The best place to get plants is your local retail plant store, as you can see the item and pick one that looks like it is in good shape. However, living in northern California it can be hard to find tropical and semi tropical plants. ALWAYS get citrus or avocado plants / cuttings from official sources – disease is a big problem. Try the Citrus Clonal Protection Program if you need scions. Otherwise talk to your local retail plant store manager about finding particular varieties.
Check various ecological colleges / community colleges that have plant sales and might be doing tropical / semi tropical starts in a greenhouse.
Check with the local chapter of California Rare Fruit Growers as they will likely have plants available that members have propagated, or know where to go locally to get unusual plants.
Ebay has a large number variety of tropical plant sellers, of varying degrees of quality. Check feedback, see if they are selling grafted varieties or just generic ‘seedlings’ as you will almost always want the named grafted variety for it’s known qualities.
I have ordered from:
- Treasures of the Tropics – five plants
- Genuine Protection – pitomba, arrived in good condition.
- CHIK – dragon fruit cuttings, arrived in good condition
- Florida Hill Nursery - pineapples, arrived in good condition
toptropicals.com a good online site, a little pricey but have ordered from them before and plants have all survived.
If you make it to Southern California at all you will want to check out Excotica just for the experience even if you don’t buy anything. Mimosa is also fantastic if you are in LA, as is Papaya Tree (appointment only)