2014 Succulent Extravaganza teaser

I’m at Succulent Gardens in Castroville, CA for the 2014 Succulent Extravaganza. This is the fourth time succulent lovers from far and wide have gathered here to tour this extraordinary nursery, listen to presentations by renowned experts, and, of course, shop Succulent Gardens’ immense selection of succulents.

Here are some photos I took this afternoon to whet your appetite. If you live in Northern California and have some time tomorrow (Saturday, September 27, 2014), make the scenic drive to Castroville and join us for the fun!


Free barbecue and tamales this afternoon


Small sampling of the thousands of pristine plants for sale


I know Agave attenuata is very common along the coast, but to me they’re special (we can’t really grow them in Davis because they’re very frost-sensitive)


More fabulous plants for sale


I’ll be going shopping tomorrow


Indoor retail area


One of the biggest attraction this year are the demonstration gardens created by a slew of well-know designers


Stacked-stone bench by Andrea Hurd


“Under the Sea” garden by Michael and Danielle Romero


Bell & Flourish with Makers West 'Repurposed Riot', planter by Lille Aeske


Desert Mandala garden in the Aloe polyphylla bed


Organic Mechanics garden featuring repurposed metal pipes and head stones


Julia Bell-designed garden


Agave attentuata ‘Boutin Blue’ and Aloe ‘Hercules’


  1. Do you come equipped with a shopping list of must haves or do you just wing it and buy what catches your eye?

    Have fun!

    1. No real shopping list this time. I really forced myself to be selective because I'm running out of room. I only ended up buying two plants, an Aloe melancantha and another (small) Agave 'Cornelius'.

  2. Looks like a succulent lovers shopping heaven! Have fun and don't forget if you ever see a small Aloe 'Hercules' for sale there keep us in mind ;)

    1. I was looking for 'Hercules' with you in mind. They didn't even have large ones this time. The smallest I've ever seen 'Hercules' is 5 gallon but clearly they don't start out life that large. I wonder why nobody is selling them in a smaller size. I'll ask at the Ruth Bancroft Garden sale on Oct 11. They have a more focused selection of aloes and agaves. Succulent Gardens is great for soft-leaved succulents, like echeverias, etc.

  3. Wow, so many stunning plants and interesting displays. I quite like that rusty opuntia in the 4th photo!

  4. Lucky! What a great collection of delicious plants! Some year it would be fun to attend this event but for now, we're lucky enough to experience it vicariously through your posts.

    1. There's always next year! If they follow the same schedule as before, it should be Sept 25 and 26. It would be great to see you down here!

  5. Hi Gerhard,

    Great to meet you in person and thanks for pointing out the nice Agave 'Cornelius' today. If you or anyone is interested--hope I am not spoiling anything, but I enjoyed the Extravaganza and seeing them put so much added work into gardens for it that I took a ton of photos.




    Have a great time and the Ruth Bancroft Garden later in the month.

    1. Matt, it was great to meet you! Thank you for the link to your post. I really enjoyed looking at your photos. It's always fun seeing what jumps out at other people who are at the same event.

      Will you be at the Ruth Bancroft Garden sale on October 11?

    2. I keep planning on going to the Ruth Bancroft sales and am still not sure yet. Maybe a 50% chance. Will keep an eye out for you if I go or at least share some pics if I go.

  6. So true about 'Hercules.' When I saw one in a gallon this summer, I pounced. I'm drumming up courage to try the spiral aloe again. What a beautiful specimen in your photo. Maybe next year I'll make it up for this sale.

    1. Wow, where did you find the 1-gallon 'Hercules'? I wonder why nurseries aren't selling them in smaller sizes? It doesn't make sense, unless there is so much demand that they can afford to sell them only in larger sizes?

      Aloe polyphylla: Succulent Gardens has dozens of stunning specimens in the ground but I didn't see a single one for sale. In previous years they had them in 5 gallon cans. I think demand for Aloe polyphylla has died down as gardeners have realized that it's very difficult to keep it alive in our climate. I've lost two now--the second one was large enough to begin to spiral--and I swore I'd never get another one. But my resolve is weakening. If I encountered a nice specimen, I'd probably find it hard to resist.

    2. On Aloe polyphylla--They had a bunch at the extravaganza... BUT they were hiding as small 1-3 inch plants in gallon pots. They were also $25, maybe worth it for a great plant--but yes very challenging and I have three so didn't get any. Anyone close to here that is interested could probably still find one at Succulent Gardens for the next few weeks months based on how many they had:


      SG also has a great post by Alan Beverly on caring for these that has helped me grow mine to pretty large ones now...


    3. Matt, thank you for the link. Very useful information.

      Aloe polyphylla grows much better on the coast than it does inland. It has a hard time with the summer heat, from what I understand.

  7. We had so much fun! It's taking me forever to get the photos ready!


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