Where do YOU shop for succulents?
Where do YOU shop for succulents? See fellow succulent lovers’ favorite sources—both mail-order and walk-in—below, and add yours in a comment too!
What if the succulents you want aren’t available near you?
It’s a common dilemma: Those succulent nurseries you want to buy from that are beyond driving distance don’t offer shipping. Reason being the challenges of packaging and transporting live plants. Good news: Mail-order succulent suppliers now offer a broader selection than ever. It’s become big business, and many online vendors don’t even want walk-in customers.
Because I’m in Southern CA—near more succulent nurseries and growers than anywhere else in the world—I seldom obtain succulents by mail. (A notable exception is Mountain Crest Gardens, who sent me assorted sempervivums to trial in my garden. I can attest that their plants and packaging are impressive.) Anyway, my lack of experience with online nurseries is why I need your help. But first, if you’re in southern CA, you need to know about what I call…
“The Altman Empire”
Several years ago in a South Carolina garden, I saw a nice crested lady fingers cactus (Mammillaria elongata cristata) from the local Home Depot. Seems I had crossed a continent to see a plant that had originated a few miles from my home! It came from Altman Plants, the largest grower of succulents in the US, which supplies Lowe’s and Home Depot garden centers.
Altman Plants is strictly wholesale but sells retail at Oasis Water Efficient Gardens in Escondido, CA; online at ShopAltmanPlants.com; and at the Nursery Outlet Farm Stand at 906 Buena Creek Rd., Vista, CA—a resource that may be unique.
Consider: You’ve shopped for clothes and other wares at outlet stores—why not succulents? At Altman’s Nursery Outlet Farm Stand you’ll find perfectly good “seconds” (overgrown or slightly damaged plants) at bargain prices. See more in a video I made this month with manager Lecia Smith: Bargain Succulents at San Diego’s Nursery Outlet Farm Stand (3:01).
So, where do YOU shop for succulents?
Help me and our fellow succulent aficionados by sharing your favorite sources! Simply leave a comment below, telling us:
(1) Your city or region
(2) What you’ve purchased
(3) What sources you recommend, and why (mail-order, walk-in or both)
(4) Anything else on this topic that might be helpful.
And if you’re a supplier, let us know what you specialize in and whether you offer shipping.
Btw, my San Diego Succulent Nurseries, Public Gardens and Destinations page now includes Los Angeles and Orange County. It’s challenging to keep the list current, so if you see outdated or missing info, I’d be grateful to know. Thanks!
Also on this site:
Buy & Shop for Succulents Online Here are the growers I recommended and why. [Read more]
- For outstanding variety, quality, service, pricing and shipping: Mountain Crest Gardens.
- For dry-climate, outdoor, and collectible succulents: Altman Plants.
- For “wierdos” and “rarities” not found elsewhere: Leaf & Clay (photos below), Rare Succulents, and Grigsby’s.
- For party favors, bouquets, weddings and projects with small succulents: The Succulent Source.
- For succulents acclimated to the Bay Area and beyond: Succulent Gardens Nursery.
I shop on Instagram @succulentsbyvee and @cactifarmer. These are great accounts and I love supporting small businesses. I started buying from Vee (@succulentsbyvee) and Virginia (@cactifarmer) a few years ago and they have helped me grow my collection when I was first starting as a collector. They also inspired the format of my own business (@shweetyssuccs).
While there are many great plants they offer, they are limited to what is available in California. There is some overlap but by being in Houston I (@shweetyssuccs) have access to more water loving succulents- tropical plants that can take humidity and have similar growing conditions to Southern Asia and South Africa.
I enjoy Echeveria but I, and many of my followers, have been frustrated by their delicate nature. I try to provide plants that are tough, unusual, not beautiful at first but upon further inspection show a deeper level of beauty, and most importantly won’t rot if you turn your back for a second! My favorite plants to share are rare Hoya varieties, epiphytes, Stapelia, euphorbia, cactus, sansevieria, aloe, Texas natives, and haworthia.
Thank you! I always look forward to reading your informative and well researched/thought out content!
