles east of its original space, Benson Plant Rescue is still serving big plant energy and continuing their mission to grow community, not just plants. A great option for the sustainability-minded bargain hunter, BPR revives once-unwanted plants and recycles overstock nursery goods back to consumers for very reasonable prices.
BPR has knowledgeable, enthusiastic volunteers and a decades-long history of giving back. Co-founded by the late Judy Navon and her husband Dr. David Hibler, the nonprofit has raised more than $75,000 for children’s books and educational resources for the Omaha Public Library, donated tons of reclaimed produce to a network of nonprofits, pantries, shelters and refugee families and provided a positive environment for court-appointed community service.
Hours are subject to change as the weather warms up, maybe call before you head over.
- 5518 Ogden St Omaha Nebraska
- May 6th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Hosted by The Bearded Botanist
If you like being in on exclusive Very Important Plant content, this one’s for you.
According to the Bearded Botanists’ Facebook event, “We are gathering up a ton of local planty and like minded people to buy, sell, trade or chat about plants. There will be tons of houseplants, outdoor plants and other misc plant related things along with some odds and ends stuff for healthy living. Come join us and grab a sweet deal from many local plant enthusiasts and get in on some pro tips about plant care at the same time. We welcome you to hang out, browse and chat with an incredible group of fun loving plant people. It’s a free event to stop by and check everything out.”
Absolutely nothing to add.
Big Muddy Urban Farm
- Big Muddy Plant Sale
- 3320 Burt St
- April 29 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Come for the plant sale, stay for the impressive array of educational offerings. Big Muddy offers an Aspiring Farmer’s Residency, Farm Tours and a Youth Garden. This collectively-run urban farm grows local and diverse fruits, vegetables and herbs and ensures the next generation how to keep doing it.
If you hit the plant sale, expect a mix of veggies, culinary herbs, Nebraska native prairie plants, medicinal herbs, annual and perennial flowers, and more. There are also a limited supply of fresh eggs for $5 a dozen.
All proceeds will go to support this year’s growing season and the Farm’s mission of making sustainable agriculture education accessible to all.
- Spring Plant Sale and Garden Walk
- 6915 Evans St
- May 13 & 14th, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Recently featured as an example of biodynamic farming in The Reader’s April issue, Benson Bounty has everything for gardeners who are interested in not just pretty flowers but a healthy garden ecosystem.
Plant sales feature seedlings & plant divisions, bee & human-friendly plants that have only been sprayed with water, native plants, culinary herbs & medicinal herbs.
The Big Garden
- Plant sale Thur-Sat, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. thru May 20
- 5602 Read St
- (402) 898-9862
The Big Garden is an urban farm and educational center whose mission is to grow healthy food, healthy kids, and healthy communities. Using community gardens, they teach children to grow, cook, and preserve their own food and shed light on the systemic nature of hunger in our communities.
20,000+ seedlings are grown in the Big Garden greenhouses using organic practices, healthy soil and ethically-sourced seeds from a variety of suppliers including Meadowlark Hearth Farm, Fedco Seeds, Prairie Moon Nursery, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and more.
Cold-hardy spring crops are available in the early weeks of the plant sale. As the weeks go on, look for warmer-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucurbits, and many flowers.
Indian Creek Nursery
- 303 N Saddle Creek Rd
- (402) 558-5900
- Mon – Fri 9 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. -5 p.m.
Dundee-ites know where to get the good stuff for their backyards right in their own backyard, just east of Dundee proper. You know those beautiful flower baskets that are hung up on the light posts in the Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood each spring? Indian Creek.
This grand dame of a garden center and nursery is a one-stop shop for an astonishing array of annual and perennial flowers, ornamental grasses, herbs and vegetables, as well as high quality gardening supplies such as mulch, potting and garden soil, animal repellents and decorative rocks and gravel. They also carry shrubs and trees and their experienced staff can guide beginners and master gardeners alike.
Go on and get your horticulture on.
Wenninghoff’s Farmer’s Market
- 6707 Wenninghoff Rd.
- (402) 571-2057
- Greenhouse open April – June
- Mon – Fri 9:00 am – 6:30 pm. Sat 9:00am – 5:00pm, Sun 10:00am – 5:00pm
Wenninghoff’s is a bit off the beaten path, but their specialty is “great, local plants” since 1956. They are a fourth generation farm independently owned and operated by the Wenninghoff family in Omaha, NE.
Wenninghoff Farm is committed to providing locally grown food and bedding plants to Omaha and the surrounding community. Peruse their flowers, annuals, perennials, vegetable plants, herbs, hanging baskets and potted containers. A huge plus if you’re thinking about your carbon footprint, Wenninghoff’s plants and flowers are grown locally so plants will start growing immediately when you plant them.
Cirian’s Farmers Drive-in Market
- 4911 Leavenworth St
- (402) 551-1879
- Open Mon- Sat 8 .m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cirian’s family-owned Farmers Drive-in Market is a bustling hive of activity from sun up to sundown in the spring. Generations of Omahans have been doing their spring plant shopping here, braving the limited parking (compared to the big box places.) Most of the inventory is outdoors, much covered by shade structures. Homemade jarred jams and salsa are refrigerated in the small area cash register area.
The reward is that Cirian’s plants are vigorous and beautiful, their staff is helpful and they have a novel collection of garden vegetable starters if you like to try new varieties. If you love pepper plants, they got you, bro. Delivery is also an option.
Drips Botanical Elements
- 1822 Vinton St
- Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. -6 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Closed Mondays
- email@example.com , dripsbotanical.com
Although it caters to more of a houseplant crowd, you should definitely check out Drips Botanical Elements, now settling into its fourth location (Council Bluffs, North Omaha, Saddle Creek and now Vinton St.)
Drips, which was at one time also a coffee shop, sells coffee beans, teas and herbs. The Drips crew has lasting love and deep knowledge of houseplants, plant accessories including handmade pottery, plant stands, terrariums, and soils.
No room for an outdoor garden? Get into the spring mood and bring home a gorgeous little piece of nature to your apartment (and learn to keep it alive) from Drips.
Omaha Plant Swap
- Public Plant Trading Group
- Omaha Plant Swap Facebook Page
Is it possible to be too good of a gardener? Probably not, but sometimes you grow too much of one thing or you’d just like to mix it up.
Trading plants, sharing tips and talking about your garden is a time-honored practice between next door neighbors, and it’s just plain fun. This online community expands that opportunity to the whole city.
There’s plenty o’swapping of yard plants, houseplants, seeds, clippings and seedlings in this group. In spring and fall many gardeners also dig up fast-spreading plants like hostas, lilies and perennial herbs that are still viable, but need to be thinned out.
If your garden or window sill could use some new life and you’d like to be part of this community, think about swapping before buying.
(All caps: NO SELLING.)
Bryan High School Greenhouse
Rock on, Future Farmers of Bryan High School! The Third Annual Bryan Urban Ag Plant Sale is open Friday and Saturday, May 5th and 6th and the following two weekends, ending Saturday May 20th. You will find “annuals, perennials (daylilies, peonies, iris), herbs, succulents, veggies….heirlooms, regular and “different”! Hanging baskets and combination planters will be available on May 12th & 13th.
According to their Facebook page, “Finishing touches to the 2023 Plant Sale Catalog will be available Thursday, May 4th….be on the lookout for the link” on the Omaha Bryan Urban Ag & FFA Facebook page.