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Plant Trials

Maintaining Plant Diversity

Each year, we work to increase the diversity and display quality of our gardens by introducing new plants to display. These come from across the country and world and may have been requested by one of our staff members, discovered during a plant exploration, or received from a plant development company. 

Once Longwood receives plant specimens or seeds, our researchers put them into trial. Trial plants can be grown in our 5,500-square-foot research greenhouses or outdoor nursery. 

The Selection Process

Plant Evaluation CommitteeTwice a month, our plant evaluation committee–which includes our display designer, research team, gardeners, students, and representatives from the GardenShop and Integrated Pest Management–meet to evaluate a new group of plants. Our researchers will introduce each plant and explain where it’s from and why it was selected. The committee will then discuss whether the plant is suitable for display and whether it can be handed over immediately or put into production.

Sometimes, plants require further work or study and they are put back into trial. In other cases, plants are rejected entirely because they won’t add to our displays. Every year, more than 300 new plants are trialed at Longwood.

Explore Plant Trials at Longwood