Mariscal Cactus and Succulents, Fallbrook has great variety and good prices. Also world nursery, Fallbrook has very unique plants of all kinds.
Hi Carol Ann — I went to Mariscal’s website to add the link and noticed that they also sell mail order. I haven’t been there for awhile, I should go back. Did you mean The Good Earth Nursery? I’m not finding “World Nursery” (ha).
Hi Debra, I meant World Landscaping Inc. lol.
I’m in the San Francisco Bay area, the Tri Valley.
The best selection and prices are always at the local annual garden club sale. Next a local farmer’s market offers great prices. Once a year, I may spluge and go to the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Poots Cactus or Succulent Gardens. I also go to the big box stores.
I shop at The Secret Garden , 8450 W Stockton Blvd. Elk Grove, CA 95758. They have wide selection of succulents, and classes on different subjects.
I live in South Orange County, CA. My favorite nursery for succulents is Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano. They have a large assortment and are reasonably priced. They are also my go-to nursery for annuals, perennials, California Natives, (all plants, actually) as well as pots and garden gifts. Better yet, as an Orange County Master Gardener I get 20% off which is better than the 10% given to Master Gardeners and Garden Club Members given by most nurseries.
I have also had good luck with mail order from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials although, I have not ordered succulents from them.
Hi Beverly — I love Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano! That’s my go-to place when driving home from LA and I need a place to wait out the traffic.
Usually, Home Depot, Lowes, and Evergreen Nursery in San Leandro. I’ve grown bored with the selections at the big retailers. I usually drop $100-$200 at the San Jose Succulent Show in the Spring and Fall. I’ve been timid about online buying. I’m running out of room so my taste is getting tailored to plants not usual to stores in the bay area.
My favorite place to shop for succulents is Succulent Gardens in Castroville, CA (near Monterey.) They have an incredible number of plants in unusual containers. Each time I go there, I get new ideas for succulents in containers. Their Succulent Extravaganza at the end of September, sometimes on my birthday, is a great event filled with beautiful succulents, great classes and workshops.
I have also had great success attending Cactus and Succulent Society (CSS) Shows and Sales. The Fresno CSS has vendors from San Fran, Ripon and local Fresno growers. One grower of Cactus is Elton Roberts in Ripon, CA. I fell in love with a Sulcorebutia krugerii while attending the Cental Coast CA CSS in San Luis Obispo. That was the first in my collection of 13 of Rebutia and Sulcorebutia I have purchased from Elton. The flowers on these tiny cactus are colorful and long lasting. I would certainly recommend these for your garden.
Hi Roz — So nice to hear from you! I added links to your comment and had hoped to track down a website or email address for Elton Roberts…providing he sells and/or ships plants. Do you happen to know? Btw, I attended a lecture on those two cacti genera at the San Francisco CSS and have been intrigued ever since!
For Elton, try email@example.com. He’s at 23131 S Murphy Rd, in Ripon.
I live in Prescott, Arizona. Seems like the local Home Depot and Lowe’s rarely have cold hardy succulents. I have shopped at Mountain Crest for two years and have never been disappointed. I especially like their “plugs” (small starts) that have sufficient root system to thrive. I tried Annie’s and the product was not healthy.
There is a good nursery in Phoenix that I wish would do mail order. They have a great selection will send you the name when I can find it.
I’ve also ordered from High Country and was not impressed.
I have two or your books and they are a great resource. So much to learn and you hints really have helped me. Thanks so much.
Hi Carolyn — Thank you for the kind accolade! And for the referrals. Good to know.
I live in Paradise Valley, AZ. Are you thinking of Dig It Gardens? There is another well known succulent and cactus nursery, appears to be more to the trade but very friendly to retail buyers, and great prices: Phoenix Desert Nursery. Not certain about mail order, especially this time of year. If you make a trip in the Fall (Nov, haha), you might do a tour of all the succulent nurseries, before any frost.
I live in Claremont, California (East side of LA County). I often get my succulents for free from friends or posts on OfferUp or facebook Marketplace. But when I order online, I order from Leaf and Clay. All of the plants I’ve ordered from them (a few dozen) have arrived in beautiful condition and I love the unusual varieties, or “weirdos” as they call them, that you don’t usually see in nurseries. They also have recently expanded their selection of cool pots, although I haven’t purchased any yet.
