Monday, July 22, 2019

Visiting San Marcos Growers

The final morning of April's Bromeliad Summit, in Santa Barbara, kicked off bright and early at San Marcos Growers, a large wholesale nursery.

This was my second visit to San Marcos, the first was back in 2009. During that visit I was able to buy a small Aloe marlothii which I've grown on to respectable size, starting from just a small 1 gallon plant. I knew we weren't going to be able to shop during this visit. That took a little pressure off I suppose. I was able to just wander and enjoy...

I really wanted to grab one of these and go for a joy ride...

Instead I walked.

The folks at SMG had pulled a lot of their plants in the bromeliad family from inventory and had them displayed up near the offices for our visit; although I didn't see many of the participants actually walking around the nursery. Most just hung out by the auction table.

Deuterocohnia lorentziana

Did I mention we were there quite early? The time stamp on this photo says 7:32 am!

Hey, those aren't bromeliads!

Two plants I torture by growing them in containers; Bocconia frutescens and Sonchus canariensis. It's nice to see them happy in the ground.

You might have noticed the plant names I've shared thus far are all hyperlinked? They're linked to the San Marcos website, which is one of the most useful and trustworthy nursery sites on the internet. Their descriptions and detailed info are excellent. Most of the listings are written by SMG's Randy Baldwin, who was a fellow attendee at the summit, sadly I never got to chat with him. He earned high marks—in my book—way back in 2009 when he commented on my original SMG visit blog post. I'd only been blogging for a few months and it was encouraging, to be noticed like that.

Acacia cognata Cousin Itt on the left, a cart full of protea on the right.

I want to grow all the leucospermum.

Oh hell, all the grevillea too!

Puya coerulea var. coerulea on the left...

And that orange number on the right is Aechmea recurvata var. recurvata.

STOP the echium madness!

Kumara plicatilis, formerly Aloe plicatilis

Plants as far as the eye can see...

Echeveria agavoides 'Lipstick'

Agave celsii var. albicans

Those mountains, I don't think I could ever tire of them.

Agave 'Sharkskin Shoes' 

Agave 'Snow Glow'

Agave asperrima

The display garden...

Agaves on the move!

They have the plant trucking thing down to a science.

This photo makes me think 1970's California, and yes, those staghorns are mounted on the sides of plant boxes.

I've wandered back up by the office now...

Mangave madness! I think the one with the bright pink tones is Mangave 'Kaleidoscope'

Hechtia 'Silver Star'

Unknown Hechtia (?), cleaning the debris out of these plants must be fun...


The tag on this one says Orthophytum lotusland

Neoregelia 'Hannibal Lecter', maybe

x Sincoregelia Galactic Warrior


Agave attenuata 'Variegata' 

Phylica pubescens and Cordyline 'Electric Flash'

What a visit! So many magical mysterious things all around...

Weather Diary, July 21: Hi 91, Low 58/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. You must have been in heaven, what a fun place to walk around and covet every plant. I have to admit, the one Mangave I really want is 'Kaleidoscope.' I love those pink tones.

    1. When grown a little on the stressed side, its color can't be beat!

  2. It was the perfect way to kick off the last day of the Bromeliad Summit. Great plants, great people, and great breakfast, too, courtesy of San Marcos Growers.

    1. How rude of me, I forgot to mention the breakfast.

  3. They should have a small "Bed & Breakfast" on the grounds. You would have enjoyed a few days of exploring this giant place. All plants look pristine!

    1. As Gerhard reminded me (above) there was breakfast, although I doubt it's an everyday occurrence.

  4. SMG is my go-to source for plant information too. Although many of the garden centers I visit are retail outlets for their plants, I've yet to find a Hechtia or many of the more uncommon succulents and bromeliads they grow offered locally. What's up with that I wonder?!

  5. The scale of the operation is mind-boggling esp. as I wasn't expecting it based on your first photos. Those leucospermum look like candy; so pretty and sugary to my eye.

    1. It is HUGE! And surprisingly (wonderfully) low on the fancy/shiny meter.

  6. So many awesome plants - good thing they aren't retail! ;)

  7. 7:30 a.m.--that is impressive; I don't think I could do it. Maybe for plant-shopping, though. ;-) All those lovely Agaves and Mangaves!

    1. And to think we'd had to drive a bit to get there too. It's amazing what plant lust will do to a person.

  8. Great photography and a fascinating tour. I consult their plant info regularly and often wonder what the nursery looks like. Now I have a good idea, thank you.

  9. You're killing me, Loree.

  10. Ah, California - heaven and hell. Heaven to visit all those plants happily growing in the ground; hell to realize that they're not as hardy here. Love SMG website and also refer to their plant descriptions often. What a delight to visit the nursery again!


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