Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

While playing tourist in Los Angeles this summer we managed to take a quick visit to the California Cactus Center. I know it seems a bit strange, nursery hopping this far away from home, but I couldn’t resist. The Cactus Center is well known for their exceptional quality and obscure variety. There were so many interesting specimens, I don’t know where to start . Old growth rarities from all over the globe, beautifully staged, it’s truly a living art museum.  It’s a good thing I don’t live here or I might have drained my bank account, fortunately discretion was must. For all my fellow cactophiles, don’t miss this stop if you find yourself in L.A. A short drive from The Huntington Botanical Gardens.

California Cactus Center
Address: 216 South Rosemead Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91107, United States
Phone: +1 626-795-2788
Hours:  10:00 am–4:30 pm

I’d be impressed to see just a few of these incredible specimens, let alone full shelves of them. “What!? you can buy them too!?”

A trio of Pseudolithos. A rare obscurity from Somalia that was thought to be extinct in the 70’s now making a come back in the collections of rare plant enthusiasts.

Look at the size of that Ariocarpus, magnific!

I’m sure you could find at least one thing here you’d fall in love with, if not 20.

A rather lovely specimen of Deuterocohnia sp. You might have not guessed it but this plant is actually a member of  bromeliad family. In time they form these incredible cushions of spiky foliage.  Remarkably prickly, this one is beautifully staged in a bonsai pot.

A nicely staged Faucaria from South Africa.

A succulent fanatics dream, this is the biggest medusoid euphorbia I’ve seen yet.

Euphorbia esculenta (Thanks for the I.D Mike) Such an incredible geometric design.

I’m still impressed.

What is it about strange euphorbias that are so appealing to me. Perhaps the obscure nature in which they grow? This Euphorbia abdelkuri is only found on one island in Yemen. Not often found in collections, with good reason, this plant has been on my wishlist for some time now. It looks like a pillar of rock, so strange!

Last but not least this TRE INCREDIBLE Euphorbia obesa cristate. This is beyond amazing, it’s colors, curves and form a true testament to the wonders of mother nature. Beautifully staged and definitely old growth. Well done Cactus Center…

Well done.

8 Responses to I love the California Cactus Center, Pasadena

  • Candy Suter says:

    Wonderful photos my friend! This is one of my favorite places. I went last summer and next week I will be in South Pasadena and hope to go again! Thank you dear and Merry Xmas!

  • Hello,
    What a great blog about California Cactus Center, I happen to work there, thank you for your enthusiastic blog and for sharing your experience with the world. I also worked for 3 1/2 years in The Huntington’s Desert Garden under Gary Lyons before working at California Cactus Center. The plant you referred to as Tephrocactus is Euphorbia esculenta.
    Thanks again.
    Best Wishes,

  • Tom says:

    I….want/need every single one of those plants. I think I need to remind myself never to visit California with a car or I’ll come home broke.

  • The Victoria Gardener says:

    After visiting the Huntington I found myself particularly partial to the Totem Pole Cactus, Lophocereus Schottii. The cactus center also had these in 4″ pots. Hmmmm.

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.