Home Places to visit Birmingham Botanical Garden’s Subtropical House review

Birmingham Botanical Garden’s Subtropical House review

Tibouchina urvilleana, the glory bush
Tibouchina urvilleana, the glory bush

Bask in the eternal summer of the glasshouses

A gem for gardeners to visit in the Midlands is Birmingham Botanical Gardens (you’ll find my post on the early autumn borders here and on the tropical house here).

The extensive glasshouses were my favourites and I decided to cover each one individually – perfect inspiration for summer.

The four glasshouses – Tropical, Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid are arranged in climatic zones and are packed full of plants that are interesting to the non-gardener.

Welcome to the subtropical house!
Welcome to the Subtropical House!

Educating on the benefits of plants

There’s an emphasis on education and pointing out the importance of plants from each region to us. In this house, you can see pineapple, tea, cinnamon, rice, peanut and sugar cane.

The Subtropical House leads on from the Tropical House and it’s a breath of fresh air, despite being so warm – the humidity is much lower.

Formerly the Palm House, it’s the largest glasshouse, built in 1871 at a cost of £1,634. There are four special collections of plants here:

Fern collection

These live on the shadier north side, including the epiphytic stagshorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum), the Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum) and Dicksonia x lathamii, a tree fern raised by a curator in the 1870s and the only plant of its kind in the world.

Cycad collection

These ancient conifers, fern-like in appearance, were the dominant vegetation 100 million years ago, but are now limited in distribution and habitat.

Carnivorous plants collection

A display of carnivorous plants from temperate climates includes sundews, butterworts, pitcher plants, Venus flytraps and bladderworts, all of which trap and digest small insects.

Orchid collection

The largest family of plants, with more than 17,000 natural species. Both epiphytic types which live on trees in tropical woodlands and soil growing types are on show.

Opening hours

  • The gardens are at Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TR, open every day, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day, from 10am.
  • From October to March: Doors close at 5pm (at dusk if earlier).
  • Christmas Eve: doors close at 3pm.
  • April to September: Doors close at 6pm weekdays and 7pm weekends (at dusk if earlier).

For more information and special events, visit www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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