Botanical gardens and arboretums are fantastic days out for plant lovers. Most major cities in America will probably have a botanical garden or arboretum. This makes these beautiful places accessible to everyone. Some botanical gardens are over a century old, and some arboretums are huge estates containing hundreds, if not thousands, of trees. In this guide, we’ll take you through 51 of the most popular, must-see botanical gardens and arboretums in every state in America.
What are Botanical Gardens and Arboretums?
Botanic Gardens Conservation International uses several criteria to define botanical gardens. Sites must be relatively permanent and open to the public while also performing scientific research on their collections. Most botanical gardens employ botanists for this. Plants must also be clearly labeled for visitors.
Most botanical gardens cultivate a large variety of species. Some botanical gardens specialize in certain groups of plants, especially rare varieties. These horticultural institutions often have several gardens themed around specific plant groups or ecosystems.
Arboretums fulfill similar functions to botanical gardens but focus on trees and shrubs instead of other plants. Arboretums are effectively living museums, especially as some trees can be hundreds or even thousands of years old. These sites cultivate trees for display, conservation, and scientific study.
Botanical gardens originated during the Renaissance as botany became more popular. Some of the first botanical gardens can be traced to Pisa and Florence in Italy during the 16th Century. Arboretums date back centuries as many ancient kings often collected trees from across their empires and displayed them in gardens.
There are thought to be between 300 and 1000 botanical gardens and arboretums in the United States. The exact figure depends on interpreting how these horticultural sites are classified.
The Best Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in Every State in America
Alabama – Birmingham Botanical Gardens
First opened in 1963, Birmingham Botanical Gardens has been dazzling visitors with over 30 themed gardens set across 67.5 acres. Its gardens are divided into three categories. The site boasts an impressive range of “Gardens of Collections” including rhododendrons, camellias, crape myrtle, and irises.
Its two “Gardens of Nature” – the Barber Alabama Woodlands garden and Kaul Wildflower garden – display native plants from the southeastern states. Other themed gardens, dubbed “Gardens of Culture”, include the Japanese garden and the Southern Living garden. Birmingham Botanical Gardens is also home to America’s largest publicly-accessible horticultural library.
Alaska – Alaska Botanical Garden
Nestled within Anchorage’s Far North Bicentennial Park, the Alaska Botanical Garden covers 110 acres and boasts more than 1,100 perennial species. Alaska Botanical garden opened in 1993 and is an independent, non-profit organization.
Alaska Botanical Garden is home to a nationally accredited collection of Meconopsis – otherwise known as Himalayan poppies. These gorgeous flowers take center stage in June and July as they come into bloom.
The Anchorage Heritage garden celebrates traditional Alaskan gardens. The Upper and Lower Perennial gardens contain 150 native Alaskan species and almost 1,000 other perennials.
Arizona – Desert Botanical Garden
Phoenix’s stunning Desert Botanical Garden opened in 1939 and now contains a whopping 50,000 plants. The collection includes 380 native Sonoran species, over 4,000 agave plants, and almost 14,000 cacti species.
This mindboggling collection illustrates the fantastic variety of plants from desert ecosystems in Arizona, Australia, Baja, California, and South America. A network of themed trails snakes through the 140-acre site, allowing you to experience these diverse habitats. We recommend the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail.
The Desert Botanical Garden also showcases art exhibitions and hosts educational events for all the family.
Arkansas – Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Situated in Fayetteville, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks features 12 themed gardens across six acres. The gardens opened to the public in 2007 and are part of a larger 44-acre site. As a non-profit organization, the BGO is devoted to educating visitors about the environment.
One of the standout gardens is the Ozark Native Garden, which contains flowers and shrubs native to the Ozark landscape. The Butterfly Garden takes you along a beautiful path bordered by pollinator-friendly plants that leads to the only butterfly house in Arkansas.
California – San Francisco Botanical Garden
Set across 55 acres, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is one of the best horticultural sites on the West Coast. The collection includes almost 9,000 species divided among several climate zones. You’ll find the gardens nestled in Golden Gate Park along with the Strybring Arboretum. The site was opened in 1940.
The SFBG has an impressive magnolia collection as well an area dedicated to plants native to Andean cloud forest habitats. The SFBG also has several themed gardens, including the Ancient Plants garden, the Moon Viewing Japanese garden, and a succulent garden.
