The Guide to Los Angeles for Plant Parents
Nurseries, botanical gardens, bookstores and more
Los Angeles is a paradise for plant parents. Whether you’re shopping for plants, accessories and tools, books, or just looking for sheer inspiration and expert advice, it’s all here. From nurseries to botanical gardens, plant design studios to restaurants and bookstores, we explore horticulture havens in the City of Angels.
A five-acre ornamental garden and rest stop for Griffith Park hikers and equestrians, Amir’s Garden was begun in 1971 by the late Amir Dialameh. Driven by a fervor for nature born in the Alborz Mountains of his native Iran, he toiled for more than three decades with a pick and shovel, six or seven days a week, to transform a barren and fire-ravaged landscape into today’s lush, shaded grove. Over those many years, Amir planted pine and jacaranda trees, rose bushes, geraniums, oleander, and yucca. He terraced slopes, built stairs, and erected brightly colored benches. Since Amir’s 2003 passing, his verdant gift to Los Angeles has been maintained by hardy volunteers. (Sign up to volunteer here.)
Avalon Nursery & Ceramics
On what was once a dusty corner lot in South L.A., owner Maria Luz Lopez has gradually built Avalon Nursery & Ceramics (5334 S Avalon Blvd, Los Angeles 90011) into a literal urban jungle over the past three decades. The bustle of Avalon Boulevard fades as you delve deeper into its rows of citrus and mango trees, aromatic sage and native shrubs, roses, ceramic pots and more, all accompanied by birdsong incongruous to the city surrounds. Started by Maria from the back of her car, Avalon is about as far from a corporate big-box nursery as it gets - chaotic and in many ways casual, yet with sufficient inventory to keep even the most prolific of plants people happy for hours.
California Cactus Center
A family-run business for more than 35 years, California Cactus Center (216 S Rosemead Blvd, Pasadena 91107) is SoCal’s preeminent specialized nursery for cacti and succulents. Known for its vast variety of common and hard-to-find specimens from all over the world, it also supplies local municipalities, universities, and the nearby Google campus. The five Thongthiraj sisters who operate the business are both incredibly friendly and uniquely knowledgeable, having worked in the nursery founded by their parents since childhood. California Cactus Center is just 10 minutes from incredible cactus and succulent collections at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and at Huntington Library Botanical Gardens, completing the ultimate trifecta for lovers of desert landscaping.
Located in Eagle Rock, Folia Collective (5052 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles 90041) has been the friendly go-to boutique for local plant parents since 2016. Founder Danae Horst runs the place like a passion project, bringing with her the rare knowledge that only a lifelong fascination can fuel. Her bright and sleek storefront offsets its greenery with stark white walls and plain wood shelves that really emphasize the colors and varied forms of the flora within. Folia sells not only curated plants, but also planters, tools, hardware, and watering equipment. But it’s perhaps the genial advice from Danae and her staff that sets the place apart – and can make the difference between truly home-enhancing foliage and a few withered stems in sad pots.
Green Thumb Nursery
The family-owned Green Thumb Nursery dates back to 1946, and it shows in truly specialist staff and old-school customer service which contrast sharply with those of big-box home improvement stores. Nothing is too much trouble at Green Thumb, and there always seems to be someone on duty who is knowledgeable on your plants or project of choice. If they don’t have a particular plant in stock, they’ll swiftly order it, and they only accept specimens from wholesalers that meet their unusually high standards. While their yard décor items may be a little cheesy, it’s Green Thumb’s nurseries and their staff that make this a place a gardeners’ go-to for life.
- 21812 Sherman Way, Canoga Park 91303
- 23734 Newhall Ave, Santa Clarita 91321
Located in Sawtelle Japantown on the Westside, Hashimoto Nursery (1935 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles 90025) is now in its third generation of family ownership. Opened by the four Hashimoto brothers as O.K. Nursery in 1928, the business closed during World War II when two of the brothers were interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center. After the war, they were able to reopen as Hashimoto Brothers Nursery. Current owner Yotaro Hashimoto told Discover Nikkei, "They were able to do that thanks to some Mexican acquaintances who looked after the nursery during the war."
Hashimoto Nursery continues to offer a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants, including seasonal annuals, perennial shrubs and groundcovers, succulents, vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, sod and houseplants. There's also an extensive ceramic pottery selection (Asian, Italian, Egyptian and Mexican), cement containers, wooden planters and more.
The Huntington Store - The Huntington Library
The Huntington Store is the retail outlet of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino 91108). For plant parents, it’s a paradise of garden-related books, tools, housewares, ornaments, novelties, and even jewelry. These are not everyday garden store staples, but instead rare finds and great gifts for anyone who regards yard work as a passion.
The Japanese Garden
A tranquil Valley oasis, SuihoEn: The Japanese Garden (6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys 91406) is currently closed for maintenance and scheduled to reopen in a limited capacity in early 2022. Comprising multiple exotic and evocatively-named gardens, The Japanese Garden also boasts waterfalls, bridges, and traditional outdoor lanterns. The Garden of Water and Fragrance is reflected in its serene reclaimed water, while the Karesansui (dry garden) is a setting for deep reflection. Three levels of waterfalls symbolize heaven, man, and Earth; the Three-Buddha Stone Arrangement represents a mythical island of immortals. A very real island amidst suburban L.A., The Japanese Garden also hosts special events, exhibitions, and workshops.