Hi Seth — What a good tip about Facebook Marketplace! I went there and saw lots of succulents at amazing prices. (I didn’t insert the link though, because it automatically went to my zip code).
I live in Southern Nevada 45 miles from Las Vegas, NV.
I have had excellent results with Mountain Crest Gardens in Ft Jones, CA, Huntington Gardens yearly International Succulent Introductions, and Miles’ To Go in Cortaro, AZ.
I shop Cactus Joe’s, Las Vegas, NV.
When traveling I never miss a stop at Bolles Nursery Succulent Greenhouse, Bakersfield, CA,
Garden Gallery, Morro Bay, CA and
Ron’s Nursery in Grover Beach CA.
Hi Jane — This is so helpful, thanks. I’ve added links so people can go to the websites. Glad you mentioned ISI!
The first time I started collecting succulents I ordered them from mail @Mountain Crest. When I go to San Francisco Bay Area they have lots of nurseries for Succulents. And last week, I got my new succulents @Armstrong Garden in Los Angeles when I went to see my daughter, Frances. In San Jose and Milpitas, not too much of the nursery so I go to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart. I love to get succulents @San Diego area they have lots of selection and amazing succulents 😍
Hi Arsenia dear — Sounds like wherever you go, you manage to find succulents! Thanks for sharing.
I live in Massachusetts, half hour from Boston. Most of my succulents were purchased online. I’ve purchased from 3 different suppliers, best one is Mountain Crest Gardens, nicely packaged and with label to help beginners like me. I also purchased pumice online, I watched one of Debra’s videos and she highly recommended pumice for good drainage. Given my location, most of my plants have to be brought indoors during winter, so good soil mix definitely helped my succulents survived the past winter indoors.
Hi ChunLing — I’m so glad my suggestions were helpful! Thanks for commenting.
I shop at The Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano the most. It’s a beautiful nursery with tons of cactus and succulent selections. They also have a large pottery area. Especially the talavera 🤗
I get on “kicks” for some thing different. This month its Euphorbias. I do well at the Lowes near me (Altmans) as they have new larger size selections. I also go to Lowes discounted racks (usually hidden in the back) and some times pick up good stuff for a $1.00. But my heart goes to ebay. I have a list of sellers I like. I can put in searches for certain items and when one or more becomes available it pops up in my email feed. I also go the the Cactus and Succulent shows and spend too much money. I’m totally addicted
I live in Manteca which is in the Central Valley of California. HOT summers. We are more Mediterranean and winters get milder but summers are still hot. I order from SMG Succulents in Oregon. They are only online (smgsucculents.com). They ship bare root. I have ordered several plants with good experience with all plants. I also shop online at Mountain Crest Succulents. What I love with SMG and Mountain Crest is they both carry the harder to find plants. I have also purchased succulents from Annie’s Annuals . They don’t carry too many but they have some nice ones. I have always received good plants from Annie’s. I always check out Home Depot.
I live in Napa, my focus is Echeveria, and as I’m retired, I’m happy to go on a search. My faves:
– Mid City Nursery, American Canyon. For a broad spectrum nursery, they do a nice job with succulents, and recently started bringing product in from Succulent Gardens in Castroville (which has a Star of its own).
– Cottage Gardens, Petaluma. A beautifully curated facility. Succulents are beautiful, with new stuff every time I visit.
– Ruth Bancroft Gardens, Walnut Creek. A completely amazing Succulent Kingdom, with very knowledgable staff. Wide assortment on sale, lots of unusual items. And the grounds alone are worth the visit.
– Flora Grubb Gardens, San Francisco. While they don’t usually have anything unusual, they always have a great selection of succulent standard-bearers. Nice place in an unusual location.
There are lots of other places in NorCal, and you never know what you’ll find. I got an Echeveria gibbiflora carunculata at a nursery up in Sebastopol….who woulda thunk.
Finally, as others have noted, for mail order, Mountain Crest rocks!