Colorado – Denver Botanic Gardens
First opened in 1951, the Denver Botanic Gardens is the green heart of the city. The site is famed for having the largest collection of cold climate plants in the US. Spread across 18 “Gardens of the West”, this arid collection includes several species native to the Rocky Mountains.
The 23-acre site has several ornamental gardens as well. Alongside another formal Japanese garden, the Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden is a beautiful, tranquil space. There’s also an Iris and Daylily Garden, a Fragrance Garden, four shady gardens, and two water gardens. Expect a brilliant variety of native Colorado flowers to feature throughout the gardens.
Connecticut – Connecticut College Arboretum
The Connecticut College Arboretum stretches across 300 acres on the campus of Connecticut College. Although owned and operated by the college, public entrance is free. Established in 1931, the site features several impressive collections, including species like azaleas and conifers.
The main draw is the Native Plant Collection, which takes up about 8 acres of the site. Here you’ll find trees, shrubs, and plants that are indigenous to North America. The collection includes evergreen trees, native ferns and wildflowers, and 15 azalea species. The Caroline Black Garden holds ornamental trees and shrubs from other parts of the world.
Delaware – University of Delaware Botanic Gardens
Dedicated to research and education about plants, the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens features 11 themed gardens set across 15 acres. These beautiful collections are free to enter, making this site a great day out if you’re in Delaware.
The first garden on this site, the Clark Garden, was opened in the 1960s. It features some of the collection’s oldest plants including cedars and magnolias. The Native Garden includes a boreal forest containing birch, maple, and spruce trees. There’s also a Lepidoptera Trail. Allowing visitors to get up close and personal with several beautiful butterflies.
Florida – Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is one of Florida’s oldest and largest botanical gardens. First opened in 1938, this 83-acre paradise is dedicated to researching and conserving tropical plants. Fairchild even boasts the only patch of rainforest in the United States – a two-acre plot teeming with plants from the Amazon rainforest.
Fairchild also features the world’s most extensive collection of tropical bamboo, containing 125 species. The Tropical Flowering Trees Collection comprises 740 species, while the 13-acre Montgomery Palmetum wows visitors with over 500 types of palm trees. In the Tropical Plant Conservatory, you’ll also find rare and newly-discovered species.
Georgia – State Botanical Garden of Georgia
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is one of the South’s leading botanical institutions. The 313-acre site is operated by the University of Georgia and is dedicated to conservation, research, and education. Admission is free.
Formally recognized as the State Botanical Garden in 1984, the site includes 11 themed gardens and collections. The Heritage Garden celebrates Georgia’s native plants, while the Dunson Native Flora Garden contains more than 300 flowering species indigenous to the southeastern US.
The Tropical Conservatory houses a stunning collection of orchids, while the Herb and Physic Garden focuses on plants used by ancient societies.
Hawaii – McBryde Garden
Like the nearby Allerton Garden, the McBryde Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s network in Hawaii and Florida. The McBryde Garden is a 200-acre hidden gem in the Lawai Valley. Tours are carried out by appointment only.
The McBryde Garden focuses on the most extensive off-site collection of Hawaii’s native plants. Conservation and research of these species is the main aim of the non-profit National Tropical Botanical Garden organization. The McBryde Garden sits next to the organization’s headquarters and also contains a micropropagation lab and nursery.
Tropical species featured at the site include heliconias, orchids, and palm trees.
This 63-acre arboretum forms part of the University of Idaho campus and is free to enter for the public. The oldest part of the arboretum, founded in 1910, contains American beech and Californian cedar trees along with a mighty Giant Sequoia.
The newer part of the arboretum contains approximately 830 species from four geographical regions – Asia, Europe, and Eastern and Western North America. The collection includes several flowering and fruiting species such as cherry, lilac, pear, and magnolia.
The site also includes display gardens such as a xeriscape garden. The Hosta Display garden is recognized as a national collection of hostas.
Illinois – Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of the largest horticultural institutions in the Mid-West. The stunning gardens cover 385 acres and were opened to the public in 1972. As well as 25 display gardens, the Chicago Botanic Garden is also a horticultural research and education center with over 50,000 members.
