SHARING SECRETS: Plant Shopping: Our Favorite Haunts (Part One)



Edited by Dayle Cheever.

What is your favorite plant source in the local region and why? Have you had any luck ordering plants online and if so, what has worked?

Here's what some of our members had to say. Due to the enthusiastic response we received this month, we'll be sharing the balance of your favorite plant sources next month.

Marilyn Wilson: My favorite nursery is Green Thumb, in San Marcos. They have knowledgeable staff, a great selection of plants (my favorites are the Australian natives), and will special order almost anything your heart desires. Also, I have successfully ordered plants by mail several times from Plant Delights, Spring Hill Nursery, Australian Plants, White Flower Farm, and High County Gardens, where you can find plants that do well in your zip code.

Nancy Groves: My favorite source locally and online is Bird Rock Tropicals in Encinitas. Great selection of air plants (Tillandsias), other Bromeliads, and orchids. They are an award winning hybridizer of Tillandsias.

Pat Venolia: Green Thumb Nursery in San Marcos is my go-to nursery; I prefer to buy from independent nurseries instead of big box stores. One thing I recently discovered is that I can order from Monrovia Nursery online, pay by credit card, and they will ship my plant to a nursery that they deliver to, which is Green Thumb in my case. Pretty convenient if I’m having trouble finding a plant locally.

Cassidy Rowland: The best online source for many natives and other garden plants is Annie’s Annuals. They are shipped to arrive on an agreed upon date, and in excellent condition, and the choices are amazing with a huge range of succulents and flowering natives. Five GIANT stars!

Jeannine Romero: I love Oasis Succulents in Escondido—beautiful plants and setup.

Charlotte Getz: As a landscape consultant I order the majority of plants for my customers from Village Nursery, a large wholesale nursery open only to the landscaping trade. If Village doesn’t have what I need, I occasionally order from Armstrong Garden Centers. Walter Andersen is my third option, but out of my geographic territory.

Andrea Wagman-Christian: Walter Andersen Nursery has always come through for me. We have an interior plantscaping company and Cardiff Greenhouse is great!


Susan Starr: My favorite local plant source is the San Diego Botanic Garden. I’m a docent there, so undoubtedly biased. But everything I ever bought from their admittedly small nursery has grown and flourished. They are propagating more unusual plants for the nursery these days, so it’s worth a visit. I have not had good luck ordering plants online. Bulbs seem to do ok, but often what I get is not what I thought I was ordering. So I’m very cautious now about getting even bulbs, online.

Carey Pratt: Locally, Home Depot has been the surprising source of a lot of plants. You have to be there every week to see what’s come in, but there is an amazing variety and quality over the long run, and good prices. Anderson’s Nursery usually has the best variety, but after 40 years of shopping there, I have yet to get a smile or a greeting. That’s OK, I’m there for the plants. Armstrong’s also terrific, friendly, and helpful. Evergreen Nursery is worth the trip. Online, Plant Delights Nursery in N.C. is pricey but fabulous, especially for agaves. Australian seeds are easy to get online, Nindethana Seeds is one of many sources.

Deborah Hall: Walter Andersen and Hort Society meetings!

Joe Sczempka: My favorite plant source is Walter Andersen. They seem to have the most unusual selection of plants you would not find anywhere else. On that same note, I like to order online from Monrovia, and they deliver to Walter Andersen for free. I also had great success ordering Plumeria cuttings online from Maui Plumeria Gardens.

Sharon Ward: I went on a field trip with San Diego Hort to Waterwise Botanicals and it became one of my favorite places. I have returned several times and taken friends. I was so impressed with the large clear water pond with black catfish and the plant selections are different. I also like Armstrong Nurseries. There is one literally down the street from me, and I like to walk between the tables of plants for just that right one and the coupons are a bonus. One day at Home Depot, I found an end row of clearance plants. What a find! And there was a succulent I hadn’t seen before. Lowe’s has beautiful hanging baskets for enticement before you even get into their garden center. Green Thumb Nursery is another favorite and they sponsor SD Hort, too. For me, any garden center is my favorite at the time I’m in it.

Susi Torre-Bueno: With a wealth of nurseries in San Diego, especially in North County, it’s impossible to pick just one plant source. I like Green Thumb Nursery (San Marcos) for herbs, veggies, and perennials. Briggs Tree Company (Vista) has excellent prices (SDHS members get a 15% discount off their already low prices) for succulents, perennials and shrubs/trees, plus their stock availability is on their website. Serra Gardens (Fallbrook) and Waterwise Botanicals (Bonsall) both have a large selection of succulents, and Solana Succulents (Solana Beach) has many uncommon succulents. Walter Andersen Nursery (San Diego and Poway) has a great range of plants at good prices, and they have placed special orders for me. As for online resources, I have had good success trading plants through both gardenweb.com and Davesgarden.com. Dave’s Garden also has excellent info on its website, and they have a very helpful section which rates online resources. I’ve ordered plants from Annie’s Annuals, and although the plants are beautifully packed, most of them have died, largely because I think they were shipped too young/small. I’ve had good luck buying plants at their retail store and driving home with them.

Warren Bacon: Evergreen Nursery for mainstream type plants, agaves, cactus, soil, mulch, and trees. For California natives, pond plants, and vegetables, I go to Walter Andersen’s Nursery. For pottery, Potter’s Paradise in El Cajon. For worm tea and other chemicals, San Diego Hydroponics. Kniffing’s Nursery has a large selection of roses. For exotic fruit, I go to Exotica Rare Fruit Nursery in Vista.

Wanda Mallen: I have several favorite local plant sources. I like the various Armstrong Nursery locations for indoor tropicals and succulents, and Oasis Water Efficient Gardens for succulents. For occasional rare finds, I like Walter Andersen Nursery in Poway and Point Loma, Anderson’s Nursery in La Costa, and Green Thumb. I frequently order online and recommend Tropiflora for Bromeliads, Arid Lands Greenhouses for succulents, and Plant Delights for all kinds of things, including rare agaves and mangaves. Shipping is expensive, though. A new find is Paradise Found Nursery in Florida for reasonably priced cacti and succulents, and very reasonable shipping costs. And of course, local plant society shows and sales, and the San Diego Botanic Garden fall plant sale.

Stephanie Witte: I love Barrels & Branches Nursery! The ladies who run it are so knowledgeable and helpful, and they genuinely share their love of horticulture. I’ve never ordered plants online, so I don’t know what that’s like. I’d be interested to hear everyone’s responses.

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