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Interpreting the power of plants

Help us spark visitor curiosity by telling the stories of our amazing glasshouse collections. We have designed a new layout and approach to planting that allow people to experience the whole plant life cycle, moving our Propagation House (where our plants begin their life) out from behind the scenes.

The Hothouse Challenge will raise funds for new displays and interpretation, so we can shine a light on horticultural science and let you see things through the gardener’s eyes. We want to highlight the relationship between plants and people, reflecting the living history of the cultures and communities of our plants origins. With your support we can champion our unique history, the power of plants, and our role in plant conservation.


Every donation of £100 and above will be matched by the JCBT up to a total of £500,000. Ends 31 March 2021

#raisethetemperature #hothousechallenge

Designing a garden for all

We want to inspire visitors and provide better engagement through experiences. You can help us create more inclusive activities and opportunities so people, regardless of socio-economic status, background, heritage, or familiarity with horticulture, can enjoy the glasshouses.

The funds raised by the Hothouse Challenge will support a work experience and internship programme, and generally involve young people in the Garden’s work. We are planning open days for the local community and, for the more experienced, a plant conservation conference. We will develop new digital and audio content to provide access for national and international audiences. The glasshouses will feature in all these activities, with your support in the restoration having improved access, interpretation, and opportunity.


Interactive Map

Use our interactive map of the restored Glasshouses to find out more about each collection and how we share these with visitors.


Click a Glasshouse to discover more

Tropical Corridor Pelargoniums Atlantic Islands Southern Hemisphere Propagation Cold Frames Nursery Pit House Cool Fernery

Tropical Corridor

The Tropical Corridor allows visitors to experience our rainforest plant collections. This is our hottest glasshouse and is maintained above 15 ̊C year-round. The diverse uses of plants - food, medicine and commercial – will be a key feature of the new displays.


Chelsea Physic Garden was one of the first places in the country to grow Pelargoniums. The collection dates to 1724. Visitors will learn about plant classification, plant families and how hybrids are created.

Atlantic Islands

Our Atlantic Islands collections are uniquely adapted to their habitats and many are endangered. The local flora is very susceptible to environmental changes and habitat loss, and visitors will find out more about this important topic.

Southern Hemisphere

This glasshouse brings together plants from the Cape Floral Region in South Africa - one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. The new interpretation will illustrate the importance of ecology and our role in protecting plants.


For the first time, visitors will be able experience and understand the whole seed-to seed-life cycle. Our role in plant reproduction and the journey of seedlings and cuttings from potting shed to planting will be explained.

Cold Frames

Cold Frames are used to protect young plants against frost as a step between their journey from the Propagation House to the Nursery. The frames act has temporary housing for plants that no longer need the protective environment of the glasshouses.


Propagated plants grow in the Nursery until they are suitable age or size to be planted in the wider Garden. In the winter months visitors can enjoy the sight of the Nursery full of snowdrops ready for Heralding Spring trail.

Pit House

Semi-sunken beneath the earth to extend the growing season, this glasshouse is warmer in winter and cooler in summer. The collection includes succulents known as living stones and the Welwitschias Mirabilis, which - with no known plant relatives - are ‘living fossils’.

Cool Fernery

This glasshouse displays some of the earliest plants to grow on earth - some of which were collected to extinction during when Victorian ‘Fern Fever’ struck Britain. The fascinating story of plant evolution will be told in new displays.

Help us raise the temperature – be part of the Hothouse Challenge

All donations welcome until 31 March 2021, those of £100 and above will be matched by The John Browne Charitable Trust up to a total of £500,000

If you would like to donate by cheque please make payable to The Chelsea Physic Garden Company and send it to Fundraising, Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HS. Alternatively, if you would like to make a bank transfer please get in touch with us directly.