Some of the most interesting gardens include a traditional English Walled Garden, a Japanese Garden, and a Heritage Garden. The Native Plant Garden celebrates Illinois’s indigenous plants and trees. The gardens also include three nature areas, including the Dixon Prairie. This area recreates and preserves six distinct prairie habitats.
The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is an enclosed conservatory showcasing a diverse range of over 1,200 plants. The site was opened in 1983 in downtown Fort Wayne.
The Showcase Garden features seasonal displays, while the Desert Garden celebrates plants that are native to the deserts of the Southwest. These include cacti such as Saguaro and prickly pear along with plants like yucca. There’s also a Tropical Garden focusing on bromeliads, citrus, and 13 species of palm trees.
Outside, visitors will find four themed gardens. The Beverforden Garden displays stunning azaleas and rhododendrons, while the Streetside Garden features native Midwestern trees and shrubs.
Although this 14-acre site has been used since 1979, the modern version of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden opened in 2013. The area is divided into a series of outdoor gardens, a geodesic dome conservatory, and several indoor gardens.
Containing more than 1,000 taxonomic groups of tropical and arid plants, the conservatory also displays the first corpse flower to bloom in Iowa. The Gardeners Show House contains seasonal exhibits.
The outdoor gardens include the Hillside Garden, the Wells Fargo Rose Garden, and the Water Garden. The Lauridsen Savanna pays homage to the flora of Iowa’s natural landscapes.
The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens wow visitors with 300 acres of natural ecosystems and display gardens. First opened in 1991, eight distinctive ecosystems now call the site home. These include different types of woodlands as well as dry prairies and savannas.
Visitors can enjoy native trees such as hickory, oak, and walnut, along with several species of grasses. The outdoor gardens showcase an astounding range of plants. The Erickson Water Garden features aquatic and bog plants. The Marder Woodland Garden produces a beautiful display of azaleas and rhododendrons. The Legacy Garden celebrates the native flora of Kansas.
Kentucky – University of Kentucky Arboretum
The University of Kentucky Arboretum aims to preserve and research Kentucky’s native flora. The 100-acre site opened in 1991 and became Kentucky’s State Botanical Garden in 2000. Admission is free.
The collection of Kentucky’s native plants and trees is the main draw. The site displays approximately 100 species native to Kentucky and a grand total of 1,200 plants native to the US. The “Walk Across Kentucky” trail showcases species representing the state’s seven regional ecosystems.
The display gardens are headlined by the Kentucky Children’s Garden and the Home Demonstration Garden. There’s also a Fragrance Garden and a Rose Garden.
Louisiana – The Gardens at the American Rose Center
President Ronald Reagan named the rose America’s national floral emblem in 1986. And after a visit to the Garden of the American Rose Center, it’s not hard to see why. Spreading across 118 acres of pine woodlands, the site contains more than 20,000 rose bushes. The site has housed the headquarters of the American Rose Society since 1974.
Unsurprisingly, these gardens form the largest dedicated rose park in the US. The displays contain several types of roses, including heritage varieties, hybrid tea roses, and miniature roses. Visitors can also enjoy several walking trails and the gorgeous Dudley Watkins Reflection Pool.
Maine – Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is New England’s largest botanical garden, stretching for nearly 300 acres along the shore. The site opened in 2007 and attracts an average of 200,000 visitors every year. The gardens aim to conserve, research, and display Maine’s native plants.
As well as Maine’s native species, the gardens also focus on plants that grow along northern coastlines around the world. The picturesque Shoreland Trail takes visitors on a tour of trees and plants indigenous to Maine. The Giles Rhododendron garden showcases a beautiful ensemble of rhododendrons, while the Haney Hillside Garden focuses on mosses and ferns.
Maryland – Adkins Arboretum
Adkins Arboretum is nestled within Tuckahoe State Park. The grounds cover 400 acres and showcase more than 600 plants native to Maryland. The site opened in 1980 and includes a diverse range of habitats such as meadows, wetlands, and woodlands. The area is also laced with five miles of walking trails.
Nature spotters will be treated to a display of thriving native wildlife, especially birds. But the local flora is equally as exciting, with acres of pine forests and woodlands containing native azaleas and other species.
Adkins Arboretum is also a horticultural education center, offering courses to train prospective naturalists.
