Friends of the Arboretum Annual Plant Giveaway

  • Saturday, October 7, 2023 – 9:00 am9:15 am

Ready, set, go!

Get ready for one of the most exciting annual events in public horticulture! Each fall, we offer thousands of choice and rare plants to our members, and we give them away freely. Get your wagons and carts and head over to join the fun; we'd love to see you there! See the plant list for the 2023 plant giveaway.

Happy people with free plants at the JC Raulston Arboretum

Please note that since this is a members-only event, we do ask that you bring your membership card for smoother check-in. If you can't find it, no worries! We can check you in the morning of the event using our membership roster. Individual members are entitled to one admission per membership. Family/Dual level members and above are entitled to two admissions per membership. Benefactor and Philanthropist level members can bring even more! Check in begins at 7:30 am, but please arrive before 8:45 am to allow enough time to complete the check-in process.

If your membership has lapsed or you would like to become a member for the first time, we will also be selling memberships starting at 7:30 am. New members who sign up that morning are eligible for the plant giveaway.

The giveaway begins at 9:00 am sharp. Please do not be late! In previous years, all plants have been given away in a matter of minutes.

Become a Member

Help Support the Annual Plant Giveaway

While this event is free for members to attend, we hope you will consider making a donation the day of the event to help support our giveaway. Volunteers and staff will be standing by with donation containers.

Previous FOA Annual Plant Giveaway Videos

Curious about how the giveaway works? Videos of the 2010 and 2011 giveaways are available on YouTube. The videos play ten times normal speed, though, so don't worry about having to run fast during the event!

Frequently Asked Questions about the JCRA Annual Plant Giveaway

What plants are being given away?

We're giving away thousands of plants this year. The plant list includes the names of the plants available at the numbered stakes. The plants available down the middle of the giveaway blocks are surprises.

Who can attend this event?

This event is for JC Raulston Arboretum members only; however, we will be happy to assist nonmembers in purchasing a membership before the giveaway. Nonmembers, including children, will not be allowed in the distribution area.

Who can participate in the event?

The number of people allowed in the distribution area per membership is determined by the membership level:

Individual members = 1 admission per membership.
Family/Dual, Collector, Patron, and Founder members = 2 admissions.
Benefactor level members = 3 admissions.
Philanthropist members = 4 admissions.

May I bring my children or a guest?

Anyone, including children, not covered by a membership will be required to stay outside of the giveaway area. The giveaway area is large and anyone left outside of it will not be in view of the others in their party. For this reason, we ask that you please do not bring children who are not members. Care facilities will not be provided.

How does it work? Is it a free-for-all?

Please be aware that procedures have been put into place to slow the event and ensure that more members get more of the plants they want.

What time are the plants being given away?

9:00 am, sharp. All plants are given away in a matter of minutes; do not be late.

When does check-in begin?

Check-in begins at 7:30 am. Please arrive early enough to check-in before the giveaway goes live, preferably before 8:45 am.

Will I need something to carry my plants in?

Yes, we recommend that you bring your own wheelbarrow, cart, wagon, etc. Also label or identify your "plant carrier" so it's not confused with others that look alike or similar. Bring something to line your trunk, too.

I'm coming from out of town. Is it worth the drive?

We think so! We usually have attendees from all across the state and as far away as South Carolina, Virginia and even Georgia.

Can I see the plants ahead of time?

The actual plants being given away cannot be seen ahead of time; however, you can look at the plants they were propagated from using the Arboretum's plant database. You can even use the database to determine the location of the plants in the Arboretum and then come out and see those for yourself! Links to the "Our Plants" database are included in the plant list. Click on the green leaf to access the plant's record.

Is there a rain date?

No, we hold this event rain or shine.

Is it a free event?

Yes, and while this event is free for members to attend, we hope you will consider making a donation the day of the event to help support our giveaway.

Curious about how the distribution works?

Video of the 2010 giveaway and some others are available on YouTube. The videos play ten times normal speed, though, so don't worry about having to run fast during the event!

Does the JCRA ever sell plants?

Yes, we hold an annual spring plant sale during Raulston Blooms and a Preorder Plant sale in the fall. Additionally, the JCRA offers plants for sale at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center on a daily basis.

Free for Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum members; nonmembers are invited to join our membership program.
Advance registration is not required. However, please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to this event to allow enough time to check in.
JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 515-3132 or email for more information about this event. To join our membership program, please call Kathryn Wall at (919) 513-7004.