Superb succulent plantings at Plant Depot Nursery

Last month I wrote about Plant Depot Nursery in San Juan Capistrano at the southern edge of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. This weekend I'm back in the Southland helping daughter #2 move into her dorm at UC Irvine. I had some free time on Saturday morning so I drove back down to Plant Depot. As luck would have it, San Juan Capistrano was still shrouded in mist—perfect light for photography. Before I went into the nursery proper, I took a closer look at the street-side plantings. They seem nice from the car, but it's hard to see a lot of detail when you're supposed to pay attention to the road. I'm happy to report that up close, they're not just nice, they're fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised by the large variety of succulents and the way they're combined. What a great way to showcase water-wise plants, and what a great advertisement for the nursery!

As I was taking pictures, a man walking his golden lab came up to me and expressed surprise that I was so interested in the plants. I explained that we simply don't have nurseries like these in the Sacramento area. After I mentioned how much I enjoyed the plants and that I thought it was a great way to get people to stop at the nursery, he introduced himself as Brent Kittle, the owner of Plant Depot! Brent couldn't remember ever hearing customers say anything about the plantings so he assumed nobody paid any attention to them. I found that astounding—and sad. 

A lot of effort (and money) goes into creating attractive plant showcases, and I wish customers were more vocal about their appreciation. I, for one, am determined to give positive feedback whenever I can. Nurseries value a kind word just as much as we do as gardeners.

After chatting with Brent for another 10 minutes, I went into the nursery to explore. I didn't take any more photos—I was simply too focused on looking at all the plants in case something unusual caught my eye. I did buy a few things:
  • Agave nizandensis (a steal at $5.99 for a plant 2½ ft. wide)
  • Aloe distans (very nice clone with particularly yellow teeth)
  • Anigozanthos viridis 'Phar Lap' (dwarf kangaroo paw with very narrow leaves)
  • Aspidistra elatior 'Okame' (nice variegation)
  • Blue elderberry for my MIL (Sambucus nigra var. cerulea)
  • Grevillea thelemanniana 'Baby' (low-growing to 10")
  • Sansevieria 'Futura Superba' (for my daughter's dorm room)
And now the rest of the photos I took along the front of Plant Depot Nursery:

Aeoniums and variegated elephant's food (Portulacaria afra 'Variegated')

Aloe rubroviolacea (left), Agave 'Baccarat', Agave pablocarilloi 'Ivory Curls'

Aloe rubroviolacea (left), Agave 'Baccarat'

Aloe ferox, Yucca rostrata, Aloe rubroviolacea

Agave pablocarilloi 'Ivory Curls' in front of flowering crown of thorns (Euphorbia millii)

Agaves and prickly pears

Agave americana 'Variegata', Agave horrida

These are the most impressive specimens of Agave horrida I've ever seen. All too often the teeth are much smaller and far less showy.

Agave americana 'Variegata', Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak'

Completely unexpected: Protea 'Pink Ice'

Agave americana, Leucadendron sp.

Agave weberi, Agave ovatifolia, Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor', Kalanchoe luciae

Agave ovatifolia

A particularly nice combo of agaves, golden barrel cactus, Euphorbia ammak, and Crassula ovata, among other things

Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) and a juvenile dragon tree (Dracaena draco), too!

Agave attenuata, Agave americana, Euphorbia ammak 'Variegata'

Agave angustifolia 'Marginata', Kalanchoe luciae

I have no idea what this drooping aloe is

Agave salmiana 'Butterfingers'

The nursery entrances is around the corner

Agave weberi

Agave americana and Kalanchoe beharensis

And of course dozens of golden barrels (Echinocactus grusonii)

Aloe distans (the clone I bought is very similar to this one)

Parking lot (huge!) and entrance

Dragon tree (Dracaena draco), owner Brent's favorite plant

Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light'

Agave guiengola (front), Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Mediopicta' behind it

Agave guiengola 'Creme Brulee'

Agave ovatifolia

Agave americana, a particularly silver clone

Agave parrasana

The REAL Agave titanota

Yucca rostrata 'Blue Velvet' for sale; the smallest (on the right) was $195

Neoregelia about 7 ft up on a palm tree trunk

Gollum jade plant (Crassula ovata 'Gollum') in the ground

Another majestic Euphorbia ammak 'Variegata'

Plant Depot is in such a convenient location less than 30 minutes from UC Irvine that I'm sure I'll stop by every time I visit my daughter.

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  1. I've admired the street side plantings at PD, but not on foot--street is quite busy, sidewalk narrow. Lots of lovely Agaves.

    Best wishes to your daughter for success at UCI!

    1. I was there yesterday even before they opened. No traffic at all, fortunately. Yes, beautiful agaves and other succulents. Brent, the owner, said it used to be mostly tropical plants before. Hard to imagine now.

      We just said goodbye to our Anteater!

  2. Beautiful plants make beautiful photos. Great to see the combinations done by someone who really knows what he is doing. Inspiration for us all!

    1. I love nothing more than being inspired! It's a boost of energy that keeps you going for days.

  3. A great demonstration of what can be achieved using beautiful water-wise plants. So wish I could grow these outside year round. Noted there were a lot of aloe's blooming. Thought they mostly bloomed in Jan/Feb.

  4. This is another plant palace I've never visited. (You really do need to write a travel guide for gardeners one day.) Great vignettes. I love that Aloe rubroviolacea.

  5. How could people not stop and admire? Plant blindness, it's a thing evidently. And wow, Agave horrida is at the top of my "must find" list.


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