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Research & Crop Production

Pierre S. du Pont built his first conservatory so he could have fresh produce in the winter. This defines Longwood’s horticultural spirit even today—to make the impossible possible.

Our team of researchers and growers adhere to the highest standards and achieve horticultural feats every day. Today the oranges Mr. du Pont desired actually grow in the Estate Fruit House, chrysanthemums are trained to cascade down the walls, blue-poppies adorn the Conservatory in the winter, clematis bloom in March, and other impossibilities become a reality every day.

Plant Exploration and Plant Trials

Our team interacts with horticulturist from all over the world to find, obtain and trial 500 to 1000 new plants each year. New plants are obtained from plant exploration trips to foreign countries, through seed distributions from specialty plant societies and public gardens throughout the world, purchases from nurseries, cooperation with breeders and gifts. Non-hardy plants trials and greenhouse experiments are conducted in our 5500 square foot research greenhouses and hardy plant trials and field research occupy about eight acres at our nursery.  In June 2013, we introduced our first Trial Garden in the public area of our Gardens. Guests can see trials involving more than 250 cultivars. 

Plant Introductions

The Research group continues a long history of improving crops through breeding and selection. More than 130 new cultivars have been named and distributed by Longwood Gardens.

Crop Production

We also use a number of different techniques for propagation of plants, which includes germinating seeds, rooting cuttings, grafting and micro-propagation or tissue culture. 

In addition to conducting research and plant trials, we also provide diagnostic services to the entire gardens for soil analysis and plant virus testing.  Research staff shares plants and research information nationally and internationally through distributions, publications, presentations, and workshops.