Otto and Sons Nursery: Inspiring Green Thumbs and Lush Gardens for Generations


Discover. Learn. Connect.

Otto and Sons Nursery: Inspiring Green Thumbs and Lush Gardens for Generations

July 3, 2024
CA Grown Creators

Meet Them Here

Read Bios »
Eat the Season!
Sign Up For Weekly Recipes
Eat the Season!
Sign Up For Weekly Recipes
« Back to CA Grown Blog
Otto and Sons Nursery: Inspiring Green Thumbs and Lush Gardens for Generations

Otto and Sons Nursery: Inspiring Green Thumbs and Lush Gardens for Generations

Nestled in the heart of Fillmore, California, Otto and Sons Nursery has grown from a modest family operation into a renowned destination for garden enthusiasts and landscape professionals alike. Known for its extensive selection of roses and other plants, this nursery offers both a rich history and a vibrant present. It is a place where visitors can immerse themselves in a world of greenery and growth. We recently had the opportunity to visit their operation and speak with Scott Klittich, CEO.

sign outside of Otto and Sons nursery in fillmore

Roots of Growth

The seed for Otto and Sons Nursery was planted in 1976 when Otto and Jeanne Klittich started the nursery on a small, leased plot. Initially, they focused on growing trees and selling container plants. They quickly outgrew their leased plot in the San Fernando Valley, and purchased 38 acres in Fillmore, just north of Los Angeles, officially starting Otto and Sons Nursery with their sons, Bob, Bill, Scott, and Karl.

“At the time [the property] was all full of oranges. And so we would take out five acres of oranges at a time and put roses in, or landscaping plants,” says Scott. “Eventually we switched into roses and more edibles — more fruit, plants, and stuff that is more marketable to the garden centers that we ship to throughout California.”

Otto, with a background in agricultural studies and a deep passion for landscaping, soon steered the nursery towards specializing in roses. In the decades since, the nursery gained prominence for its high-quality rose bushes, which remain a cornerstone of their offerings today.

“We have over 800 varieties of roses. Any kind from miniatures to hybrid teas and grandifloras and floribundas, climbing roses, tree roses, all different flavors, all different colors, except blue,” Scott informs.

drone shot of all of the plants at otto and sons nursery

Family Owned and Proudly Grown in California

Since its inception, the nursery has expanded significantly. They now operate on 28 acres of their land, with 10 acres remaining in oranges. Otto and Sons continues to thrive under the leadership of the Klittich family, with a focus on sustainability and community engagement.

Scott, who now runs the business with his wife and two younger sons (his oldest son works for a large avocado grower), got his start in agriculture when he was a boy helping out his dad. He then went to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and earned a degree in nursery management. He and his family have been involved in 4H and Future Farmers of America. Scott is a board member of the Farm Bureau for Ventura County and is very involved in many other community organizations.

“My son Andy takes care of our trucking, deliveries, HR, all of our office stuff. He also has his Crop Advisor’s License so he helps us out with our groundwater management issues,” says Scott. “My youngest son Timmy is our jack of all trades. He’s the Chief Operations Officer, takes care of nursery management, and production management, and oversees the greenhouse, the propagation there.”

Scott’s wife Cindy takes care of the display garden at Otto and Sons, deadheading, weeding, trimming, and blowing. They also have three grandkids who love to help out. “It’s quite a fun family to be in,” he says proudly.

A Verdant Oasis for Visitors

Today, Otto and Sons Nursery is a haven for both amateur gardeners and professional landscapers. Visitors to the nursery are greeted by rows upon rows of vibrant plants and roses, from beloved classics to modern hybrids. The nursery also prides itself on its selection of drought-tolerant plants and California natives, reflecting the local flora and as well as the community’s growing interest in sustainable gardening.

In early 2020, the team planted a one-acre display garden to illustrate different ways their plants can be used in landscapes. 

“We took half the space, took a half acre, and it’s a formal English rose garden. Nice straight lines, very parallel items, just to show that kind of architectural style of landscape designing. And the other half-acre we call California Casual…where you can walk down a pathway, and it’s a little surprise where you bump into things,” says Scott. The space also features a koi pond and a covered patio with picnic tables and a grill.

Both stunning gardens are open to the public for visitors and occasional special events. “It’s fun to see people enjoy it. They’ll come bring their lunch and they’ll enjoy lunch. Bring their kids and check out different designs and ideas,” enthuses Scott.