Standby as I explore more. Yes, I have a spreadsheet of NorCal nursery locations….
Hi John — You make me want to go back to the Bay Area! I’ve been to all of those except for Mid City. Your comments are consistent with what I remember. Many thanks!
And how could I overlook Cactus Jungle? All succulents at both locations (Berkeley and San Anselmo). From run-of-the-mill items to pricier unusuals, CJ has a great selection, nicely managed by a cool staff.
I just opened a licensed Nursery in American Canyon. I only sell succulents, cactus, and agave. I have thousands of plants and tons of variety. Please keep me in mind for your next succulents purchase. My address is 4225 Broadway St. in American Canyon, right across from Walmart. My hours as of right now are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10-2 and Saturday 10-4.
Congratulations, Trena, on your new succulent specialty store! May you enjoy great success. From Wikipedia: American Canyon (previously known as Napa Junction) is a city located in southern Napa County, California, 35 miles northeast of San Francisco in the San Francisco Bay Area.
San Diego – North County Coastal: When in Encinitas, I stop by Barrels and Branches. Just a lovely spot with a nice selection of succulents. And of course Solana Succulents – where it all started. Armstrong Gardens and the local Home Depot for landscape type succulents. Mary’s Tack and Feed for pumice (Dry Stall)
I live in Sebastopol, CA and am lucky enough to live down the road from Lone Pine Gardens, specializing in succulents, cactus and bonsai. The owners are a British couple and the nursery’s been there 44 years. As we’re in USDA Zone 9, they have a selection of frost-hardy succulents as well as more tender ones. I’ve gotten lots from them, although I couldn’t tell you what!
Hi Deb — I’ve been to Lone Pine Gardens and I agree, it’s wonderful! Sebastopol is delightful, too.
I live in Rio Vista in the Sacramento Delta region.
My first online purchase was from Mountain Crest Gardens, May 2018. Since then, I’ve placed eight orders from MCG for a total of 32 succulents. Each order arrived within two days, perfectly packed, great condition. I am pleased with everything. They also provide great customer service!
I’ve placed two orders with Altman because they carried some plants not available at MCG. They also offered free shipping over the holidays. Their plants arrived covered in dirt. The boxes were a mess. I did contact them and they responded. It took some doing but I did clean them up and they are thriving, especially Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’.
In my entry, I now have 50 succulents in pots and a succulent ‘patch’ in the backyard. I no longer have room for new plants. The plants I purchased are growing like crazy. I give cuttings to anyone who will take them.
I am surprised by your comment, “Altman Plants, the largest grower of succulents in the US, supplies Lowe’s and Home Depot garden centers.” I find it difficult to believe Altman supplies HD as HD succulents are often sad specimens. I do not buy succulents at Bay Area HD garden centers as they look nothing like your photo. I do not shop at Lowe’s.
Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, CA has beautiful succulents–pricey but very lovely. If you covet a Queen Victoria agave, Orchard Nursery is the place to go. An investment to be sure but worth it!
For succulents in Melbourne, Australia (yes, you read Australia!) Collector’s Corner in the south-east is an institution and is excellent and in the south-west: Lyle Filippe’s Roraima Nursery is a gem. And it has a magical display garden! I would love to hear of any more from Melburnians!
Hi Melanie — I certainly welcome more comments from Aussies! I went online to Roraima Nursery to get the link and wow, now I really want to go there. Those display gardens! So colorful and such cool succulents. Hm. Maybe I should do a travel post.
Yes Debra come to Victoria! Lots of gardens to see. The volcano in the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is entirely planted with succulents. Its fabulous. As Ruth says Cactus Country in Strathmerton is amazing. Not sure if Attila Kapitany still has his amazing garden. The cactus society he belongs to has a once-a-year sale. Could rustle up an itinerary for you I’m sure.!
Attila visited me on one of his many visits to Southern CA. He’s braver than I about crossing the Pacific—the flight sounds daunting. But I’d SO love to go!
