The Succulent Gardens Nursery

  I first became aware of this nursery when they began to exhibit regularly at the  San Francisco Garden Show. Succulents were not widely available in my area at that time and I was thrilled to find a booth at the plant market filled with beautifully grown plants- I had not had many opportunities to buy cacti and succulents since leaving San Diego in the mid-80's.  Robin Stockwell , the founder of the nursery became enamored of succulents in the 70's, the same decade that I began to collect them, however  his collecting became a career while mine dwindled after weather related losses the first winter we spent in Norcal. The Succulent Gardens booth at the SF Garden Show eventually became one of the most popular in the plant market coinciding with the increase in the plant buying publics interest in succulents. Strategy and timing was required to navigate through the enthusiastic shoppers. Mr Stockwell has since sold the nursery though by some accounts he still is involved at a consultant level.  I did notice that they did  not appear  on the exhibitor list for the show this year, but considering how much that event has deteriorated in the last couple of years I can't blame anyone for bailing out.

 The nursery itself is is Castroville , an agricultural town near Monterey , and is basically a series of large greenhouses bordered with fantastic display gardens. I took a ton of photos both before and after shopping. I don't have much verbiage to offer; we'll let the plants do the talking.

  The gardens sprang up from the base of the hoophouses , on terraced slopes, around outbuildings and along the roadside. In most cases there was not much bare soil to be seen.

 Yes, this is basically a hedge of Aloe plicatilis (reclassified as Kumara plicatilis by the taxonomy gods) which ran further off the frame to the left.

 The Agaves were plentiful, large and pristine.

 A few things were noticed in the garden that I was hoping would be found on the sale tables:

 Senecio palmeri, which I have slain twice and was hoping for a third attempt.

 Echeveria agavoides 'Ebony' .Badly want, no dice.

 I believe this to be some sort of Dyckia, but I'm prepared to be corrected. It was quite small-maybe 6 to 8 inch foliage height and well, I thought it was cute. Cute but not for sale.

 So many large , mature cactus as well.

  Succulent Gardens is an easy side trip from either Monterey or Santa Cruz. Though they are known primarily as a wholesaler, they are open to the public daily . Check their website for hours.


  1. Your photos just get better and better. They look good against the new background too.

  2. I was there recently, but didn’t take any photos. Great pics to drool over. Love their display gardens, though I wasn’t impressed by their sales selection. I was actually there to pick up a 15 gallon Aloe ‘Hercules’, which was worth the trip alone. If you’re looking for Echeveria ‘Ebony’ I was at Peacock Horticulture in Sebastopol recently and saw it in 4”.
    Max P.

    1. Thanks for the tip on the E. 'Ebony' Max. I am way overdue for my Sonoma County nursery crawl . I hope to get over that way later this month . The day I was at SG there was lots of 'not for sale' sections taped off, assuming those are designated for wholesale accounts. It seems to me that plants they have in the display gardens should be available for sale. I managed to find several plants to bring home never the less.

  3. Might have to add this to the upcoming itinerary...
    (I think I'm going to need a bigger car!)

    1. If you're going there you might a s well go to Sierra Azul too !

  4. Hmm, I commented on my iPad the other night and it looks like perhaps that comment didn't take. Anyway, I wanted to share that yes that is a Dyckia, the cute one not for sale, D. choristaminea 'Frazzle Dazzle'. I bought one at the Succulent Gardens booth on my one trip to the SF Show years ago.

    1. Oh thanks Loree ! I was hoping someone out in reader-land would know.


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