The Juicy Leaf
With its focus on originality and creativity, The Juicy Leaf in Glassell Park (2614 Arthur St Ste B, Los Angeles 90065) is perhaps the quintessential SoCal plant boutique. The manifestation of the lifelong dream of founder Felix Navarro, specialties here include unique designer terrariums and succulent arrangements, manzanita sculpture, handmade pottery, and glass, plus a curated selection of vintage furniture and objects. Backing his belief in singular and eco-friendly alternatives to traditional flower and plant arrangements, Felix utilizes living succulent plants and contemporary glass vessels. The Juicy Leaf also provides in-home consultations, workshops, private planting parties for special occasions, and DIY succulent kits complete with step-by-step videos. Delivery is available within the L.A. area.
Latinx with Plants
What started in 2019 as an Instagram account sharing plant-related memes and gardening ideas became, within a year, a brick-and-mortar storefront in Boyle Heights.
Latinx with Plants (2900 and 2117 E Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles 90033) is crammed with cactus, pothos, ferns, monsteras and much more. But there’s more to Latinx with Plants - it aims to build a more equitable community through plants, including spreading ancestral plant knowledge to combat the environmental racism that plagues brown and black communities. Owner Andi Xoch attributes her passion for horticulture to fond childhood memories of cost-saving family trips to parks and hiking trails and strives to pass that sensation along to budding plant parents everywhere.
Los Angeles Flower Market
Founded in 1921, the Los Angeles Flower Market (754 Wall St, Los Angeles 90014) is located in the heart of the Downtown LA Flower District - the largest wholesale floral district in the country.
Open to the trade and the general public, the five-acre Market features a 55,000 square-foot main floor with 50 vendors offering more than 125 different varieties of cut flowers, along with an impressive portfolio of related foliage and floral accessories. A pioneer of sustainability, the Market installed rooftop solar panels to all eight of its interconnected main buildings in 2011.
If you’re wondering why a bookstore is featured in a gardeners’ guide, you’ll find the answer the moment you step into Lost Books (2233 Honolulu Ave, Montrose 91020). That's because you enter through an incredible plant tunnel comprising 365 specimens of Swedish ivy, spider plants, live moss, bird’s nest ferns and more, made even more magical by embedded twinkling lights. Any déjà vu is due to Lost Books being the sister store to The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA, famed for its Instagram-ready book tunnel. Lost Books is the brainchild of Jenna Spencer, wife of Last Bookstore owner Josh Spencer. She enlisted Yuko, proprietor of Yuko Kitchen (across from The Last Bookstore) to craft the plant tunnel - Jenna admired that eatery’s prodigious gathering of hanging plants.
Mickey Hargitay Plants
Mickey Hargitay Plants (1255 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles 90038) is a full-service nursery specializing in indoor tropicals, cactus, and succulents, along with spadefuls of enthusiasm and advice. If the name sounds familiar, Mickey Hargitay is the son of the eponymous actor/Mr. Universe and screen legend Jayne Mansfield, and brother to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay. While his kin reached for the stars, Mickey Jr. kept his feet on – and sometimes in – the ground. Evolving out of an earlier business selling then-trendy macramé, he opened his first store in Echo Park in 1980 and is now in a converted bungalow on Fountain and North Sycamore - a fixture amidst an otherwise much-changed Hollywood.
Openaire - LINE LA
Occupying a former atrium atop Koreatown’s ultra-hip LINE LA hotel, chef Josiah Citrin’s Openaire restaurant (3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90010) serves seasonal dishes with touches of Asian flare amidst greenhouse-like surrounds draped in hanging plants. This airy escape features the fragrant likes of rose geranium and Jerusalem jasmine in baskets overhead, with the cascading greenery continuing onto its stunning poolside patio, with views of soaring surrounding skyscrapers. Opened by the Michelin-starred Citrin in 2018, Openaire is definitely pricey. But for foodies who also love foliage, its unique setting is worth considering for special occasions, or just for a break from the concrete and steel amidst a stellar collection of plants.
The Original Farmers Market
The Original Farmers Market has welcomed generations of visitors and locals alike to "Meet Me at 3rd & Fairfax" since 1934. The landmark open-air marketplace features more than 100 produce stands, specialty foods, and retail shops - many merchants have been family-owned and operated at the Market for decades.
- Dewy Flowers - located on the Market Plaza next to Marmalade Cafe, specializing in terrarium plants in various sizes and shapes as well as fresh cut flowers.
- WildFlora - floral design expert Alexandra Scholtz specializes in stunning floral arrangements while also offering a wide variety of plants, gifts and home decor.
The Plant Provocateur
Based in Silver Lake, The Plant Provocateur (TPP) is perhaps the ultimate expression of COVID-era plant shopping. Formerly a pop-up marketplace and then a word-of-mouth physical store, TPP pivoted during the pandemic into an online plant shop that offers contactless pickup and local delivery. A true "biophiliac," Hank Jenkins is not only an avid plant producer and hunter, but is also a published gardening author and featured speaker.
