Rancho Soledad Nurseries, with 25 acres under production, offers exotic plants from a palette that spans the world’s ecosystems.
Founder Jerry Hunter was born to be a nurseryman; his parents owned San Diego’s famed Rosecroft Gardens on Point Loma. With a degree in Ornamental Horticulture from UCLA, Jerry founded Mt. Soledad Nursery in 1954, adding 25 acres in rural Rancho Santa Fe in 1960. Twenty acres in Hilo, Hawaii, were acquired in 1980.
Jerry was the dean of California landscape architects, holding license #33. He was responsible for many plant introductions such as rhapis palms and Rancho Soledad was among the very first nurseries to build an in-house tissue culture laboratory and send researchers around the world to collect new species.
Since Jerry’s passing in 2012 the nursery has been maintained by his daughter and owner of Rancho Tissue Technologies, Heather May. She has an extensive knowledge of plants and has been at the forefront of scientific advances in the field of tissue culture for 35 years. Rancho Soledad relies heavily on tissue culture because this allows for standardized, clean and large quantities of true-to-type plant material.