I spent my last night on the road in Palm Springs, and before I started out on the 7-hour drive back to Davis, I made one final stop: Mariscal Cactus & Succulents. This nursery is located on the outskirts of the small town of Desert Hot Springs, north of Palm Springs and just a few miles off the I-10. We’d stopped there briefly on our February 2011 trip to the Southern California desert, and I was hoping the nursery was still there. It was.
While they do have a few tables with smaller plants (1 gallon and smaller), their main focus is on large plants, mostly 15 gallons and 24 inch boxes. This is where you’d go if you want specimen-sized succulents for instant impact. We have nothing like it in Northern California.
I was the only customer there and spent a leisurely hour roaming the multi-acre nursery. This is what I saw:
Golden barrels galore
Agave parryi var. truncata…
…in 24-inch boxes…
…all perfect specimens
Nothing was labeled or priced though
Agave ‘Blue Glow’
Agave ‘Blue Glow’, Agave victoria-reginae and Agave guadalajarana
Agave victoria-reginae, Agave guadalajarana and Agave colorata
Agave titanota, cactus, and San Jacinto Mountains
Blacklit cactus, always so beautiful
Cactus as far as the eye can see
Styrofoam cups used as frost protection
I doubt the cups would stay in place in windy conditions!
Giant box of Styrofoam cups
Agave attenuata in an area with overhead protection
…partially covered with frost cloth
Aloe marlothii is hardy in Palm Springs and needs no protection
This Kalanchoe beharensis got nipped by the cold (it’s very frost-sensitive)
I was surprised to see these Adenium obesum (in large 15 gallon pots) unprotected. Adeniums are quite tender.
Shaggy ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) in boxes
So many Yucca rostrata!
I got close to buying one although it would have been a tight squeeze in the car
These saguaro skeletons…
…were the biggest surprise for me. I guess there is a market for them.
More golden barrels and columnar cactus
Table with smaller plants
So, what did I buy?
Nothing, I’m sad to say.
I really wanted to buy a 15-gallon Yucca rostrata. I found the perfect specimen that would have fit in the backseat of my car. It would have been a tight squeeze but I think it would have fit.
The problem? There was nobody around. I said earlier I was the only customer. Not only that, I was the only human at the nursery! A radio was playing in the a small trailer that must serve as their office, but the trailer was deserted. I could have helped myself to whatever I wanted and driven off without anybody being the wiser!
The nursery is located along an empty road about a mile from town. There is a house next door, with more rows of large potted succulents in the front yard, so it’s possible that’s where the nursery manager lives. But I wasn’t going to go knocking on doors when I wasn’t even sure that the Yucca rostrata I wanted was within my price range.
In spite of my disappointing customer service experience, though, I will stop at Mariscal again the next time I’m in the Palm Springs area. It’s like a giant candy store for succulent lovers, whether you ultimately buy anything or not, and I like treats!