Cabrillo’s Green Thumb

October 18, 2017 Posted by: Adam Taylor

Did you know Cabrillo National Monument has a greenhouse? We do! We use it to grow many of our hundreds of native plant species to be used for restoration efforts. The greenhouse is run by a dedicated group of park staff, interns, and volunteers. 

Heliotropium seedlings
NPS/Adam Taylor - A batch of Heliotropium seedlings

Prepared flats being planted with Mission Manzanita seeds

NPS/Adam Taylor - Prepared flats being planted with Mission Manzanita seeds

Currently there are around 2,000 plants of ~30 different species being grown from seed and cuttings. Some of these plants are fairly common species like Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia), Coastal Sagebrush (Artemisia californica), and Black sage (Salvia melifera). These more common species are used to fill in areas that have been disturbed and need help to establish before invasive weeds take over. But we also grow several species that are less common and have special needs that might not be occurring at the park. One such plant is the Wart-stemmed Ceanothus (Ceanothus verrucosus). This plant requires a heat treatment to simulate wildfire which has not occurred at the park for over 100 years and would likely be put out very quickly to avoid damaging the park or neighboring navy installations. Other plants like our Shaw’s agave (Agave shawii) and Mission Manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor) are a bit more of a mystery as to why they will not grow wild, but are successful in our greenhouse. 

Rows of 1 gallon plants ready for restoration

NPS/Adam Taylor - Rows of 1 gallon plants ready for restoration

Our greenhouse team is constantly learning new tips and tricks to make our young nursery plants thrive. Each step in the growing process has its own requirements. From putting seeds through required cold and/or hot phases, to soil and water requirements for seedlings it demands persistent diligence to keep our restoration efforts moving.

With the rainy season just around the corner the greenhouse staff is preparing to switch gears from seed collecting and growing to digging holes and putting last seasons plants in the ground. Come on rain!!!!!!!

Greenhouse, Restoration, Natural Resources

Last updated: October 18, 2017

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1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, CA 92106


619 523-4285

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