Massachusetts – Arnold Arboretum
Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum has the distinction of being America’s oldest public arboretum. The 280-acre site was opened back in 1872. The collection is studied by staff at Harvard to conserve trees and educate visitors.
Most of the collection focuses on plants and trees native to both the eastern United States and eastern parts of Asia. Arnold Arboretum showcases a collection of almost 15,000 plants and trees, with dedicated collections for various species.
The arboretum maintains 55 types of crabapple, 400 lilac plants, and 40 types of bonsai. The Azalea Border contains over 500 azaleas and rhododendrons.
Michigan – Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Operated by the University of Michigan, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens stretch across 300 acres. The grounds include several themed gardens and a 10,000 ft² conservatory with indoor specimens. The site first opened in 1907 and has continued to conserve and research plants for over a century.
The Great Lakes Gardens preserve Michigan’s native plants, with several rare endemic species on display. This area also includes a swathe of restored prairie. Other gardens include the Perennial Garden, the Medicinal Garden, and the Marie Azary Rock Garden, which features a lovely variety of native Michigan flowers.
The impressive conservatory features distinct areas for plants from arid, temperate, and tropical biomes.
Minnesota – Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, nicknamed “the Arb,” is the largest public garden in the Midwest. Encompassing 1,200 acres, the site features several specialty gardens, a conservatory, and a horticultural library. The arboretum is run by the University of Minnesota.
The Arboretum’s various collections are divided across several gardens. One of the most popular is the Chinese Garden. Visitors can also enjoy stunning collections of dahlias, hostas, Japanese irises, peonies, and azaleas. The Three-Mile Walk is the best way to experience the collection.
Within the Meyers-Deats Conservatory, visitors will find an extensive collection of tropical plants including bromeliads, cacti, and orchids.
Mississippi – Crosby Arboretum
The Crosby Arboretum is one of the South’s best botanical institutions and is operated by Mississippi State University. The site covers more than 700 acres and is centered around the famous Pinecote Pavilion. The Arboretum itself is divided into seven areas, with each representing a specific local habitat.
The Native Plant Center is the central area, containing species native to Mississippi. It includes Piney Woods Lake, which displays native aquatic plants. Other areas include the Hillside Bog and Mill Creek, which display the five species of magnolias native to Mississippi.
The arboretum also encompasses swathes of longleaf pine woodland and several types of bogs.
Missouri – Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden opened its doors in 1859, making it one of America’s oldest botanical gardens. The 79-acre site displays more than 27,000 plants and over 4,800 trees.
The garden is headlined by the Climatron – the first geodesic dome conservatory in the world. Over 2,800 tropical species are on display inside. The MBG is also home to Linnean House, America’s oldest continuously-operated display conservatory.
One of the site’s best specialty gardens is the Seiwa-en Japanese Garden – the largest of its kind in the US. Other popular gardens include the Ottoman Garden and the Lopata Azalea, and Rhododendron Garden.
Montana – Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum
It may be small, but the Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum make up for it with their beauty. The site is Montana’s only full-time botanical garden and is one of only three internationally accredited arboretums in the US.
The six-acre site is nestled within the Elkhorn mountains and features several distinctive gardens. The Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden is one of the best. Other gardens on the site include the Meditation Garden, the Shade Garden, and the Rose Garden.
One of the most captivating plots belongs to the All American Selection Garden, which showcases plants of the year chosen by the committee.
Nebraska – Lauritzen Gardens
Also known as Omaha’s Botanical Center, Lauritzen Gardens is a 100-acre site that opened in 1982. The gardens also include a four-acre arboretum that showcases trees from seven local ecosystems, such as oak-hickory forests and prairies.
Some of Lauritzen’s most popular specialty gardens include the Founder’s Garden, Rose Garden, and Tree Peony Garden. The Spring Flowering Walk is one of the site’s most beloved trails, while the Garden in the Glen provides a peaceful spot.
The Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory is a 17,500 ft² tropical greenhouse that features palm trees as well as temperate areas.
Nestled within the Las Vegas Spring Preserve is this eight-acre botanical garden. The current iteration of the park opened to the public in 2007 and showcases a range of desert plants. The collection specializes in plants that are native to the Mojave Desert.
The garden’s Mojave cacti and succulent collection is nationally accredited, with many cultivated from wild seeds. The site also features Cactus Alley, which displays cacti from across North and South America. There’s also a Deserts of the World collection.