The new gardens have also been used for local Rotary, 4H, and Boys and Girls Club events. And given its beauty and proximity to L.A., it sometimes serves as a film location for commercials.

Shopping at Otto and Sons is an experience in itself. Knowledgeable staff are always on hand to guide customers through the selection process, offering advice on plant care and landscape design. The nursery’s layout encourages leisurely strolls through diverse plant collections. It’s easy for visitors to envision the possibilities for their own gardens.

Educational Outreach and Seasonal Classes

small potted fruit trees in bloom

Committed to fostering a love for gardening in the community, Otto and Sons Nursery offers seasonal gardening classes that cater to a wide range of interests and skill levels. From rose care workshops in the spring to succulent gardening in the summer, these classes are designed to empower individuals to cultivate their own green spaces effectively. The fall season often features fruit tree care, helping locals prepare their orchards for the coming year.

“We do classes on how to prune roses in January, talking about how to prune, where to prune, what to prune. We’ll have a class for berries and citrus. We do another class on how to take care of your roses in summertime. That’s always a problem in our place,” says Scott. “It gets hot. What do you do when it gets hot with plants?” 

Green(er) Thumbs

Scott understands the value of preserving the land for future generations. At Otto and Sons, they have implemented many sustainable measures into both their business and their farming practices. “Sustainability is very important to all of us in trying to manage the farm and the nursery. In our situation, we use a lot of recycled products. We use leftover rice hulls from the rice industry, redwood shavings which come from the sawmills up in Northern California, and local gravel and sand. So we try to keep pour inputs local as best we can,” he explains. They also compost all of their trimmings.

demonstration landscape garden at otto and sons

Beyond Retail: A Robust Wholesale Operation

While Otto and Sons is beloved by local garden enthusiasts, their operation extends well beyond retail. The nursery’s wholesale business is a critical part of their model, supplying quality plants to landscapers, garden centers, and other nurseries throughout California. This side of the business emphasizes the nursery’s commitment to quality and reliability, ensuring that a wide range of clients can benefit from their horticultural expertise.

The nursery also boasts a 3,000 square-foot climate-controlled propagation house. “Many of the roses we do propagate are non-patented, which means they’re not licensed. They’re free and they’re open to be able to make more of. And so we’ll propagate those as we need,” explains Scott.

“But there’s a lot of varieties that are patented, more current varieties, of course. And we get those from our vendors up in the Central Valley. Primarily Wasco is the area where the roses come from. Wasco is the rose capital of the world,” he shares.

The Future is Flourishing

As Otto and Sons Nursery looks to the future, they continue to innovate and expand their offerings while staying true to their roots. Plans are underway to include more eco-friendly and water-wise plants, reflecting the nursery’s dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Visitors to Otto and Sons can expect not only to find a plant that suits their needs, but to leave with a deeper appreciation and understanding of gardening as a sustainable practice. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a novice looking to start your first project, Otto and Sons Nursery provides the plants, knowledge, and inspiration necessary to transform any space into a flourishing garden.

“During Covid, it was really nice to see so much excitement about people getting in their homes and gardening. It was really great for our business. It is wonderful to be an essential industry. But I hope that fire that people found then, is still there and they can get in the garden and see the joy that the garden brings — a vegetable garden, a fruit tree in your backyard, a rose plant that you can collect roses to bring into your home to enjoy as a bouquet. All those things are just so enjoyable and it gets you away from the chaos that’s outside your home,” says Scott.

Owner Scott at Otto and Sons nursery

It’s impossible not to be inspired by both Scott’s passion for his work and for the beauty of the nursery itself. Otto and Sons Nursery remains a cornerstone of the Fillmore community, growing alongside the gardens it helps to cultivate. See it for yourself; it’s totally worth the visit.

Visit Otto and Son’s Nursery

sign advertising fruit trees for sale at otto and sons


1835 E. Guiberson Road
Fillmore, CA 93015
(805) 524-2123

More California Nurseries to Explore

Article written by Alison Needham for California Grown. Images by James Collier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New Member Sign Up

Your participation is appreciated. Please fill-out the form below and a Buy California Marketing Agreement (BCMA) representative will contact you. Or, you may contact the BCMA at

Download Pdf Form

Licensing Sign Up

Your participation is appreciated. Please fill-out the form below and a Buy California Marketing Agreement (BCMA) representative will contact you. Or, you may contact the BCMA at 916-441-5302.

Certification Mark Licensing Agreement Service Mark Compliance agreement