I’m in Melbourne too and another great place I’ve bought succulents from is the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens plant sales, they hold one in autumn and one in spring (19 & 20 oct this year) and I always come away with a good box of succulents that are quite cheap and well grown (large). Also Attila Kapitany sells cuttings of hundreds of succulents at garden fairs, though I always forget what I’ve bought when I get home – definitely should write down the names….
Melbourne, Australia and vicinity: Don’t forget Pots Galore, just up the road from Collector’s Corner. They have some great succulents too.
Diggers Club sometimes have some at their nursery at Heronswood.
The Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia have a display and sale at the end of October every year.
Also, if you want a drive, visit Cactus Country in Strathmerton.
Hi Debra- I live in Strafford, Missouri which is a small town near Springfield, MO. I have a small succulent business, Groves Gardens, and I buy most of my plants from Altman’s wholesale site. I have also bought many plants from Mountain Crest. Both have beautiful, healthy plants. Thank you for all your valuable information. It has been quite a challenge to grow succulents in humid Missouri, but I’m getting better!
I hope for the best….Wal-Mart. As a general rule Home Depot and Lowe’s do not carry much. I special ordered once through Mountain Crest Gardens and they died…nearly everything bought online died. The only succulent I truly want is a sizeable, Echeveria Imbricata Blue Rose. I’ve had little luck.
I live in a small town on the western slope of Colorado….next biggest town is 100 miles away in 2 directions….and not much the last two. Still trying though. Hope this helps, love your YouTube and blog spot. I really wish there was a reliable place that would send you what is pictured and looked as healthy when it arrived.
I know travel for succulents is hard and I expect that but If anyone knows a place that ship and has succulents that are 6 inches or bigger, I’d love to know. Sorry Mountain Crest is not for me.
Happy day to you.
In The Country Garden & Gifts offers a HUGE assortment of succulents in Eastern Iowa. All the standard succulent necessities, plus rare and unusual, like Mangave and Adenium. We do ship some succulents, but many more are available at the nursery.
Hi! I live in Las Vegas so when I can, I make a trip to Southern California! My 3 favorite nurseries right now are Rancho Soledad Nursery, Waterwise Botanicals, and Gardens by the Sea Nursery!
Online I’m obsessed with ordering off of Etsy shops! For unique plants I love Succulent Cabin! RJ Cactus is also a wonderful shop on Etsy! There are many to choose from! I’ve also heard Leaf & Clay is a great online shop!
I live in central San Diego, and though the choices are not as many as at nurseries, I buy some succulents at Koby’s Swap Meet, they are very inexpensive for the small plants, &1 and $2 dollar sizes, which you normally pay $4 to $5 at Lowes or Home Depot or Armstrongs. You may find some other larger plants – also at a great discount, ie i bought a blue cactus for $18, which i’ve seen in nurseries for $35. Every now and then there are some uncommon succulents to buy, (meaning they are not the ones you normally see at Lowes/HD/Armstongs).
Otherwise I travel a bit to Waterwise or Oasis Gardens for my Special plants :)))) But now I’ll try Altmans, and Nursery Outlet, can’t wait to visit these places!!!
Hi Debra. Garden’s by the Sea, 1550 N. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas can be put back on your list! Apparently Mike decided to ‘unretire’. What great news. It’s a long drive from Westchester but so worth it. Lovely nursery.
Thanks for clearing up the confusion about Gardens by the Sea, Barbara! That is indeed good news.
Hi Debra, I met you briefly at the San Diego cactus and succulent show in Balboa Park in June. I am from Oceanside, CA. Here are some of my favorite places to get succulents. If you go on Craigslist San Diego and look under “for sale” “farm+garden” you will find at least two advertisers for succulents and/or pots. One is in Valley Center and one is in Sabre Springs and both are highly recommended. They have interesting and unique items at great prices. It’s wonderful to support local entrepreneurs.
My two favorite Instagram sellers are @littlesucculentshop_ (who is also from North San Diego) and @thesouthernwindow from Ohio. Great Instagram posts, unusual plants and delightful customer service.
I have recently lost my favorite succulent haunt in Valley Center, a nursery, because every business on that plot of land was evicted in the name of land development. I am going to lose another within the next few months in Carlsbad for the same reason. Fortunately I still have another local nursery, Buena Creek Gardens, in Vista, which has lovely plants and customer service.
