A trip to Annie's Annuals to see what's in stock

Last week I received an update from Annie's Annuals - an item on my wish list was in stock. I think it must have been 2 or 3 yrs ago that added anything to their wish list so there was a bit of mystery involved as I opened the email. "Aloe africana! I wonder what else they've been growing?"

Time for a visit - it's less than an hour away if we leave early enough to avoid traffic. As an extra enticement Annie's was in the middle of a 20% off sale.

First stop at Annie's - the succulent section


( all of these pictures were taken from my phone at mid-day so... )

Yucca gloriosa variegata


Yes - I bought a Yucca gloriosa. This will be my first Yucca because growing up in California and seeing them everywhere I previously found them a bit 'yucky'.

Aeonium nobile


Interesting right? Maybe it's just me but I've never seen this plant before. I'm not entirely sure I really 'like' it - but the odd, fleshy, warty leaves convinced me to add one to the cart.

More Aeonium nobile

Puya alpestris


I remember seeing a Puya in bloom for the first time and being somewhat confused... the flowers just looked unreal and I'd never seen anything like it before. I definitely added one of these to the cart.

Puya venusta

Dyckia "Brittle Star"


Confession - I do not own a single Dyckia. I meant to pick one up but must have been distracted.

Aloe alooides

Tree Aloes for some reason are one of my favorite plant categories AND Aloe alooides was on my "want it" list so I was very happy to see it offered for sale that day.

Young Aloe alooides close-up


It will take years to grow big and strong. Of course that's what I thought about Aloe vaombe when I bought one 2 years ago in a 4" container just like the ones below. Now it's 3.5' x 2.5' in the ground and continues to grow like weed with several pups bigger than the original plant.

Young Aloe vaombe

Aloe speciosa

Another tree aloe on my 'want it' list - at this point I was very happy.

Aloe africana


I already have an Aloe africana planted in my backyard - at least I thought I had one but it does not look this plant.

Aloe cooperi

Sedum "Lime Zinger"

This shot doesn't do the "lime" in "Lime Zinger" justice. I like this plant for a ground cover and use it in my backyard. Unfortunately the deer like it too and so I can't use it in the front yard.

Agave ovatifolia "Frosty Blue"

Ah yes, ovatifolia a favorite of many. I have some planted already but was still tempted...

Ok - let's quickly check in on how some of the landscape succulents (and supporting cast members) are growing in the beds at Annie's.


Looking Good.

You can checkout but never leave?


Along the walls are the occasional towers shown above. When combined with the razor wire they feel distinctly like guard towers and remind me that Richmond is not the safest of towns.

Aeonium nobile


Hopefully the little guy I bought will grow up to be big and strong like this specimen.

Looking away from the succulent area toward the checkout area

Approaching the Annie's shade area

Annie's always seems to have several types of Verbascum - a favorite of my wife.

My partner in crime

She tolerates my style of dry gardening and maybe even likes a few of the Aloe's - but being a Kiwi means her gardening heart lies elsewhere.

Golden Feverfew

I'm relatively new to Feverfew having just planted some last year - to my surprise it's done well in our sometimes hot and windy yard. In fact it's done a little too well - I didn't read the label and assumed it wouldn't grow very big - wrong.

Classic, axial views make plant shopping that much more enjoyable!

Years ago (pre-succulent craze) when I first saw plants from Annie's at my local nursery I was impressed by their array of interesting, unusual Salvia and Penstemon. I still associate Annie's with Salvia.

Salvia canariensis

Some Salvia make nice companion plants for Aloes and Agave because of relatively low water needs + contrast in texture and leaf shape. There is a new Salvia canariensis already in my front garden which should help keep the deer away.

Salvia argentea

Salvia sclarea "Piemont"


One of these Salvia sclarea is now living in our backyard.

Penstemon eatoni


We didn't end up buying the above but have bought other native Penstemon's in the past. They took a few years to get established but have since provided a consistent show of color.

Nepeta tuberosa (catmint relative)

The sign had me at 'Mediterranean climate', 'drought tolerant' and of course the purple flowers. Picked one up to tuck between a few agaves.

Annie's - CA native plants section

Our haul for the day


ok, this picture above of our selected plants is pretty bad - but I think you should still be able get an idea of what we took away. By this time it must have been past 1pm and we were both famished. On the way home we stopped off for a quick bite on 4th street in Berkeley.

A much needed lunch break

I of course just highlighted the plants that caught my attention (Aloe alooides and Aloe speciosa being the best finds) - but there's soo much more. I've found the succulent section at Annies to be hit or miss depending on what they decided to propagate the previous year. This year seems to be a hit!

Happy Planting

Update Sept 2019

Salvia canariensis after just 2 months in the ground!


  1. I would be in SERIOUS financial difficulties if Annie's was less than an hour's drive away. Although a couple of my local garden centers carry a small selection of Annie's plants, I get most of mine by mail order. In fact, I took advantage of the sale they had running this month and ordered 8 more, which should be delivered later this week. I have a lot of Annie's plants, including some of those you mentioned in today's post (the Yucca, the Aeonium, and the Salvia). My collection includes a different Puya, P. berteroniana. Planted more than 5 years ago, it's alive but still small, possibly because I forgot about it and allowed an Agave desmettiana to grow up virtually on top of it. The agave is now in bloom and, once its gone, I'm hoping the Puya will take off.

    May all your new purchases prosper.

    1. Neat that you also have the Aeonium nobile. Have you had it for long? Be curious to hear how fast it grows. The Puya is completely new to me- has your's ever bloomed?

    2. I have 3 Aeonium nobile, all from Annie's. I wouldn't say it's a fast grower but the oldest (almost 5 in the ground) is hefty. My poor mistreated Puya is still small and hasn't produced a bloom but then it's mostly covered by a large Agave. I've heard they can take years to gain sufficient size to bloom but I've seen them in flower at the Huntington. The flowers draw a crowd.

  2. It's been a few years since I've visited Annie's, and I can't imagine how much trouble I could get into if I could plant everything you can in the ground and have it live. Such a fabulous nursery.

    1. thanks for reminding me that I'm lucky to garden where I do... sometimes I think about selling out, moving to Oregon and buying a few acres!

  3. Fun visit! If I lived close my garden would be overflowing and my wallet empty.

    Aloe aloodies has been painstakingly slow in my garden, one of the slowest ever, but very healthy.

    Aloe speciosa is touchy here. watch for aloe rust and keep the center of the rosette dry as possible during winter. I use systemic fungicide as soil drench in the fall to get it through the winter looking good. Africana can be touchy, too.

    Aeonium nobile is extremely pretty in mostly shade or in sun in cool coastal conditions. along the beach hotels in Cambria some big gorgeous specimens! mine flowered after 4 years but left me a single offset which is now blooming a year after the parent. Have not gotten any seedlings--they don't usually offset at all.

    Puya/Dyckia--they are lethal to care for. Sliced myself up good getting rid of the Dyckia. Puya still on the slope--I don't go near it.

    1. Thanks for the very practical advice. I didn't buy a Dyckia but when I do I'll be sure to put it out of the way of everyday traffic - same strategy for the Puya which is still in it's 4" pot. A bit disappointed to hear that A. alooides is a slow grower - I was hoping it would be an aggressive grower like A. thaskii or vaombe. Excellent tip about fungicide etc.


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