In the Sonoran Desert’s unique climate, there are only so many plants that can survive in this tough environment.
Luckily, there are amazing nurseries and plant stores in the Valley suited to help provide and educate people with their vast array of indigenous Arizona plants. Here are some of the most unique and luscious nurseries across metro Phoenix.
Plant Stand of Arizona
6420 S. 28th St., Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | Saturday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Starting off in southern Phoenix along a dirt road lined with tree nurseries, open green fields, and a backdrop of South Mountain, is the Plant Stand of Arizona. On the 15-acre plot of land, every corner is blooming with flowers, bushes, and other greenery. While a large portion of the nursery is rows of small trees and multi-gallon bushes—like a 15-gallon bougainvillea bush for $90 and an assortment of local citrus trees to choose from for $139—there are still plenty of smaller, affordable potted indigenous plants to look for in the Plant Stand’s vast selection.
Among the rows of bushes, the Plant Stand has a huge selection of desert plants. Ranging from huge 15-gallon Golden Barrel cacti for $130 to tiny 2-inch assorted succulents for $4, the Plant Stand is flush with local lush. Guests can browse the different shapes and sizes of aloe, eucalyptus, yucca rostrata, prickly pear cacti, echinocacti, and senita cacti. And for your plant, the nursery has an enormous portion of their shop dedicated to pottery. The Plant Stand of Arizona is certainly a place that a plant lover wouldn’t leave empty-handed.
1025 Grand Ave., Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Located along Grand Ave is the popular espresso bar and plant nursery hybrid storefront Pueblo, which is also known for being a chill study spot in downtown Phoenix. When first walking in, guests are greeted by the fresh smell of wet dirt and a few large leaves already poking out from their dangling pots to brush against. Nearly every inch of Pueblo is covered in green, beautifully crafted pots, or local art.
However, the main showstopper of the store has to be their outdoor garden. Pueblo’s small, shaded oasis offers seats for guests to quench their thirst at the Caffio espresso bar cart while seated among fresh ferns, the extended branches of their large trees, and dozens of tiny potted plants to browse among while walking beneath the garden lights. Indigenous plants sprawl across the Pueblo shop, from their array of tiny barrel cacti, to towering stenocereus cacti, to small potted Parry’s agave, to desert spoon bushes. It’s certainly worth the stop whether you plan on staying for the coffee, like I did, or not.
4647 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. | Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located in the Arcadia neighborhood alongside beautiful mountainside houses and tucked away underneath the shade of historic red river gum eucalyptus trees is Berridge Nurseries. This 21-acre plant nursery teems with twisted vines, huge shaded trees, and a greenhouse across a gravel path and small cyan bridge, all with an incredible backdrop view of Camelback Mountain. Before even stepping through the entrance gate, shoppers can browse shelves of small potted fruits, veggies, and herbs like Italian oregano, mint, kale, carrots, chives and beets.
Following the trail through the shaded gardens, guests can check out the portion dedicated to indigenous flowers, agaves, palms, and, naturally, cacti. Berridge plants are also affordably priced—my roommate and I were eyeing plants ranging from a large Golden Toothpick potted cactus for $50 to a tiny 2-inch Donkey’s Tail succulent soil cup for $7.50. Broken up into sections consisting of in-season gardening, citrus trees, herbs, rose bushes, bonsais, and many more, there’s a little something for everyone to check out or even just enjoy walking through.
Dig It Gardens
3015 N. 16th St., Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you’ve ever noticed a certain plant on the side of the Arizona freeway and thought how lovely it might be in your own backyard, Dig It Gardens might be the place for you. Located in central Phoenix, the Dig It Gardens are hidden behind a large stone mural wall and a large Dig It purple van filled with even more plants. Once guests make their way toward the outdoor lobby and greet the cats that have adopted the place as their own, they’re free to browse the inside or outdoor selections of plants. On the inside, guests can find gardening tools and closed cases of specially tempered greenery, but the outside gardens are where the larger selection of indigenous plants are.
In Dig It’s shaded oasis is a lush garden consisting of large vine posts, potted trees and bushes, and, of course, an entire greenhouse dedicated to succulents, cactus, aloe, and other prickly plants, as well as a smaller shaded area for shrubs, herbs, and fruits and veggies. Dig It Gardens has a selection unlike any other garden, as it consists of crazy cacti like the scrunched up Myrtillocactus and the prickly twisted towers of Euphorbia ingens. They also carry some of the softer indigenous plants suited for the Arizona climate like the Goldylocks Mexican sunflower, the perennial Damianita daisy, some vibrant Mexican honeysuckle shrubs, and Jerusalem sage—all ranging from $20 to $25. Gardeners finding it difficult getting plants to take to the Arizona weather can definitely benefit from shopping at Dig It Gardens, but it’s an incredibly priced and open environment for any plant lover to check out and enjoy.
Whitfill Nurseries Inc.
820 N. Cooper Road, Gilbert
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. | Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Located in the East Valley are the tucked-away gardens at Whitfill Nurseries, one of the few locations in the Valley. Immediately out the gate, guests are greeted at the parking lot entrance by giant metal sculpted dinosaurs, a theme across the property where several other beautifully twisted and painted metal decor is on sale. Preparing for Christmas, Whitfill Nurseries has started to roll out the amazingly scented fir and pine trees in a section of their own. But beyond the trees, intricately woven throughout the rows of clay pots and multi-shaped bird baths, are natural, native plants.
Beneath the shade of Argentine sesquite trees and a metal brachiosaurus statue are rows and rows of various agave, cacti, aloe, indigenous grasses, and a few unique potted plants like the colorful, coral-like Firesticks Euphorbia. Around Whitfill’s chicken coop and various fish ponds is the cool, shaded greenhouse filled to the brim with easily thriving houseplants. The greenhouse, which also included a parrot cage, was chock-full of hanging, potted, and growing luscious plants. Whitfill Nursery offers a wide range of native greenery like large potted Yucca Cane and tiny Parry’s agave plants as well as unique plants like the oddly shaped hybrid Euphorbia Sunrise or the prickly Pachypodium all the way from Madagascar.
17826 N. Tatum Blvd. # 2, Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Located further into the mountains near the Windsong area is SummerWinds Nursery. A property made up of a few small warehouses and a handful of large shaded greenhouse areas, SummerWinds has a vast selection of greenery and local plants to choose from. Stretching across nearly every side of the entrance are colorful floral caches leading up to larger rows of trees and multi-gallon prickly plants. With friendly faces going up and down the aisles in their notable blue SummerWinds shirts, employees were happy to lead the way toward the sectioned portions of indigenous plants, ranging from least to most amount of water needed.
While some plants are easy to grow in harsher climates, like the frequently planted Pachypodium lamerei palm from Madagascar or the popcorn cassis plant native to Africa, the best plants capable of growing are typically indigenous to the Southwest. At SummerWinds, they have a decent variety of garden shrubbery like lush native Deer Grass, pink fairy duster plants with fuzzy pink flowers, and potted prickly green Desert Spoon plants. And thankfully for local gardeners or plant lovers just trying to keep something alive in this climate, there are plenty of helpful note cards across the property that detail the ideal growing conditions for plant.
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