Succulents and Cacti at the Huntington Library Gardens

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.

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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!

20 Responses to Succulents and Cacti at the Huntington Library Gardens

  1. Beautiful pictures. My son lives in CA and I went once it’s a amazing place. He goes there a lot with his daughter they love it there.

  2. Beautiful pics of the Huntington Gardens. Thanks for sharing. I’m traveling to Southern California this summer, is there a fee to get in?

  3. I am so envious of your recent visit and really enjoyed seeing photos of all those gorgeous cactus. We went several years ago and were hoping to go this week when we were in So Cal.However, the incredible rains drove us away. We were camping and the conditions were just impossible. Another year I hope.

    • It’s too bad you couldn’t make it this time. The rain has been crazy down there! I have a few friends who are worried their gardens may die from so much water.

  4. I am fortunate enough to live near the Huntington. Around this time of year the succulents are in their glory, showing off their flowers (if they have them). They also do a monthly class for teachers who want to teach gardening in schools. A colleague and I have gone to that workshop and it’s wonderful! Nothing succulent specific for that class, but I did get a great pic which I posted on Instagram last year of the Crassula falcata in full bloom.

    • Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! It would be awesome to take their classes. They have an impressive collection of plants.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!! I will look up details and try to go when in Cal.
    PS I love your website and email tips!

  6. The Gardens are just a couple of miles from us and it is as beautiful as your pics show plus more. How fun to “see” the garden from an out of towner. I always want to walk the Desert Garden area when we go. Did you get in the greenhouse? Only open on Saturdays.They also have a yearly plant sale.

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