I certainly do stop by Waterwise Botanicals and Oasis when I am in the neighborhood. They are great for big projects, especially anything that requires enormous, luxuriant echeverias. Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas is also spectacular and has friendly, helpful and abundant staff. El Plantio in Escondido is great for indigenous plants such as dudleyas. Right down the road is Four Queens Nursery which boasts huge pots of healthy succulents and the most beautiful ‘pigs ears’ I have ever seen.
This message wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society. They recently had their show and plant sale. Some people wait all year for this event and it’s easy to see why. They sell well cared for donated plants at rock-bottom prices and the proceeds go back to the non-profit society. This year they had glorious aloes and sanseverias that could not be passed up.
My best kept secret for interesting full grown succulents and native California plants is Mira Costa College’s Horticultural Department. They sell plants on campus three mornings a week. We’re so lucky to live in succulent heaven.
Wow, Monica, you mentioned sources near me I wasn’t aware of! I can’t wait to explore them. Thanks!
Thank you for the opportunity to share. I find nooks and crannies when I am running my kids around. In fact, I have to take my daughter to Disneyland on 7/26 which is providing me with a rare chance to visit Orange County Cactus and Succulent Society’s show in Anaheim! What luck!!
Ok, while I am at it…I went to the San Diego Society show because I saw it in your newsletter. I just became a member and at my first meeting this month my dish garden was honored with best novice entry on the brag table. So once again…thanks for the opportunity, Debra!
Hi Monica — C&SS shows are great resources. And I love that while you’re daughter is at Disneyland, you’ll be shopping for succulents. LOL
Ms. Baldwin……right under “also on this site”, are pictures…..the second picture is definitely an Echeveria Imbricata “Blue Rose”. I clicked on that picture and it took me to Leaf & Clay. I reached out to them..hopefully they have one or may be getting some in the future. Fingers crossed.
Well, wouldn’t that be terrific?! Fingers and toes crossed.
I live in NW Florida, and the only choices here are Lowe’s and Home Depot, and I refuse to purchase their sickly plants!
My absolute favorite source is Leaf & Clay. Their plants are so healthy, and I think the best value for the money! Their service is exceptional, and plants arrive very quickly!
I have successfully purchased some beautiful succulents from Cactus Limon in San Diego. All have arrived quickly and in beautiful condition. [They’re mail-order. — Debra]
Hi Debra, What a joy to get your email blasts…. always so informative and helpful! Thanks so much. I live in San Diego and am so fortunate to have abundant sources here… but one of my favorite succulent and cactus nurseries is Exotic Gardens in Flynn Springs… just east of El Cajon. Good selection with great prices and I always find something interesting there. I also like Craig’s List and have found some great plants there… one young man in El Cajon sells wonderful plants from his home at incredible prices… most pots are “overstuffed” as he puts in his ads. The San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society with over 700 members meets monthly and always has a nice variety of plants and supplies for sale at their meetings. Thanks, Craig
Thanks for the kind comments, Craig—and for the great info! I haven’t been to Exotic Gardens since they moved from downtown San Diego. Sounds like I need to make the trip.
Hi, I need to get on a soapbox and say that buying succulents from big box stores is a very bad thing. The nurseries that supply big box stores spray their plants with neonics! Which is one of the many reasons why our pollinators are disappearing. Please please do not tell your fans to buy plants from big box stores. Please as a lover of plants, please help protect our pollinators. Because if it wasn’t for pollinators most of our beloved plants would not exist.
Hi, this is Debbie Platt again. I live in Cloverdale CA, Northern Sonoma County. We have a wonderful nursery called Cloverdale Nursery. They specialize in plants that grow in a Mediterranean Climate. They have a wonderful selection of succulents. I also shop at Cottage Gardens, Petaluma; Lone Pine Gardens, Sebastopol; Garrett’s Hardware, Healdsburg.
Here in Sonoma County, we are quite spoiled when it comes to nurseries! I have also ordered quite a few agaves from Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina. They have wonderful Agaves! Some of which they have developed.