Other gardens include the Palm Garden, the Wildlife Garden, a Vegetable Garden, and a Teaching Garden.
New Hampshire – Bedrock Gardens
This privately-owned botanical garden features a stunning range of sculptures and architecturally themed gardens. Bedrock Gardens covers 20 acres and was opened to the public in 1990 by its current owners. More than 1,000 plant species are displayed throughout the garden.
The site contains several collections, including dwarf conifers. There are woodland areas decorated with sculptures, as well as the Spiral Garden and the Funnel Garden. There is also a French-inspired parterre garden.
The Rock Garden and the Garish Garden offer interesting contrasts of color and form. A Fernery has also been recently added.
New Jersey – Rutgers Gardens
Owned and operated by Rutgers University, this 130-acre site is split between 60 acres of specialty gardens and 70 acres of woodland. Rutgers Gardens is the official botanical garden of the university and aims to conserve and research its collection to educate visitors.
The garden began in 1916 and now includes several distinct garden areas. The site consists of a Bamboo Grove and a dedicated Pollinator Garden. Several gardens are themed around various plant types, including the Holly Collection, a Rhododendron and Azalea Garden, and a Succulent Garden.
Rutgers Gardens also features an All-American Selections Garden and an Asian Hillside Garden.
New Mexico – ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
Headlined by a 10,000 ft² conservatory, the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden cultivates a collection of plants native to the Southwest. Opened in 1996, the 36-acre garden is part of the wider BioPark site in Albuquerque.
The conservatory encompasses two main zones. The first showcases plants that grow in Mediterranean climates worldwide, including olive trees and myrtles. The second zone displays a xeriscape featuring plants from the deserts of North America.
The site also includes several themed Old World Walled Gardens, such as the Spanish-Moorish Garden. Other outdoor gardens include the Sasebo Japanese Garden and the Curandera Garden.
New York – New York Botanical Garden
Situated in the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and covers 250 acres. The gardens contain more than a million individual plants. The NYBG is also home to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, which houses one of the largest collections of botanical texts in the world.
Some of the NYBG’s most famous gardens include the Azalea Garden, the Native Plant Garden, the Perennial Garden, and the Conifer Arboretum. The NYBG is also celebrated for its collections of cherries, daffodils, orchids, and magnolias.
The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory contains a Palm House and displays aquatic, tropical, and desert plants.
For more, see our local’s guide to visiting the New York Botanical Garden.
North Carolina – North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum is nestled within the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville. The 434-acre site is divided between an arboretum and a botanical garden. The current incarnation of the site opened in the late 1980s and features a host of North Carolina native flowers and wildflowers.
The Blue Ridge Quilt Garden is a colorful parterre that pays homage to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. The Arboretum also displays the National Native Azalea Repository, which contains every type of azalea native to the US.
The North Carolina Arboretum also houses an impressive collection of bonsai. There are around 100 display plants, including Japanese maples, willow leaf figs, and limber pine.
North Dakota – Northern Plains Botanic Garden
This six-acre garden is run by the non-profit Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. Despite its small size, the garden showcases several different areas and plants. The Society hopes to expand the site in future years.
The central area contains the Greenhouse, Hummingbird Patio, Chrysanthemum Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Rain Garden. The largest section of the site is devoted to an Edible Forest. This plot displays native fruit trees and shrubs along with pollinator plants. It’s primarily used for educational courses.
The Woodland Garden contains several species of ferns and hostas, while the Dry Garden is inspired by traditional Japanese gardens.
The Franklin Park Conservatory has been a fixture in Columbus, Ohio since 1895. Although it has occupied various locations, the site remains one of Ohio’s most popular botanical gardens.
The Conservatory showcases over 400 plants from a range of ecosystems. Some of the most interesting areas include the Desert biome, the Himalayan Mountain biome, and the Tropical Rainforest biome.
The site also includes the John F. Wolfe Palm House and the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse, which contains special exhibits. Franklin Park Conservatory also has a botanical garden with areas like the Crane Conifer Garden and the Daylily Garden.
Oklahoma – Lendonwood Gardens
Despite its small size, Lendonwood Gardens has achieved some big things. This three-acre garden displays more than 1,400 plants, including the Southwest’s largest collections of rhododendrons. Lendonwood Gardens was established in 1995 and became a non-profit organization in 1997.
