Waterwise Botanicals: succulent heaven (part 2 of 2)

I hope part 1 of my post about Waterwise Botanicals in San Diego's North County didn't overwhelm you. If it did, buckle up because you're about to be overwhelmed some more.

As I mentioned earlier, Waterwise Botanicals is a 20-acre nursery that specializes in succulents but also carries other drought-tolerant plants. Their selection is huge, and their prices are reasonable. I'd rate it a must-see stop on any San Diego County nursery tour, especially for people from Northern California and other corners of the world where that kind of nursery simply doesn't exist. (If you're a collector who already has all the common stuff you may have to look a little harder, but you never know you'll find.)

Part 1 focused on the retail area near the entrance. Part 2 covers the rest of the operation, including the demonstration garden and the growing grounds. It's OK to be jealous of the climate and all the plants they can grow in San Diego; I certainly went home wishing I didn't have to worry about freezes ever again.

The demonstration plantings (what they call the Desert Garden on the nursery map) aren't large but there are some nice specimens to admire.

Tree aloe (Aloidendron barberae)

Wider view of the Desert Garden

The trichocereus in the foreground had dozens of flowers that were this close to opening

Desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri), Santa Rita prickly pear (Opuntia santa-rita) and golden barrels (Echinocactus grusonii)

Trichocereus/Echinopsis flower

Golden barrel (Echinocactus grusonii)

Animal bones as decoration—a bit too "Wild West" for me

Opuntia 'Desert Skies' (more info

Fish hook barrel (Ferocactus wislizeni)

Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima) and prostrate form of elephant food (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata')

Lavenders and salvias

Lush vignette in the corner of the retail area

Wagon wheel goodness

Agave parryi var. truncata

Sales shack, aka the place where you pay for your purchases

The next set of photos is of the growing grounds adjacent to Old Highway 395. I can't even begin to estimate how many individual 5-gallon containers there are. The overall effect is magical.

Virtually all of my photos have been of succulents, but as I mentioned, Waterwise also sells roses. Lots and lots of roses!

One of the reasons why I want a larger property is to have my very own piles of soil, ready to go when I need some:

More photos of the rows of plants in the center section of the property:

Many succulents are sold in bowls—a concept that is new to me

Lots and lots of goodies

Since everything else is on a grand scale at Waterwise, they need an XXL-sized garden gnome with his own trailer

Looking towards the hills east of the nursery

Metal dinosaur—look for the flying pig below

Yucca rostrata, too

I assume this is a cardón (Pachycereus pringlei), not a saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)

The next group of photos is of Succulent Mosaic Mountain, the hillside on the eastern edge of the nursery. This is where particularly popular succulents are grown in the grown.

Golden barrels will never go out of style (Echinocactus grusonii)

Portulacaria afra 'Variegata' appears to be very popular as well. Here in Northern California it's not quite hardy enough to be used in the landscape.

This tangled mass of purple darkness is made up of thousands of Aeonium 'Zwartkop'

Click the image to see a larger version with much more detail

Crown of thorns (Euphorbia millii) and a ripple jade (Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia)

I'm fascinated by these uniform succulent tapestries

Proof that pigs do fly!

Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' and some low-growing aeonium

And one final photo of the pond and the vendor tents

As I was selecting photos for this post, I realized that I rarely take photos of people. You might think I'm a loner but I actually spend a lot of time yakking with others—I just don't take pictures of them. Maybe next time!


48-hour San Diego succulent madness

© Gerhard Bock, 2018. No part of the materials available through www.succulentsandmore.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Gerhard Bock. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Gerhard Bock is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States and international copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Gerhard Bock. If you are reading this post on a website other than www.succulentsandmore.com, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.


  1. OMG! My favorite views were those of the masses of 'Sticks on Fire' and 'Zwartkop' growing on the hillside.

  2. That hillside planting was jaw dropping. I surely was not expecting to see anything like that when I drove up.

  3. I am overwhelmed, but in a good way. You must have had so much fun!

  4. Fabulous photos, in awe here on the scale of the place!

    1. Another destination for your epic California adventure that will happen some day, I'm sure.

  5. wow, how awesome it is. Thanks so much for sharing, it was a great event to view. Loved it.
    Millie April5,2018

    1. If I lived there and had THAT as my baseline, I'd never be happy visiting nurseries in other parts of the country!

  6. The Kumara plicatilis in the last photo, and the monster-fat Beaucarnea in the third, wowza!

  7. The scale of this operation is astounding, as are your pictures Gerhard! How far inland is this place? They must get a bit of heat in the Summer!


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