San Francisco’s Oldest Garden Store

Aside from its rich history, Clement Nursery is also known for its inventory of particularly resilient and tough plants. The nursery sits just a few blocks from Baker Beach, basically in the harshest of city environments. “We specialize in plant material best suited for the Richmond District—species not minding the coastal winds and extra frigid temperatures. Fortunately for us, if a plant can survive here, it will thrive anywhere in the Bay Area.”

Clement Nursery at times feels like someone&#8\2\17;s private garden. Here, the blurry line between the nursery and a neighboring cottage.
Above: Clement Nursery at times feels like someone’s private garden. Here, the blurry line between the nursery and a neighboring cottage.

Focusing on sustainability, the nursery offers a selection of California native plants that have low-water needs once established. The nursery also carries drought-tolerant species from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand—places that have a similar climate to California. “We use large soaking trays to water as much of the inventory as possible, so that there’s no water wasted in the process,” shares Phillip.

Clement Nursery is a resource for native California grasses.
Above: Clement Nursery is a resource for native California grasses.

What plants are trending at the nursery? Not surprisingly, houseplants are popular. Roughly 30 percent of their space is dedicated to tropical houseplants, with a huge greenhouse for climate control. Top sellers: the families of Dracaena and Ficus, including Dracaena Massangeana, Dracaena Janet Craig Compacta, Ficus lyrata, and Ficus decora.

The indoor spaces at the nursery are filled to the brim with popular houseplants. Photograph by Kier Holmes.
Above: The indoor spaces at the nursery are filled to the brim with popular houseplants. Photograph by Kier Holmes.

In landscape plants, hardy hellebores for winter color and colorful fuchsias sell well in the shade section of the store. In the fern section, staghorn ferns are always trending, plus all varieties of maidenhair ferns. In their full sun section, phormiums and cordylines are very popular due to brilliant colors and low-water needs. “A favorite Cordyline is a newer introduction: ‘Charlie Boy’, which sports leaves striped with red and pinks,” says Phillip. And both California native and non-native Salvias are constantly desired due to their ability to attract pollinators.

The exterior of Clement Nursery. Photograph by Kier Holmes.
Above: The exterior of Clement Nursery. Photograph by Kier Holmes.

Their best sellers, though? “Our top selling plant, year over year, in sheer quantity, are succulents.”

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