Disclaimer: This is not an official Nuccio’s Nurseries web site. Their web site is www.nucciosnurseries.com We are friends of Nuccio’s Nursery but do not represent their business. If you have any questions to Nuccio’s Nurseries, please contact Tom, Jim or Julius at (626) 794-3383
Nuccio’s Nurseries, Inc.
3555 Chaney Trail
Altadena, California 91001
Tel: (626) 794-3383
Fax: (626) 794-3395
Nuccio’s Nurseries is a medium-size family-owned wholesale and retail nursery specializing in growing and hybridizing Camellias and Azaleas. Nuccio’s is well known as one of the richest Camellia nursery in the United States in terms of number of cultivars and species available for sale – more then 600. Nuccio’s family is one of the most recognized sources of Camellia and Azalea introductions worldwide.
Nuccio’s Nurseries started as a backyard operation in Alhambra, California by two brothers, Joseph and Julius Nuccio, who obtained a nursery license from the State of California back in 1935.
In 1946 the brother’s father, Giulio Nuccio, bought 40 acres of land in Altadena, north of Pasadena. This is the current location of 6 acres large Nuccio’s Nurseries that is now managed by Julius’ and Joseph’s children – cousin Julius and brothers Tom and Jim. Nuccio’s has total of 13 people – 3 owners and 10 workers.
Nuccio’s has five greenhouses 11×57 feet, one greenhouse 12×60, one greenhouse 9×45 feet and one small glass greenhouse. Four of 11×57 greenhouses and one 9×45 greenhouse have misting systems and are used primarily for cuttings. During the winter they are used for grafting. One 11×57 greenhouse and 12×60 are used for grafting.
Most of plants are grown under large 50% shade cloth. An exception is Camellia sasanqua that can be grown in full sun. Nuccio’s uses manual irrigation for adult plants and misting system for cuttings.
Growing Camellias from cuttings
Cuttings are collected during the beginning of summer (end of June, beginning of July) and put into 50% peat moss 50% perlite in greenhouses under misting systems. Cuttings usually root in 3 months.
After 2-4 more months rooted cuttings are transplanted into 2-inch pots and stay there for 6-9 months. Plants in 2-inch pots should be watered every 3-4 days depending on weather. The potting mix used is 3/2/1 peat moss/topsoil/perlite.
Then young plants are transplanted into 4-inch pots and stay there for another 6 months to a year. Sometimes young plants are moved directly into #1 containers.
Then plants are transplanted into #1 containers and stay there for 2-3 years. At that moment they are available for sale.
Some of plants are transplanted into #5 containers and stay there for another 2-3 years. Tom Nuccio recommends for hobby growers to transplant from #1 to #2 containers before transplanting to #5. Some of the slow growing sasanquas, like Shishi-Gashira, are transplanted from #2 containers to #3 containers.
Plant fertilization schedule is every 6-8 weeks from April through September using Cottonseed Meal, chemical fertilizer Pete Light 20-10-20 or Fish Fertilizer. Convenient fertilization dates to remember are Easter, 4th of July and Labor Day.
Hybridizing and growing Camellia seedlings
Nuccio’s uses mostly open pollinations with some hand pollinations. Camellia fruits ripen in September-October. After fruit breaks, seeds are immediately collected and sown into large #3 containers filled with a soil mix that consists of 50/50 peat moss and sand. Seeds germinate after 6-8 weeks but they don’t come out of the soil until March. They develop very long taproots that must be cut during the first transplantation. Otherwise plants will not be able to grow normally in containers.
Seedlings are transplanted 1 year after sewing into 3 or 4-inch pots and treated just like young plants grown from cuttings.
During its history Nuccio’s introduced over 130 camellia cultivars and over 150 azalea cultivars.
Pest and disease management
Nuccio’s uses Integrated Pest Management. They spray only as needed and use a lot of beneficial insects to control pests. Nuccio’s uses Trichogramma Wasps against larva of moths and caterpillars, Ladybugs against Aphids and Lacewings against soft-bodied insects. Camellia spider mites are controlled using ultra fine oil spray; Hexagon is used to kill eggs of spider mites. Other insecticides and miticides used only on as-needed basis include Talstar, Floramite and Avid.
Nuccio’s has both wholesale and retail sales. The volume of wholesale is somewhat more than the volume of retail. Most of retail sales happen in the nursery rather then through mail order. Nuccio’s ship internationally. Nuccio’s has many cultivars not available in large-volume nurseries. Many Camellia societies order from Nuccio’s for their annual show sales events.
We maintain a list of sasanqua cultivars and Camellia species available from Nuccio’s.