Field trip to Poot's Cactus Nursery

If you live in Northern California and have even a passing interest in cacti and succulents, you've probably heard of Poot's Cactus Nursery. And if you’ve ever taken Highway 120 east to go to Yosemite, you've driven right past (here's a Google map).

Poot’s is located outside of Ripon, between Manteca and Escalon, surrounded by fields and orchards. The sign is impossible to miss:

The nursery was started in 1994 by Bill and Roelyn (pronounced “Ro-Ellen”) Poots. It’s still in the same location, and Bill and Roelyn still live in the house on the 1-acre property (you can see it in the next photo). Their son, Brian, is managing the day-to-day operations, with 10 part-time employees helping out in propagation, sales, and online marketing.

I visited Poot’s last Saturday on a field trip organized by the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society. We were given a special tour of the Poots’ private collection (see here). This installment is about the public areas.

The first thing you see when you pull into the small parking lot is the display garden, aka the “Poot’s Desert.” With a bit of good luck (and good timing), you might find the many Echinopsis planted in the ground in glorious bloom. We were a few days too late for the first wave, but we caught some other plants in flower:

Agave parryi var. truncata (left), Echinopsis formosa (right)

Echinopsis formosa, formerly known as Soehrensia formosa

Aloe striata


...and pond

This Echinopsis must have been spectacular just a few days earlier. Look at the huge number of flowers!

I found one lone flower on this magenta Echinopsis

Close-up of the same flower

But even without flowers, the display garden is a sight to see. The property is bordered by orchards so the contrast is even more striking.

Ferocactus glaucescens fruits

Moroccan mound (Euphorbia resinifera) in the foreground

Golden barrels (Echinocactus grusonii) and Yucca rostrata

Aloe elgonica and Echinocactus grusonii

Impressive specimen of Yucca rostrata next to the Poots’ residence

Next to the residence is the retail area. There are outside tables for hardier succulents as well as a building with more tender plants.

A new gift shop (see below on the left) features Poot’s-branded apparel and accessories. You can also buy gift items online.

The plants for sale range from the common to the uncommon. It’s definitely worth poking around since you never know what you mind find. While Poot’s isn’t huge, especially compared to Southern California or Arizona standards, it does have one of the largest inventory of succulents in Northern California. And their prices are still reasonable.

Short-spined form of the golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii f. brevispina)

Columnar and barrel cacti

Larger specimens, too

Tiny saguaros for $7...

...and less tiny ones for $18

$3 cacti, always worth a closer look

Aloidendron ‘Hercules’ and Yucca rostrata in 15-gallon containers ($199 and $179, respectively)

Very nice-looking Aloe perfoliata (formerly known as A. distans)

Common, yes...

...but always eye-catching

Really pretty Sempervivum bowls, too

Just one quick snapshot of the inside sales area housing more tender plants:

Here’s our group from the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society assembling for our tour of the Poots’ private collection. More on that in this post.

Poot’s Cactus Nursery is located at 17229 E. Hwy 120, Ripon, CA 95366 (map). They’re open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; closed on Sunday.


© Gerhard Bock, 2022. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Looks like a fun place to poke around in for a couple of hours. I notice a large pachypodium in the display garden - thought it would have been too cold that far inland for it, but obviously not! Do you grow them at all?

    1. I can't imagine that pachypodium being hardy enough to remain outside all winter, but it looks to be much too large to move...

      The only pachypodium I have left is P. namaquanum. It's completely hardy for me, and since it's a winter grower, it's in sync with our natural rainfall patterns.

  2. Cool place with great prices. Noticing that enormous Euphorbia obesa in the second to last photo. What a specimen! What did you come home with?

  3. OMG! That stacked Euphorbia obesa in the second to last shot...


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