Living in Northern California, we must adopt to living with wildfires. I know that Southern Californians have always delt with wildfires. So us “Northerners” need to learn from our southern neighbors. On my own property, which is a urban, wild land interface property, I have been replacing normal shrubs and perennials within 10 feet of my home, with succulents and non-flammable materials. I am also an artist, so I am creating succulent boarders that involve rusted metal, wine bottles (we definitely support our local wineries), my best friends husband tests cement installations, so she has a huge pile of cement cylinders.
California is LOADED
with succulent sources. You’re so lucky! But where are my fellow Texans? Where are the best succulent sources in the Lone Star state?
Austin and San Antonio have wonderful succulent experts and collectors. But yes, let’s hear from more Texans!
I live in Northern California and specifically Moss Beach on the coast between Half Moon Bay and Pacifica 25 miles south from San Francisco. I have been buying plants for so many years it’s impossible to name every Nursery but, as a member of the San Francisco Succulent and Cactus Society (www.SFSucculent.org) and Past President of the Peninsula Succulent Club l can say that Clubs and Societies are great places to buy rare or unusual plants.
Of course, we often go on far-flung field trips where we visit Private Growers such as Elton Roberts in Ripon, CA or Planta Seca owned by Bill Munkacsy in Alamo, CA or other distant nurseries.
Our club has been to UC Davis, where Ernesto Sandoval is the Greenhouse Curator. The Peninsula Succulent Club visited the RUTH BANCROFT Garden in Walnut Creek where you were the guest lecturer on a book tour and l always try to get down to Castroville for the Annual FREE Succulent Extravaganza at the Succulent Gardens Nursery founded by Robin Stockwell, where you also have lectured in the past.
Also The SFSCS went as a group to the Lone Pine Gardens in the North Bay. The Monterey Bay Cactus and Succulent Society has a fantastic Show and Sale in historic town of San Juan Bautista (think Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo scene filmed at the Mission San Juan) every year. I try to go to it whenever l can.
Once, while visiting my brother in Sedona, AZ a few years ago, l flew into Phoenix and saw how close the Desert Botanical Garden was to the Sky Harbor Airport, so after l picked up my rental car, l went over to check it out. OMG! I joined, so l could come back on my way home because the day l was leaving was their members-only plant sale. I thought the San Francisco Sale was large….but these people put their sale on out in the parking lot and members were using full size Grocery Shopping Carts for browsing and check-outs! Needless to say, they were selling landscape specimen size plants as well as smaller plants. I was able to buy a few 4 inch size plants to check in my luggage including a very nice Melocactus.
Locally, l shop at the Half Moon Bay Nursery and Highway 92 Succulents But “l Brake for Plant Sales” too, and even have found some very mature plants at a few. (The woman selling her Mother’s things in Moss Beach worked at Living Green Design, in San Francisco and I acquired a wonderful Dudleya and a mature Gasteria from her.)
Like many, I have been known to even find some plants at Lowe’s, Home Depot or the now defunct Orchard Supply Hardware Store. Once, while at Ace buying a household item, l peeked into their nursery and bought a small Aloe. By the time it took to drive 15 minutes south to home, a very large Banana slug has emerged from the pot and gave me a huge yellow, slimey scare when l reached into the back seat to retrieve the plant. He was released in my yard in a shady spot, because he was not as unwanted as a tourist mealy bug hitching a ride home in one’s Store-Bought Plants! Ick!
Hi Cid — Thanks for sharing your Bay Area succulent sources and adventures! You’re indeed a kindred spirit.
I live in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area of Los Angeles. When I visit San Diego on my drive back to L.A., I always visit Grigsby’s in Vista. They have unusual and beautiful succulents as well as other plants. The prices are reasonable – I highly recommend it.
In Pasadena, the Huntington Library and Gardens offer a free, almost-monthly plant talk on the second Thursday of the month. 2:30 pm in the Brody Botanical Center. After the plant talk, you can take a short walk and shop for plants, including excellent succulents and cactus as well as California and Australian natives.
