5 Bay Area nurseries have the plants you’re looking for — orchids, palms, and more

5 Bay Area nurseries have the plants you’re looking for — orchids, palms, and more

Ornaments and plants are on display for customers at Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville. Morningsun, like other family-owned nurseries, has a diverse selection of plants but specializes in certain plants that cannot be found elsewhere.

Sure, you can go to your favorite home improvement store and pick out the plants that everyone grows. But if there’s something special — something unique — you just have to have it for your garden. Nothing compares to local nurseries, and the Bay Area boasts plenty of them.

While it’s true that big-box stores, which often offer plants at discount prices, have led to the collapse of many family-owned businesses, the nurseries that survived did so with smart pivots: they expanded their selection of plants and focused on specialty plants, such as herbs , orchids, California natives, Asian plants and palms.

These are some of our favorites.

Rows of brightly colored orchids are on display at Bay Area Orchids in Half Moon Bay. (Randy Vasquez/Bay Area News Group)

Orchids Bay Area, Half Moon Bay

Family comes first at Bay Area Orchids, where Juan Manuel Aguilares, his wife, Maria, and their three sons work hard to “cultivate healthy plants and happy minds.”

“It might sound a little corny,” says Jesus Aguilaris. “But all we care about is love and family ties. We pay a lot of attention to what we do, and you can see that in the plants. They are raised with love.”

After working for years in the sugarcane fields of his native Mexico, Juan Manuel moved to the Bay Area in 1997 and was immediately drawn to some of the most elegant and mysterious flowers on the planet—first while working at Half Moon Bay Orchids and then ePlant World.

When the latter went bankrupt last year, he boldly started a new venture on the same site.

“I love the whole process of growing plants and teaching my children how to grow orchids,” says Juan Manuel. “I feel happy when the plants start to flower.”

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