Where to Buy Native Plants

One of the questions that people new to native plants often ask is where to buy native plants**?  These plants are a bit of a specialty item, so most nurseries won’t carry many (or any) as regular items.  It’s true that occasionally you can find one or two at the big box stores (I usually take a photo to commemorate the occasion and over the last few years I think I have collected less than 10 photos), but chances are slim that you’ll find what you want when you want it.

** (The most unasked question that people new to native plants ask is, “When to install them?”  The simple answer to that question is usually in October through January when the weather is coolest, wettest, and the roots can establish to carry the plant through the summer.  There are more nuanced answers, however, and that question deserves a whole article on its own.)

For some gardeners there is a lot of hand-wringing about the proper plant selections and their concerns descend to the minutia of plant genetics (for example, they may live near a wild space and not want to hybridize the wild plants with their garden plants).  Other gardeners may focus on specific size, color, or growth habit traits in order to meet their garden needs or the needs of insects or birds that visit their garden.  Your gardening motivations are your own, so the recommendation here is just to know that there’s a wide range of opinions, motivations, and options even when it comes to something that seems like it ought to be narrowly-focused and simple.

Listed below are places within and near the South Coast Chapter where you can start looking for native plants.  You should also be able to get good gardening advice from the nurseries indexed here; specialty providers tend to have specialty knowledge and be enthusiastic about sharing it.  We are always interested in updates to this list – please contact us if you have information to share.

  • Artemisia Nursery
    • Artemisia Nursery is a retail nursery in Northeast Los Angeles with a specialization in California native plants.  They also offer a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. 5068 Valley Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90032
  • Bloom! California nurseries list
    • Bloom! California is a web portal to useful gardening information run by the State CNPS.  This nurseries link is but one of their useful tools.  Check it out!  Keep in mind that the nurseries list is not comprehensive – there are other nurseries out there waiting to be discovered.
  • California Botanic Garden
    • California Botanic Garden is the largest botanic garden dedicated to California native plants, promoting botany, conservation and horticulture to inspire, inform and educate the public and scientific community about California’s native flora. The Garden is an 86 acre living museum with curated collections of more than 22,000 California native plants, some of which are rare or endangered.  The Grow Native Nursery at CBG is open during times of the year when plants will be most successfully installed – they close during the hottest / driest months. 1500 N College Avenue, Claremont CA 91711
  • CNPS Plant Sales
  • California Native Plant Link Exchange (CNPLX)
    • CNPLX is a way to find plant suppliers and web sites.  It’s a bit of a research tool, but perhaps the most useful feature is to find what plant is sold at which nursery.  Use the CNPLX Search function to search by scientific or common name.
  • Los Angeles Native Plant Source (LANPS)
    • LA Native Plant Source propagates plants native to the Los Angeles area for its own Southern Oak Woodland garden as well as offering them for sale to the local California native gardening community.  LA Native Plant Source is open during the fall-spring planting season (November–May), Thursday through Saturday, by appointment only.
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
    • Generally, locally grown plants and seeds are considered better: The resources needed to produce the plants are less, the money supports the local economy, the plant genetics are likely to match what best suits the local environment, and interbreeding with wild local populations won’t dilute wild plant genetics.  PVPLC nursery grows plants for restoration purposes, so they put a lot of attention on local genetics.  You can take advantage of excess nursery production and order from them online or in person at occasional monthly sales.  In my experience the online order is more of a sure thing.  See https://pvplc.org/plant-sales/  Orders placed by 2 pm on Tuesday will be available for pickup between Friday at 9:30am and Saturday at 2pm at the Conservancy Office, 916 Silver Spur Road, Suite 207, Rolling Hills Estates, 90274.
  • Sunflower Farms Nursery
    • Sunflower Farms is one to the last few remaining independent nurseries and they happen to have a regular roster of native plants.  In a conversation with Wendy Akiyama, she mentioned that one of their suppliers is Tree of Life Nursery.  17609 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501 (near Artesia and Western)
  • Theodore Payne Foundation
    • Visit the Payne Foundation web site for current information and bookmark it for the encyclopedic native plant database.  It’s a gift to be able to look up most of the plants relevant to native plant gardening.  Their nursery inventory is lengthy, accurate, and updated weekly, which is important if you don’t want to waste a drive to Sun Valley.  As of 5/2022, Theodore Payne Foundation is open Tuesday-Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm for outdoor shopping! Reservations are no longer required, except during our Winter Sale, Poppy Days Sping Sale, Dog Days of Summer Sale, Fall Sale, and Holiday Marketplace.  You can also purchase plants and other items for pick up through their Online Store.  10459 Tuxford Street | Sun Valley, CA 91352
  • Tree of Life Nursery
    • Over forty years ago, Tree of Life Nursery began propagating California native plants with the notion that the developed hillsides and open spaces in the state were in desperate need of returning to their natural, beautiful forms. Today, the nursery supplies a high quality line of over 500 species and varieties for landscaping and ecological restoration at the wholesale level. Located on 40 acres of the historic Rancho Mission Viejo in San Juan Capistrano, Tree of Life Nursery provides a means by which California’s precious flora can return to the land.  33201 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano CA 92675
  • C and S Garden Center
    • C&S Garden Center is the latest addition to the well-established plant grower and wholesale plant provider, C&S Nursery Inc. in west LA.  C&S is a family-owned enterprise, that has served the Los Angeles gardening and landscape trade for over three decades. 4167 Marine Ave., Lawndale, CA 90260

       

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