Lendonwood boasts one of America’s largest collections of false cypress trees. The site also displays 500 daylily varieties, 75 species of Japanese maples, over 50 bonsai trees, and more than 70 types of hostas.
The collection is divided into eight specialty gardens, including the American Backyard Garden, Oriental Garden, and Oklahoma Garden. The Japanese Pavilion also includes a koi pond.
Oregon – International Rose Test Garden
The International Rose Test Garden is situated within Portland’s Washington Park. Established in the 1920s, this 4.5-acre garden is America’s oldest continuously-operated rose garden. This small site brings in approximately 700,000 visitors a year, which seems appropriate for the “City of Roses.”
The International Rose Test Garden contains 10,000 individual rose bushes and represents around 650 different varieties. There are several distinctive plots in the garden, although not all are dedicated to roses.
Some of the main gardens include the Gold Award Garden and the Miniature Rose Garden. The Shakespeare Garden pairs roses with summer annuals and perennial shrubs.
Pennsylvania – Longwood Gardens
Few botanical gardens in the US can rival the splendor of Longwood Gardens. This massive site covers over 1,000 acres and once belonged to the du Pont family. The gardens have been open to the public since 1921 and are now run by the Longwood Foundation.
Some of the site’s most popular outdoor gardens include the Idea Garden, the Meadow Garden, the Topiary Garden, and the Wisteria Garden. The Conservatory alone contains approximately 4,600 species of plants and trees. It includes areas such as the Palm House and Mediterranean Garden.
Longwood also boasts a Camellia House, Orangery, and an Orchid House.
Rhode Island – University of Rhode Island Botanical Gardens
The University of Rhode Island Botanical Gardens has everything a plant love could dream of. The site opened in 1991 and is centered around 4.5 acres of botanical gardens. Visitors can also wander through the Everett P. Christopher Arboretum, which covers 1,200 acres.
Nestled within the gardens, visitors will find several specialty areas. The Ericaceous Garden focuses on plants that thrive in acidic conditions. Other gardens include the Annual Garden, the Chester Clayton Rose Garden, the Formal Gardens, and the Shade Garden.
The site also includes the Matthew J. Horridge Conservatory, which is vital to the university’s botanical research.
South Carolina – South Carolina Botanical Garden
The South Carolina Botanical Garden was founded in the 1950s as a camellia collection. Since then, the institution has blossomed into a 295-acre site operated by Clemson University. The garden also includes the Schoenike Arboretum.
Much of the SCGB is devoted to South Carolina’s natural and historical heritage. There are two historic buildings – Hanover House and the Hunt Log Cabin. The Natural Heritage Garden aims to recreate the native habitats of South Carolina, including Mesic Forest, Piedmont Prairie, and Longleaf Pine Savanna.
The site features several dedicated gardens, such as the Camellia Garden, the Hydrangea Garden, and the Xeriscape Garden.
South Dakota – McCrory Gardens & South Dakota Arboretum
This 70-acre space is part of the campus of South Dakota State University. The site is divided between the botanical gardens (25 acres) and the South Dakota Arboretum (45 acres). The gardens were opened in 1965.
McCrory Gardens features a huge number of stunning themed gardens. There are two All-American Display Gardens along with an All-American Trial Garden. The gardens boast several impressive collections, including an Azalea and Rhododendron Collection and a Lily Collection.
The South Dakota Arboretum forms part of the site and displays trees and shrubs that are either native to South Dakota or have acclimatized.
Tennessee – Memphis Botanical Garden
The Memphis Botanical Garden is a 96-acre oasis in the heart of the city. The gardens have been open since 1953 and are nestled within Audubon Park. The site includes 23 themed gardens as well as an arboretum.
Some of the more popular garden areas include the Japanese Garden, the Pollinator Garden, and the Rose Garden. The Herb Garden displays 500 different species of herbs, while the Delta Garden showcases plants native to the Mississippi Delta.
The Urban Home Garden acts as a source of green-fingered inspiration for visitors. This section includes the Beekeepers Garden and the Desert Garden.
Texas – Fort Worth Botanic Garden
This 110-acre site is Texas’s oldest major botanical garden, having opened its doors in 1934. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden also houses the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
The site contains 22 specialty gardens that showcase more than 2,500 plants. The Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden are extremely popular. The Four Seasons Garden creates a striking display starring hundreds of species of chrysanthemums, daylilies, and irises.
