California Native plants are a specialty item for most nurseries. Some retail nurseries devote a certain area to them, but others have them mixed in amongst other plants. Take the information printout sheets from your Southern California Heritage Gardening CD or My Planner and present them to your local retailer.
If they do not carry the plant you desire, often they can order it from a number of wholesale native plant growers. It is our hope that if the demand for these wonderful plants comes from you, the homeowner and other site owners, the chances are far better that retail nurseries will stock these plants more regularly.
The Plant List section of the CD and the Web site contain a list of native plants that are most commonly available. You will have more success finding these native plants than other natives.
The key to securing these plants is to be persistent. Specialty ordering is a big part of the retail nursery business. Also be flexible. Many times an alternative native plant would work just as well as the one you desire or perhaps better.
Some of the major native plant wholesale growers have hours of the week when they are open to the general public. These hours are limited and their growing grounds are typically off the beaten track. But the time you spend driving to the nursery will be worth its weight in gold when you discover the variety, personal service, knowledge and camaraderie in the native plant world.
Native plant sales are another resource. Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the Theodore Payne Foundation, to name a few, have annual plant sales and some have a small walk-in nursery operation.
Another option is mail order. A few growers here in California ship native plants by mail.
Consult the GardenSoft Web site for more specific information on finding native plants.