Sunshine Gardens, Encinitas, CA

Since our recent trip to Southern California was primarily a family vacation, I stopped at only two nurseries. I’ve already blogged about the first one, Seaside Gardens located in the Santa Barbara area. The second one was called Sunshine Gardens—with such similar names, I constantly keep getting them mixed up in my own head.

Sunshine Gardens is in the San Diego County town of Encinitas, less than a mile from the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG). We stopped there after our visit to the SDBG. It’s not huge, but according to their web site, it’s the oldest and largest independent nursery in Encinitas.


The first thing I saw were sale-priced succulents—always a good sign!





In case you missed the other signs, all succulents were 20% off.






I won’t lie, I was tempted by a few plants, but there was virtually no room in our car. Unlike my desert trip in December, this wasn’t a solo outing and I couldn’t simply load up the car with whatever I wanted.



The variegated octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana ‘Stained Glass’) had been eluding me for a good long time. Now that I finally have one (purchased at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in February), I came across four pretty nice specimens at Sunshine Gardens. Go figure!


In the first photo above, did you see the sign for General Bubba Crush? If you read Danger Garden’s recent post you know what this is all about. General Bubba Crush is a tortoise of pretty substantial size. He was out and about when we arrived at the nursery, but by the time I went back to the car to get my camera, he’d retreated to his “bunker.”


I was disappointed I didn’t get a photo of General Bubba Crush, but this sight in the demonstration bed at the back of the nursery more than made up for it:


It’s a Leucospermum ‘Veldfire’ in full bloom.


Leucospermums are South African shrubs in the Proteaceae family, which also includes the likes of proteas, leucadendrons, grevilleas, banksias and many others.


According to San Marcos Growers, ‘Veldfire’ is a cultivar of Leucospermum glabrum that was discovered in New Zealand. It’s supposed to be hardy to 26°F.


I’ve had a bit of a leucospermum crush all year, ever since I bought a Leucospermum ‘Scarlet Ribbon’ at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in February, and I was very excited to see this ‘Veldfire’ covered with jaw-droppingly gorgeous flowers


Is there anything that doesn’t grow well in San Diego County?

P.S. In my original post I forgot to mention that there’s a great bakery called Betty’s Pie Whole attached to the nursery. It’s located inside the red roof building. I’m a sucker for key lime pie, and the mini pie I had there was the best I’ve tasted in my life.

Related posts

2015 Spring break trip to San Diego


  1. Is there anything that doesn’t grow well in San Diego County?

    Hostas, for sure! :)

    What a gorgeous Leucospermum!

    1. Hostas! That's a good one. How about tulips? Do they come back year after year?

      But those are relatively minor sacrifices when you can plant so much else without having to worry about severe frost.

  2. Love it gotta come to San Diego!

  3. I wonder if your sighting of A. vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' means the supply line has increased production - I've noticed that happening with other formerly hard-to-find succulents like Furcraeas. That Leucospermum is beautiful!

    1. Kris, I think that's what it means. 'Stained Glass' is from bulbils, I believe, so I imagine all the plants showing up in nurseries are from the same mother plant.

      Now if only Agave 'Sun Glow' would become more widely available...

  4. Oh that leucospermum! I drool. It's fantabulous.

  5. Wow! that octopus agave would have gone home with me even if I have to keep it on my lap during the travel.

    1. LOL. I might have done exactly that if I hadn't already bought one at the Ruth Bancroft Garden recently.

  6. What doesn't grow in San Diego? Lilacs, peonies, maple trees to name a few. I missed them when we moved there from Chicago. But oh, the succulents more than made up for it!!

    1. You can't have it ALL, but it seems that in San Diego County you can have MOST of it.

  7. I was going to guess raspberries wouldn't grow in San Diego county but then I remembered Julian. I'll bet lilacs would grow there and maybe even a maple tree.

    1. Julian is another place I want to visit, together with the area around Escondido and Vista where so many succulents are grown.

  8. Very cool indeed! I would have made room in my car if even to put them under my feet! lol


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