Friday, February 7, 2020

My visit to Rainforest Flora

During our holiday getaway to the Los Angeles area I had Rainforest Flora on my list as a "would like to visit if it works out" possibility, and luckily, it did.

As you can see from the sign, Rainforest Flora dates back to 1974. Unfortunately I couldn't find any info online that spoke to how old this specific location is.

There is a small, but well planted garden along the street side.

And a row of enticing greenhouses...

...but before we explore inside let's look at the display garden that runs along the side of the parking lot...

I wish I could name this euphorbia, but sadly I am drawing a blank.

This area felt a little off-limits, so naturally I wanted to go back there (I did not).

Instead I kept walking back along the parking lot, doing so paid off big...

If I could put these plants in the ground and have them live...oh my. That would be a game-changer indeed.

Okay, I'm done drooling around the display garden and it's time to see what's for sale...

These beauties were all outside...

This wasn't for sale, it seemed to be something in transition from one place to another, but it was interesting to see. Imagine all those hooks filled with tillandsia.

Okay, stepping inside now...

Since I wasn't sure I would have the time to visit, and if I did it would be right around the Christmas holiday, I didn't try to schedule any grand "behind the scenes tours", but I wish I had.

I asked to use the restroom and ended up in another greenhouse, what looked to be a shipping facility. OMG, the plants! What was here in the showroom was fun, but I feel like it only scratched the surface of what might have been available.

As great as the displays were, I also found myself wanting to add more plants to the "rock" walls. Don't they look a little bare?

Oh they must get questions every day...

There was a huge tillandsia growing space visible just beyond the showroom...

They (the plants) were calling to me...

Interesting info from their website: "Self-Sufficiency in Tillandsia Production: Rainforest Flora, Inc. made a commitment in the early 1980's to try to become self sufficient in the production of Tillandsias. Since the plants take anywhere from six to twenty years to mature from seeds, this was no small undertaking. The amount of financial sacrifice and total dedication to this task was a stiff price to pay that no one who has not gone through it can fully appreciate. We are most proud and yet humble to say that since 1993 Rainforest Flora, Inc. has been completely self sufficient in the production and distribution of Tillandsias. When a company sells some 10,000 of these plants a week we consider it an achievement."... in other words they're not selling plants harvested in the wild. That is impressive!

Unfortunately a lot of the bromeliads were not labeled with their botanical names. This follows with what I see in nurseries up here in Portland, but for some reason I thought it would be different here.

That turtle, so cute as it seems to survey it's empire, its fish filled empire...

Oh! This one had a name, Neoregelia Carolina fluminensis...

No name here.

On the right were flats of tillandsias for sale, they were comparable to what I find at home, so I didn't spend anytime shopping them. However while I was there a guy came in and selected several dozen plants. Given that it was December 23rd I enjoyed thinking he was taking them home to decorate a tree or give as gifts.

Did I mention how much I really wanted to hop the fence and go shopping over there...(the pull was intense!)...

So what did I buy? If anything?

Ya, I couldn't leave empty-handed, I bought this dark neoregelia (that's all the label said, neoregelia). I'm happy to report that it's maintained it's dark coloration for nearly two months now. The light is very different in a greenhouse in Los Angles vs. a basement in Portland, Oregon.

Weather Diary, Feb 6: Hi 59, Low 50/ Precip .02

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Can you imagine what it must have been like for explorers from a different climate to see these kind of plants for the first time? I find them mind-blowing every time you show them.

    1. I can't imagine, but it must have been amazing!

  2. Cool place! The Euphorbia fruit and flowers were interesting. Is it strange to see tree ferns in California? I think of them as needing more water and cooler temperatures. Given what The Potted Elephant recently suffered I wouldn't be surprised if that variegated Monstera has had some unsolicited manhandling from customers.

    1. There are a lot of tree ferns is in California. Of course at Golden Gate Park it seems a natural, but they're gorgeous at the Huntington. This location seemed a little problematic simply because it was right next to a hot parking lot, but I guess there's nothing a little water can't solve.

  3. Great place. If the wall seemed a little bare, the water feature had a display in its center that made up for it. What I wanted most though, was the twisted-knobbed branch; a fantastic vehicle for showing off tillandsia.
    Was that a silver Cycad in the outside garden? My jaw dropped.

    1. Yes there were a few cycads in the display garden, the blue one is my favorite.

  4. It must have been a sweet torture to see so many gorgeous plants and knowing the challenges of bringing them back home. Re: the lack of labels on the Broms. Wonder if they suffer the same fate as many others with tons of hybridizing, so names get lost?

    1. Your point about the hybrids is a good one. And ya, Andrew laughed at me when he saw the one I did buy, as I'd vowed to not check any luggage.

  5. Looks like Epiphyte Heaven to me!

  6. I'm glad you were able to get there, Loree. It's been in that location around 20 years I think. I used to live less than 2 miles from there.

    1. See now living that close would be very very dangerous!

  7. You find the best places to visit. So cool. I admire your restraint in only buying one plant.

    1. Whatever I bought I had to get in my carry-on luggage!

  8. Another place that I will have to add to my list of local-ish places to visit. So gorgeous!

  9. Fun to visit. Glad you had time to squeeze in a visit.


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