He posts upcoming pop-ups on IG (@tpprovocateur) and his latest offerings online as they become available, which could be daily, weekly, or monthly. Quantities are usually limited and the carefully curated selections flow like the seasons, so when you see that perfect TPP specimen posted, grab it fast!
This long-running Atwater Village boutique far transcends just “plant store.” Also offering extensive outdoor décor, workshops and lectures, and landscape design services, Potted (3158 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles 90039) should be one of your first stops when planning a backyard refresh or patio upgrade. Houseplants, air plants, cacti and succulents share this colorful and beautifully laid-out store (one of the owners is a former art director) with a carefully curated and decidedly eclectic array of fountains, fire pits, garden art, outdoor furniture and rugs, pottery, solar lights. From kitsch to cottage, vintage to modern, Potted is a prime spot for both original pieces and the creations of other unique artisans.
Derived from the Korean word meaning "oxygen," SANSO is a Lincoln Heights-based plant design studio specializing in rare species and handmade ceramics. SANSO’s specialty is pairing their rare and unique plants - grown from seeds or cuttings in collectors’ private greenhouses - with ceramic ware crafted in their own studio. Far beyond these offerings, their goal is to share information to help inspire creativity, self-expression, and a meaningful connection to the natural world. SANSO's retail location is temporarily closed in response to COVID-19, but contactless curbside pickup is available on all online orders and by appointment - plants can also be delivered within Los Angeles.
Sarah Cotta Plants
Glendale’s first boutique plant store, Sarah Cotta Plants (401 N Verdugo Rd, Suite A, Glendale 91206) shuns the snobbery that so often accompanies “boutique,” instead welcoming everyone from beginners to seasoned aficionados. Even if you’ve never so much as touched a garden trowel, “Sarah the Plant Lady” and her knowledgeable staff will provide the tools and tips to discover your inner green thumb. Sarah Cotta Plants seems to carry it all in its well-ordered, unpretentiously cute corner premises, from popular indoor plants to rare and exotic specimens and species that’ll set your project apart. There are also plenty of pots and well-chosen gifts for the plant parents in your life, and all at fair prices.
South Coast Botanic Garden
Established 60 years ago, South Coast Botanic Garden (26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes Peninsula 90274) is something of a miracle, as the first such institution to be developed over a sanitary landfill. South Coast Botanic Garden is an oasis of themed gardens particularly rich in plants from South Africa and Australia - this lush, 87-acre botanical garden in the Palos Verdes Hills boasts more than 150,000 landscaped plants and trees from around 140 families, 700 genera, and 2,000 species. Aside from its long and bumpy driveway, this masterpiece of land reclamation barely betrays its unlikely past. Today you can lose yourself for hours amidst its ginkgos, pittosporums, flowering fruit trees and Coast Redwoods, with ducks, geese, and herons for company.
Located on the edge of Thai Town, Stuff (5659 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles 90028) is a curated shop of indoor plants and locally made/found goods. This small, quaint, and well-organized space manages to cram in an incredible array of cute plants of diverse sizes, as well as related accessories, gift items, herb bundles, and a small selection of clothing. Things will likely cost you more here than at a faceless big-box chain, but Stuff owner Belle Dankongkakul is both charming and expert, adding a personal touch to every purchase that has become increasingly hard to find. Plants from Stuff just seem "happier" somehow, and Belle can always steer your selection based on your intended environment and aesthetic desires.
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants
Theodore Payne was ahead of his time - an L.A. nurseryman and conservationist who long ago saw the beauty (literally and metaphorically) of native plants in urban SoCal environments. Established in 1960, the Theodore Payne Foundation is a nonprofit devoted to the understanding, preservation, and horticultural use of California native plants. Its 22-acre headquarters (10459 Tuxford St, Sun Valley 91352) comprises a full-service native plant nursery, book and seed store, art gallery, demonstration gardens, and hiking trails open to the public year-round. If you’re still battling to keep a thirsty lawn green against all the odds (and nature), this is the place for inspiration and education about low-water alternatives.
Founded in L.A. in 1973 by teen activist Andy Lipkis, TreePeople is a nonprofit environmental organization that inspires and supports everyone to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes. Since its founding, TreePeople has involved more than 3 million people in planting and caring for more than 3 million trees.
Volunteer events include tree plantings, site restorations, and Work Days at TreePeople's 45-acre headquarters in Coldwater Canyon Park off Mulholland Drive.
UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
Founded in 1929, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden (707 Tiverton Dr, Los Angeles 90095) is a unique “living museum” at UCLA that features thousands of plant species from all over the world. Initially boosted by a state drive to create jobs during the Great Depression, today the 7.5-acre garden is a diverse educational resource, an important research site, and simply a fascinating (and free!) sensory overload for anyone with even a casual interest in plants. Its frost-free location allows for tropical and subtropical species, including dedicated collections of palms, eucalyptus, ferns, and figs. This tranquil and inspirational botanical garden is open daily, with guided tours available on the first Saturday of every month.