If you’re looking for a beautiful garden to tour in Southern California, be sure to stop by the Hunting Library and Gardens. You’ll find succulents and cacti galore along with other amazing plants.

On a recent trip to Southern California I paid a visit to the Huntington Library and Gardens to check out their Desert Garden. I had heard a lot of great things about it, but I was completely blown away.

The photos of the Huntington Desert Garden are amazing! So many beautiful succulents and cacti!

I easily spent two hours roaming through a huge variety of stunning succulents and cacti. It was so fun to see all of them “in the wild,” as opposed to potted like I’m used to.

When you first walk into the gardens though, you will find a great display of potted succulents. I loved the rainbow of colors in these Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ and Aloe.

This Graptoveria Fred Ives and Aloe have amazing colors!

Aloe, Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’

These Sempervivums were huge! At least 6″ across. I love the contrast with the variegated Aloes in the back.

Purple Sempervivums with variegated Aloes and flowing Sedums

Sempervivum, Variegated Aloe, Sedum

In fact, everything seemed incredibly large to me. It’s so different seeing “full grown” succulents instead of just the 2″ or 4″ plants I usually work with.

Giant Aloes with blue-green Senecio succulents

Aloe, Senecio mandraliscae

Crassula falcata - aka Propeller Plant

Crassula falcata

Echeveria elegans - Mexican snowball succulent amon the rocks at the Huntington Desert Garden

Echeveria elegans

A major theme throughout the garden was repetition. Since most succulents reproduce easily on their own there were seas of succulents. I loved seeing all the rosettes packed tightly together. The forms and lines they created as a whole were amazing!

An Aloe in the middle of Portulacaria afra

Aloe, Portulacaria afra

This Aeonium haworthii succulent is amazing!

Aeonium haworthii

Stunning colors and repeating forms from Aeoniums at the Huntington Gardens

Aeonium hybrid

Amazing coloring on Aeoniums

Aeonium hybrid

This Agave has such amazing smooth leaves and repeating forms

Agave attenuata

It was also quite common to see succulents growing out of the rock walls. Succulents really can grow anywhere! The colors were enhanced by the stress of growing with little soil and water.

A true rock garden with a variety of succulents

Aloes and Haworthia

Amazing! Succulents growing out of a rock!


The cacti were definitely putting on a show as well. These barrel cactus seem to be one of the most photographed parts of the Huntington garden. They are even more impressive in person.

Golden barrel cacti at the Desert Garden of the Huntington Library and Gardens

Echinocactus grusonii

What an incredible grouping of cacti!

A stunning show of cacti flowers

A few cacti blooms hiding between columns

I can't believe how colorful these succulents and cacti are!

This cactus flower is incredible!

This is definitely a garden you can plan a trip around. Like I said earlier, I easily spent two hours just in the Desert Garden, but it is just a small section of the garden. You can also find amazing plants in the other specialty gardens such as the Australian Garden, Chinese Garden, Rose Garden, Subtropical Garden and many more. I can’t wait to go back again!