Driving up Rosemead Blvd. yesterday, a little something caught my eye. Succulents. Lots and lots of them. I gasped and pointed and we immediately turned around to check out the little shop. What we had “discovered” was the California Cactus Center. And it was heaven.
My interest in succulents and cactus goes back to when we first moved to California in ’81 and lived in the boonies. This was back when West Covina was still 213 and grass was something you saw in pictures. And kids them days respected their elders, sonny! I learned that our climate was ideal for growing these plants and we did have fun watching these plants grow slowly. FF a couple of decades and now I have sunlight and a backyard, two things the Fairfax District apartment I called home for 8 years serverely lacked. One of the first things I did as a homeowner was get some succulents. Not just because of my obsession, but also because of the water shortage thing. Oh and I’m lazy…I don’t like watering and can’t figure out the automatic timer. That works well with the succulents since they only need water about once a week, if that.
We parked in the small lot a the California Cactus Center and was immediately struck by the large offering of their stock. These are the the large cactus, euphorbia, crassula and aloes that you see gracing the front yards of some of the older homes in Los Angeles.There were plants for sale here that I’ve only seen at the Arboretum or Huntington Library.
From Rosemead Blvd., it looks like a rather small shop, but as you wend through the aisles, you’ll find more nooks and crannies of more plants. The store is huge, with every available surface covered in succulent goodness. What you see in the photo above is about a fourth of what is offered.
The California Cactus Center sells everything for the beginner to the avid collector. There is soil, fertilizer and mulching (rocks, tumbled grass, etc) for sale. There are several containers for almost any taste and size. The shop owners are also extremely helpful and knowledgeable leading you to the right plant for your local and tending needs. Just be ready to bring your “checkbook, credit card, mo’ money” because these things ain’t cheap. A few of the plants we wanted ran $80 – $300. Some of the smaller versions of the same plants were hovering around the $25 – $50 for 5″ pots. We did wind up buying some plants, but they were small and in 3″ pots.
The shop is located at 216 S. Rosemead Blvd. in Pasadena. They’re 7 days a week 10am – 4:30pm.