Our glasshouses have been standing their ground since 1902. They are constructed from Burmese teak and they have survived two world wars. We have a long history of glasshouses at Chelsea Physic Garden and they are not to be missed on your visit. The first solid-fuel, heated Stove House was built at the centre of the site in 1680. This pioneering technology allowed controllable heating and venting, enabling Gardeners to grow new tender species, such as citrus, year round.  The current glasshouses support many genera.

The Tropical Corridor

This wonderfully named glasshouse is hot, humid, well-lit and perfect for frost-tender species from around the world. The temperature never falls below 15 degrees year round. You’ll find important food, medicinal and useful plants from the equatorial regions growing here. It's home to exotic edibles such as coffee, papaya and black pepper alongside staple food crops such as Oryza sativa (rice).

The Cinchona pubescens  is the source of quinine, an anti-malarial compound and the flavouring in tonic water. It’s native to South and Central America including Jamaica from where Sir Hans Sloane brought its life-saving compounds to England in 1688. Quinine can prevent and cure Malaria. It is thought that Cinchona pubescens has been grown at the Garden for at least 300 years.

Atlantic Islands Glasshouse

The Garden grows over 150 plants from the Atlantic Islands of St. Helena, the Azores, the Canary Isles, Cape Verde and Madeira. The most frost-tender of these plants are grown under glass to ensure the warm, dry conditions they have evolved to survive in. Many of the plants in this collection are under threat in the wild, and the Garden strives to maintain these species and a gene bank of their seeds to ensure future survival.

You’ll also find these plants along the warmest wall of the Garden in the Islands Endemic Flora.

Pelargonium Collection

We’ve housed a Pelargonium collection for over 300 years. By 1724, the Head Gardener noted some 50 species. These plants hail from Southern Africa, Australia and Turkey.

The Cool Fernery

Thomas Moore was Head Gardener between 1848 and 1887, and he was a Fern expert, indeed at the time Pteridomania  (Fern-fever!) was rife in Victorian society. The diverse collection of ferns reflect his interests.  Species from New Zealand, China,  Japan, Europe and the Americas grow in this cool, humid, shady glasshouse. This glasshouse also aims to demonstrate the evolution of plants from water to land.

Southern Hemisphere, Carnivorous & Cactaceae Collection

Various glasshouses display the Garden’s collection of cacti, succulents, carnivorous and Southern Hemisphere plants.  Did you know that Cacti have a myriad of uses in traditional medicine, food, faith and day to day life? Jojoba oil, popular in moisturisers, is derived from the desert plant Simmondsia chinensis. Carnivorous species are grown in a display with mosses and ferns to demonstrate the capacity of plants to adapt to their environment.

The Southern Hemisphere collections focusses on beautiful, useful and medicinal plants from southern Africa, Australasia and South America.