Hi Claudia — Glad you mentioned Grigsby. They may be the oldest succulent specialty nursery in San Diego county. The H’ton is a great resource, too. Thanks!
Debra, this is such a great idea to share resources!! The only thing is that it’s making me want to go plant shopping! Right now!!
I live in the Phoenix area and exclusively buy succulents for my garden from Arizona Cactus Sales (Ty has an amazing amount of knowledge about cacti and other succulents) and from the Desert Botanical Garden’s twice a year plant sale (they sell bare-rooted cacti in addition to cacti in pots, agave, and lots of other plants for water-wise gardening). I have stopped buying plants for in the ground gardening from the big box stores because these plants are typically not grown in local nurseries and therefore are not used to the harsh sun conditions here in the Sonoran desert even when I give the plants time to “harden off.” Plus, I think a big box store agave is how the snout-nosed beetle got into my garden! Buyer beware!
I will buy little dish garden succulents from the big box stores, but the two sources above also carry these.
Thanks for all of the succulent tips and ideas. I can’t wait to make a succulent wreath for the holidays.
Thanks, Louise — This kind of info based on personal experience is so valuable! Much appreciated.
When in Newport Beach, CA, the best, perhaps only place is Roger’s Gardens, usually after their Thursday delivery. I know that place better than my own house 🙂 2nd place is Armstrong’s on PCH and Jamboree. Like Cid, I’m a member of Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden; when in Phoenix, I shop their semi-annual sales for my med-large plants. I have trouble with just the herbs from the HD, came home with a hookworm on a basil plant last week. Re: High Country Gardens, 20+ years ago? I used their mail order for my Sherman Oaks house (sold) and had great luck, but that’s when they still had the store.
When I lived in So Cal, I looked forward to trips to Louie’s, in Riverside. Owned by two delightful women, I would never fail in finding something unique and exotic that I had never seen before. Cliff
Hi. I would like to recommend California Cactus in the Pasadena area on Rosemead. They have nearly every succulent and cactus one could desire, along with beautiful pottery to set off the beauty of the specimen(s). There is rock and glass rock and more available. It is inspiring to walk through and the people that own Ca. Cactus are wonderful who have been in business for decades.
Do you know if there is an organization in San Diego that accepts donations of mature/large succulents? I recently purchased a home with TONS of succulents in the back that are quite large. We are planning to create a flat play space for my son, but I don’t want to waste these plants.
Hi Cathleen — It probably would depend on what kind of succulents they are, and what it might entail to remove them. Large century plants have no value, but a large Beaucarnea recurvata (for example) is a prize.
Hey Debra, love your site, just wondering if you could fit our new Webshoporders somewhere on your “best places to buy online” type pages. Thanks, Eric from East Austin Succulents
On Facebook: East Austin Succulents is Austin’s most diverse and creative Cactus & Succulent Nursery. We also ship to the contiguous 48 states through our web store! Feel free to check out our unique stock at https://shop.eastaustinsucculents.com
801 Tillery St Austin, TX 78702
Hi Debra, I live in Tucson AZ. Unfortunately, I find our extremely hot summers and near freezing temperatures in the winter make many succulents tricky to grow. As you know we are the home of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society, a vibrant organization offering a wealth of information as well as cactus rescue programs. Nurseries I would like to mention are: B&B Cactus Farm, Harlow Gardens, Civano Nursery, Bach’s Greenhouse Cactus Nursery, and Plants for the Southwest. Mark at B&B is so knowledgeable, prior to owning and operating the cactus farm he was a horticulturist at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Plants for the Southwest specializes in lithops and other hard to find specialties.
I love your website, emails and books!
Hi Sharon — Good to know! Thank you! I’ll add this helpful info to the Succulent Nurseries and Destinations page as well.
I don’t think there are any large cactus/succulent retail shops in Northern California. The largest one I’ve seen here is Evergreen Farm in San Jose, CA but it wasn’t as large as I was expecting. There’s Highway 92 Succulent which is decent sized. I have yet to find any large ones locally so I normally resort to http://www.etsy.com.
Hi Gus — Thanks for the info. What about Succulent Gardens nursery in Castroville?