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Palm House

Palm House

The Palm House is an exquisite, painstakingly restored Victorian glasshouse imported from Bremen, Germany in 1875. It is thought to be the only one of its kind still in existence – must-see at Adelaide Botanic Garden.

The Palm House was designed by German architect Gustav Runge and the sophisticated engineering techniques used in its construction make it a benchmark in glasshouse design. The hanging glass walls are similar to those used in today's city buildings and were very advanced for the time. This sophistication, and Adelaide's dry climate, probably account for the building's survival.

In 1986 corrosion of iron glazing bars made the Palm House unsafe for public use and it was closed. A conservation study carried out in early 1991 recommended full restoration and after a successful public appeal, and a donation from the federal government, this was carried out.

Roll on another 27 years to 2018, and further works were required to treat salt damp and corrosion, and to prune plants to allow light to reach smaller plants. After an eight month closure, the heritage-listed building is open again for all to enjoy.

The Palm House now features a wonderful collection of plants from the island of Madagascar. The plants require warm and dry growing conditions, which also aids in the conservation of the building.

About 150 million years ago, Madagascar and Australia were both part of the supercontinent, Gondwana. Its flora was the ancient ancestors of today's modern native plants. Many of the plants featured in the Palm House are at risk, or endangered, in their natural habitat.

Read more about the 2018 renovations here.

Opening hours

Daily from 10:00am until one hour before the garden closes.


As part of our COVID-safe plan, you will notice some changes as part of visitation to these spaces. The number of people allowed in each venue has been restricted to allow for the government social distancing requirement of 1.5 metres. For everyone's safety, please respect the capacity limits inside each building. Thank you for your cooperation.

For information on the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium's response to COVID-19, please see our latest news.

Recent posts

Saving Plants on Kangaroo Island – winter 2021 update

03 September 2021

Following the devastating 2020 bushfires on Kangaroo Island, scientists at the SA Seed Conservation Centre have visited the island a number of times to investigate what botanical treasures have regrown, and to collect seeds and plant specimens with a conservation aim.