Plant lovers: Oh, yeah, it’s hot, but August has at least 13 worthy green-thumb events

A close-up look at Tephrocactus geometricus on display.
Expect the weird and wonderful, such as this Tephrocactus geometricus cactus, at the 35th Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale Aug. 6-8 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

It’s summer in Southern California, so, yes, it’s bloody hot, but it’s still a good time to learn about building better soil, caring for fruit trees, pruning native plants and sharpening your garden tools — which are going to get plenty of work in the coming months.

Many of these August events are outdoors, so slather on the sunscreen, grab a wide-brimmed hat and carry a water bottle. If you’re looking for some air-conditioned plant fun, check out the otherworldly plants at the Comic-Con of the cactus world — the Inter-City Cactus & Succulent Show.

Email your garden and plant-related events to at least three weeks in advance of the event and we might include them in the calendar.

Hide and Seek — Art Meets Nature at the South Coast Botanic Garden gives garden visitors a chance to seek out eight hidden sculptures — six on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — while exploring the 87-acre gardens at 26300 Crenshaw Blvd. in Rolling Hills Estates, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last permitted entrance at 4:30 p.m.). You can download a list of the sculptures and their location in the garden online. Free with $15 admission to the garden ($11 for seniors and students with ID, $5 for children 5-12 and free to children under 5 and members).


Aug. 1, 15 or 29
Fruitstitute’s Citrus 101 Workshops at Arlington Garden, 275 Arlington Drive in Pasadena, will teach participants how to care for backyard citrus trees using regenerative gardening practices — that is, gardening techniques that nourish and replenish the soil. Each Fruitstitute workshop includes lessons on the seasonal care of citrus trees plus two to three hours of hands-on instruction in pruning in the garden’s citrus grove. Fruitstitute is a Los-Angeles based company dedicated to teaching Angelenos how to care for their backyard fruit trees and grow quality fruit. Each workshop is a complete session and costs $50 with advance registration.

Aug. 6-8
The 35th Inter-City Cactus & Succulent Show & Sale at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia, is billed as the largest cactus and succulent show in the United States, drawing plants from around the world and visitors from all over the country. The show was canceled last year due to COVID, but this year it returns, with vendors selling cactus and succulent plants, as well as pots and other supplies all three days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gawkers should plan to visit the judged show, which is only on Aug. 7-8, featuring the most bizarre, exotic plants you’ve ever seen. Even beginners can enter a cactus or succulent for judging on Aug. 6. Entry to the show is free with $15 admission to the Arboretum ($11 seniors and students with ID, $5 children ages 5-12; children under 5 and members enter for free), but advance online registration is required for nonmembers.

Aug. 7
August Drop-in Tour at the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. A garden educator will offer a free guided tour of the 7.5-acre gardens, with stories about its many collections of plants — such as cycads, bromeliads and native plants of California and Hawaii — and their relevance to humans. The tour begins promptly at 1 p.m. at the La Kretz Garden Pavilion, 707 Tiverton Drive in Westwood. Advance registration is required.

Family Tour of Sherman Library & Gardens is an hourlong walk through the gardens led by an expert guide with a narrative designed to engage children and adults. The tour starts at 11 a.m. at 2647 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar and is free with $5 admission to the garden (free to members and children 3 and under). Registration is required.

Restoring habitat at the Los Cerritos Wetlands is a volunteer event hosted by the Aquarium of the Pacific to restore habitat at the 66-acre wetlands by collecting seeds from rare plants, planting varieties native to the region and removing invasive non-natives. Takes place the first Saturday of every month through Dec. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers should meet at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and 1st Street in Seal Beach at 10:15 a.m. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Closed-toe shoes are required; hats and sunscreen are strongly recommended. Water will be provided, but this is a plastic-bottle-free event, so bring your own reusable water bottle. Registration is not required.

Aug. 11
Shining and Sharpening Your Garden Tools is a two-hour workshop starting at 10 a.m. at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. Participants should bring three garden tools to clean and sharpen during the class. They will receive instruction in caring for their tools and a personalized tool maintenance kit to use at home. The class fee is $60 ($50 for members).


Aug. 12
California Native Container Plants is a class offered by Flora Ito, sales manager of the Theodore Payne Foundation nursery, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at the nursery, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley. The class offers tips on the best native plants for containers and for creating habitat for pollinators like butterflies and bees as well as a guided walk through the nursery. Masks are mandatory on the nursery grounds, and participants are encouraged to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes for walking on uneven surfaces. Full water bottles and sun protection are also recommended. Tickets are $25 ($20 for members). Register online.

Aug. 14
Soil Regeneration at Arlington Garden, taught by Lynn Fang, a specialist in soil and compost ecology. The hourlong class starts at 10 a.m. and discusses techniques for composting, building soil and the ecology of gardening, with an optional hands-on workshop after the class for people who want a deeper understanding of soil health and regeneration, at Arlington Garden, 275 Arlington Drive in Pasadena. Tickets are $20.

How to Take Photos of Hummingbirds is a 10 a.m. workshop at Roger’s Gardens nursery, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar, taught by photographer Steve Kaye. The class will provide tips and tricks anyone can use to photograph perched and flying hummingbirds and will feature more than 120 of Kaye’s photos. Advance registration is required. Tickets are $10, with $5 donated to the Sea & Sage Audubon Society.

Aug. 19
Growing Indoor Plants the Easy Way is a class taught by Sherman Library & Gardens horticulturist John Bishop about the best way to keep your houseplants healthy with the right watering, light and pest control. The class runs from 10 to 11 a.m. at the garden, 2647 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. Tickets are $15 ($10 for members) and registration is required.

Aug. 21
California Native Plant Garden Maintenance: Summer Tasks is a workshop sponsored by the Santa Monica Mountain Fund that begins with a short tour of the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch, 26876 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. The class runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and includes instruction in summer installation of native plants, how and what to prune, deadhead and shape during the dry season, correct hand-watering methods for established plants, and how to identify and collect mature seed. The workshop is free but requires advance registration. Attendees should be prepared to stand for more than two hours in the sun, so bring a water bottle, sunscreen and hat.

Aug. 26
Native Plant Maintenance Basics is a walk-and-talk class taught by Erik Blank of the Theodore Payne Foundation, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Blank will walk participants through the foundation’s demonstration gardens, discussing ways to care for native plants during the summer, when many become dormant and brown. Participants should wear long pants and closed-toe shoes for walking on sometimes steep and uneven terrain; full water bottles and sun protection recommended. Masks are mandatory at the nursery. Tickets are $15 ($12 for members), and advance registration is required.