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A new era for Adelaide Botanic Garden's Palm House

A new era for Adelaide Botanic Garden's Palm House

Date posted: 13 April 2018

Adelaide Botanic Garden’s iconic Palm House – one of the last remaining glasshouses of its kind in the world – will undergo major restoration works this year to revitalise the 141-year-old heritage building and its Madagascan plant collection.

The Palm House will be closed for the works from Monday 16 April until November.

Why is this restoration required?

The 141-year-old heritage Palm House, which underwent its last major restoration in the early 1990s, is showing signs of dampness and corrosion. Major restoration is necessary to ensure its longevity and preserve the heritage building for future generations.

It's just one of a suite of new projects planned for the Botanic Gardens in 2018 to improve the visitor experience and value of the living collections. These include the construction of a teaching glasshouse at Adelaide Botanic Garden’s Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden; the installation of night-lighting along the Garden’s historic Murdoch Avenue; the construction of amphitheatre-style seating in Botanic Park; a new indigenous Flinders Ranges flora display in Adelaide Botanic Garden’s eastern entrance; and the installation of potable water at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

What does the restoration involve?

The restoration involves the removal of unsuitable plants, replacing broken and damaged glazing, treating corroded metalwork, and rejuvenating the living collection with the addition of new rare and endangered plants from Madagascar. It also involves repairing masonry, brickwork and render and subterranean stormwater disposal.

Why will it be closed for so long?

The Palm House was built in 1877 and its age and heritage significance means its restoration requires specialist and meticulous work.

Why are you removing plants from the Palm House?

The restoration will require the pruning or removal of some of the individual specimens that no longer have the room to grow or are not in accordance with the requirements of our Living Collection Policy. Some of the removed plants are being re-propagated at our Nursery for reintroduction to our collections.

What will the plant collection look like when the Palm House reopens?

The restoration of the Palm House provides an opportunity for the Botanic Gardens to review and refresh the building’s Madagascan plant collection, allowing us to display a wider and richer representation of the rare and endangered flora from the biodiversity hotspot.

We'll obtain new Madagascan species from sister botanical institutions around the world, and where possible these plants will be sourced from wild origin material, which increases the conservation value of the living collection.

Madagascar is home to 11,138 native vascular plant species and 83% occur nowhere else on Earth, but about 40% of the island’s endemic species are now at risk of extinction because of habitat degradation.

The Botanic Gardens' commitment to enriching the Palm House's collection highlights our key role in the ex situ conservation of threatened and endangered plants.

Who is paying for this and how much will the project cost?

The Department for Water and Environment and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure will co-fund the $250,000 restoration.

How can I stay up-to-date on the Palm House's restoration process?

Follow Adelaide Botanic Garden’s Facebook page and subscribe to the Botanic Gardens’ e-newsletter.

How can I find out more?

If you have more questions, you can submit them to our Director by emailing

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