Chicago Resources

The most common question that we are asked is where you can buy bonsai in the Chicagoland area. There are no dedicated bonsai stores in Chicago, and the best bonsai-specific shopping is still found at MBS’s shows in Spring and Summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

A few general comments about bonsai in Chicagoland:

  • If you are a beginner, we do not recommend buying bonsai in the period from October 15 to April 15. It is very difficult to keep them alive during that period. This is due to watering problems, insect problems, fungus problems, and potential heat and light problems.
  • Bonsai are usually trees that are kept small through training, trimming, and confined root systems. Bonsai are not just potted plants.
  • Bonsai found at “big box stores” are typically glued into their pots with rocks on top. Please be aware of this, and if you choose to buy one take the rocks off immediately when you get home. The combination of glue and rocks is typically deadly to bonsai, and these trees will not live long.
  • Bonsai trees may be classified as tropical, semi-tropical, or temperate zone (hardy). They should be treated accordingly. All bonsai should live outdoors from April 15 through late September, though tropical plants must stay indoors until early June. Temperate zone bonsai trees should live outdoors throughout the year. If that is not possible, you might consider looking for tropical or semi-tropical trees.

The following list has been arranged alphabetically:

Bonsai starters – hardy and tropical - $15 to $3000
Seedling to 40 year old trees. Large supply of tools, wire and pots
By appointment only
Linda Camp or Jim Beck
Phone: 630-690-0404

Some trees, tools, soil. Quality of trees is weak. Price is high.
Excellent nursery stock
3132 Lake Av. Wilmette, IL
Phone: 847-920-8200

Trees from $40 to $350
Tools (ask a sales person, they’re not on display), Soil, Pots, nursery stock
5739 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL
Phone: 773-878-5915

Bonsai, Pots, soil, tools, nursery stock
Closed December through April
16W658 Frontage Rd. Hinsdale, IL
Phone: 630-655-8283

Excellent nursery stock
2550 E. Dempster. Des Plaines, IL
Phone: 847-824-7411

Bonsai from $40 to $600 Some pots – no tools
5620 S. Oak St. Hinsdale, IL 60521
Phone: 630-323-1085