Visiting Jeff Moore / Arid Adaptations Nursery in Tucson, AZ (May 2021)

No visit would to Arizona would be complete without checking in with Jeff Moore, one of my PFFs (plant friends forever) in Tucson.

Jeff is a seriously cool guy with a wicked sense of humor. He operates Arid Adaptations Nursery out of his 3-acre property northwest of town and can literally propagate and grow anything. He started Arid Adaptations in 2012 after a 10-year stint at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and now has over 200,000 (!) plants in multiple greenhouses and outside growing areas: everything from cacti and succulents to caudiciforms and hard-to-classify oddities. Jeff's your guy if you're in search of something special. The plant list on his website gives you a good idea of what he has.

Whenever I mention Jeff Moore to people here in California, they invariably think of Jeff Moore in San Diego County, owner of Solana Succulents and writer of four (soon to be five) beautifully produced books on succulents. San Diego Jeff is a great guy, too, but he's most definitely not the same as person as this dude:

Saguaro on a stick, anyone? Seriously, that's what it is!

My visit to Jeff's place was on the hottest day of my entire trip. The temperature was north of 95°F—nothing out of the ordinary in July or August, but on the hot side in May. But deep in conversation with Jeff and wandering from one row of plants to the next, I barely noticed. 

One of many hoop houses

Ferocactus rectispinus

Enormous variety of cactus in just one greenhouse

Parodia erubescens

How many Astrophytum seedlings can you count?

Cephalocereus senilis

Mammillaria hernandezii

Nothing to see here—except some snake skin

Mammillaria louisae

Mammillaria guelzowiana

Echinocereus viereckii

Mammillaria tetrancistra

Ferocactus fordii

Agave chazaroi and Thelocactus setispinus

Agave chazaroi and Thelocactus setispinus

Leuchtenbergia principis

Mammillaria plumosa heads waiting to be potted up so they can root

Echinopsis hybrids to be trialed

Astrophytum caput-medusae. It may look like a weird stick insect, but it has awesome flowers.

When random seeds find their way into one small pot: Agave chazaroi, Adenia globosa, and Echinocactus polycephalus

Peniocereus gregii

Winner in the weird but wonderful category: Pseudolithos migiurtinus, a truly odd but sought-after succulent from the arid regions of eastern Somalia

Opuntia galapageia, a prickly pear native to the Galápagos Islands where it was first recorded by none other than Charles Darwin

Myrtillocactus geometrizans with partially monstrose growth. This large specimen was earmarked for a buyer in Tucson.

Clump of Opuntia macrocentra on the property

In addition to supplying succulent growers and retail nurseries in the Phoenix and Tucson area, Jeff also sells plants every Sunday at the Rillito Park Farmers Market in Tucson. His market truck was already half loaded when I visited:

Truck half loaded for the next Rillito Park Farmers Market where Jeff is a regular seller

Jeff's nursery doesn't have regular hours and isn't set up for walk-in retail traffic, but if you're seriously interested, you can email Jeff for an appointment. Jeff also does mail order and is in the process of setting up an ecommerce presence online.

Below are the plants I got from Jeff. Photos are in this earlier post.

        Astrophytum caput-medusae
        Echinopsis 'Flying Saucer'
        Echinopsis 'June Noon'
        Ferocactus robustus
        Mammillaria compressa
        Mammillaria perbella hybrid
        Mammillaria plumosa hybrid

To see even more photos of Jeff's place, check out this post about my December 2019 visit.


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  1. Thanks for clearing it up that there are two of Jeff Moore. I was a bit puzzled.

    His nursery looks really tidy and organized. He must be a high energy guy to manage all that in a ferocious climate.

    Chazaroi is an elegant Agave.

  2. Forgive my ignorance: what's with the pot-covered tips of the cacti in photo 26?
    Jeff looks like a man who hugs a cactus every day: a lot of love in his operation.

  3. He runs a large nursery, a website, supplies garden centers, and mans weekly farmer's market sales by himself?!!! I'm exhausted just reading about it. I love the Myrtillocactus with the partial monstrose growth - that's a real collector's item.

  4. Hope he isn't suffering from flash floods. Seems they are in for more storms on the horizon for AZ. I've ordered from him and loved the quality and size of the plants he sent. Plan to visit next time I'm in the area.


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