Greg Starr, owner

About Starr Nursery

An Overview

Starr Nursery is a mail order nursery specializing in cacti and succulents and especially Agaves. We are located in the desert Southwest, which has a great climate for growing xerophytic plants. We have been in business since July of 1985 and have been traveling to Mexico in search of exotic plants ever since we opened our doors. Agaves have been a passion since 1990, and because Mexico is the center of diversity, we continue traveling there to learn more about them.

We have a wide variety of unusual, hard to find, and sometimes never before offered species of Agave that are native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. We are always out looking for unusual forms and even undescribed species of Agaves. With that said, starting with Agave ovatifolia which Greg and José Ángel Villarreal-Quintanilla described in 2002, Greg has described a total of six species and one subspecies of Agave.

All the plants are identified to the best of our abilities using Agaves of Continental North America by Howard Scott Gentry, and the latest publications of recently described species. If you are not familiar with this book, it is the “Bible” for Agave enthusiasts. It was originally published by the University of Arizona Press in 1982 reprinted in 1998, and is still available through the University of Arizona Press.

Expanding Literature

The literature on Agaves and similar plants has recently been expanding quite rapidly. Since Gentry’s seminal publication in 1982, numerous other authors (and now recently including Greg Starr) have embarked on updating, refining, and expanding the existing literature on plants native to the greater Sonoran desert region. A good reference for horticultural information is the book Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants by Mary Irish and Gary Irish, published in 2000.

Since the Irish and Irish book was released there have been 5 more books published on agaves, 3 leaning more towards the horticultural aspects and 2 more regional specific.

Starr Nursery’s Contributions

In 2009, Greg entered the world of literature as an author with the publication of Cool Plants for Hot Gardens. As of this writing, Cool Plants is currently sold out and is in the republishing process for its new and improved second edition. There are no longer any copies of the first edition available through our online catalog. However, Greg spent two years rewriting and with his son Brian redesigned Cool Plants for Hot Gardens which was just published and is now available. You can click on the link which will take you to the page.

Greg’s second book, Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers (Timber Press, 2012) has already sold more than 2,000 copies in the first year it’s been out and is now available as an e-book. This publication expands on the existing literature by the inclusion of recently described species and some lesser known ones, updating the horticultural information on some more well known ones.  All books when purchased through our website will be autographed by the author.