Looking over the site stats for my blog that FeedBurner provides I've noticed a number of visits to my blog are from people doing internet searches looking for retailers in Chicago that sell Cacti and Succulents.
Today someone was looking for a place to buy Senecio rowleyanus in Chicago and since most people are too shy to post in the comments and ask a question if they didn't find the answer I'll take a few moments here and divulge my cactus buying locations in Chicago.
If you're in Chicago and looking to buy Cacti and Succulents you're sort of out of luck. I say that because we don't have a place in the city that specializes or has a vast amount of them. But if you don't mind doing some leg work you can find them in a variety of stores.
I purchase a lot of Cacti and Succulents in Chicago from Home Depot. The trick to finding a cactus in a Chicago Home Depot that you'll be happy with is visiting every single one you come across. Not all of them have the exact same merchandise and some of them take better care of their plants than others. The Home Depot at 2803 S. Cicero Road is pretty good at keeping them healthy and alive but you have to get there right when the plants come in and before they're over watered or neglected. I was just there a couple of days ago and the cactus and succulents selection is starting to show signs of neglect, I'd wait for a new shipment to come in. But I have noticed that this Chicago area Home Depot has been carrying a lot of Pony Tail Palms that are pretty big and under six dollars. Last year I picked up a number of Euphorbia Obesas there.
The Home Depot at 4555 S. Western Blvd can be a sorry sight. They don't have a green house and their "indoor" plants aren't too happy with the darkened situation they have them in. The only reason I'll go to this Home Depot is because their hanging basket selection is WAY better than the one at 2803 S. Cicero Road. I picked up a large Ceropegia Woodii from them last year that I'm very happy with. They have a few succulent hanging plants that are harder to find in other stores, like Dischidias and 'Orchid Cacti."
The Home Depot at 7200 S. Cicero Road should be avoided by anyone who thinks plants are sentient beings. The green house there is a plant death camp, and I'm not exaggerating when I call it a death camp. It's almost always empty and devoid of plants and the unfortunate souls that happen to land in their green house always look half dead no matter what season I've been there. There's more plant debris on the shelves and floor than there are live plants and I swear one day I saw a hunchbacked scullery maid giving the plants water from a rusty pale, or was she was feeding them gruel? Stay away from this place.
The regular price for cacti in Home Depot start at $1.99 and go up to about $20.00 What's really good about Home Depot right now is that they're carrying "The Cacti Collection" from Altman's Plants.
I also buy plants from Wal-Mart-I know, I know shame on me. But I can't resists buying cacti and succulents for .99. They may be a horrible company but they have good prices on plants. I've found my Senecio rowleyanus at the Wal-Mart at 1300 Des Plaines Avenue along with my first Adenium Obesum and Burro's Tail. Their selection is pretty good when they get a fresh batch of plants. The WM at 7050 S Cicero (right next to the HD death camp I mentioned above) doesn't have as large a selection as the one at on Des Plaines Avenue but I've found one or two things there that I've liked.
Whenever I see cacti or succulents at Walgreens I'm always a little bit surprised but I've bought them from there too.
Gethsemane Garden Center on 5739 N. Clark Street is one of my favorite places to go to balance out the bad garden karma from shopping at big box stores. I think there are other independant garden center in the city but Gethsemane is right on Clark Street and the Clark Street bus leaves you at their doorstep. Their green house is awesome and they do special orders too.
Jamaican Garden in Morton Grove at 8509 Frontage Road is where I bought my first Ceropegia Woodii and pot of Lithops. Their retail greenhouse has a lot of great tropicals and the Cacti and Succulents there are pretty diverse. The prices aren't too expensive either the only downside is having to take a car up there.
There isn't a place I won't shop in to find Cacti and succulents, you can see some of my plants at this link. I'll post about more places on my Garden Rate and Review blog as I have more time and think of more places.