The Native Texas Boardwalk carries visitors through a canopy of both native and non-native trees. Meanwhile, the 10,000 ft² Rainforest Conservatory houses tropical plants and trees. The site also displays a nationally recognized collection of begonias.
Utah – Red Butte Garden & Arboretum
Covering 100 acres, the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is run by the University of Utah. While the university’s botanists conserve and research the collection, visitors can enjoy over 20 acres of themed gardens.
The stunning Four Seasons Garden creates a colorful display throughout the year. This plot also frames Red Butte peak, the backdrop to the gardens. Other themed gardens include the Fragrance Garden, the Medicinal Garden, and the Rose Garden.
The gardens lead into a larger natural area that’s laced with walking trails. This area conserves and displays flora native to Utah such as asters, milkweed, maple trees, and cacti.
Vermont – One World Conservation Center
The One World Conservation Center is a botanical conservatory with an accompanying 96-acre nature reserve. Despite weathering some financial struggles, the Center is still a great place to visit. The Center was originally opened in 1991.
The main greenhouse contains an impressive collection of tropical plants from Southeast Asia. Many of the specimens come from Indonesia and were brought back after research missions.
The nature reserve aims to conserve Vermont’s native habitats. The reserve contains an open meadow leading to a large wetland area. There’s also a wooded hillside and several woodland trails that allow visitors to explore the reserve.
Virginia – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an ideal escape from the center of Richmond. The gardens cover 50 acres and were opened to the public in 1984. The dazzling domed conservatory is thought to be the only one in the mid-Atlantic region.
The gardens feature several beautiful walking routes, including the Asian Valley and the Cherry Tree Walk. The Morton Native Plant Garden displays some of Virginia’s native, drought-tolerant species, such as sourwood trees.
The iconic 11,000 ft² conservatory features a Palm House that also contains cycads. The East Wing focuses on semi-tropical plants such as orchids. The West Wing showcases a stunning range of succulents.
Washington State – Washington Park Arboretum
This 230-acre arboretum covers much of Seattle’s Washington Park. The site is managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and contains several themed gardens. The Arboretum’s biggest attraction is undoubtedly the spring blooms of the Azalea Way.
The Pacific Connections Garden showcases a fantastic collection of Pacific plants native to Australia, China, Chile, and New Zealand. The garden is organized into geographical areas, including a 2.5 acre stretch of New Zealand forest. Other popular gardens include the Japanese Garden and the Rhododendron Glen.
The Arboretum’s extensive collection includes birches, camellias, hawthorns, and magnolias. The Pinetum displays a selection of conifers and pines.
West Virginia – West Virginia Botanic Garden
The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a collection of nine themed gardens run by a non-profit organization. The site is also committed to conserving the surrounding Tibbs Run Preserve. This endangered habitat is a mix of deciduous, hemlock, and rhododendron trees.
The themed gardens are headlined by the beautiful Butterfly Garden, which delights visitors with colorful blooms from spring to fall. The Eclectic Garden showcases a yearly display of annuals and perennials. The Secret Garden celebrates shade-loving plants such as ferns and hostas.
A range of acid-loving plants is on display in the Rhododendron Garden, while the Meditation Garden is an oasis of calm.
Wisconsin – Olbrich Botanical Gardens
The Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a 16-acre site in the heart of Madison. The gardens were first opened in 1952 and have gradually expanded. The gardens also contain the 10,000 ft² Bolz Conservatory as well as the only Thai sala pavilion in the mainland United States.
The themed gardens include the Meadow Garden, which contains wildflowers and perennial grasses, and the Rock Garden, which focuses on alpine plants. The Rose Garden is another popular area, boasting over 700 species and 125 different cultivars.
Inside the Bolz Conservatory, visitors can admire over 650 tropical plants from 475 different species.
Wyoming – Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
The 9-acre Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are tucked away within Lions Park. The site began in 1977 with the construction of a conservatory. Now, three greenhouses make up the complex – each devoted to different types of plants.
The Shane Smith Conservatory is the heart of the gardens. This 6,800 ft² conservatory contains a collection of cacti and tropical plants. It also includes an orangery and a bonsai house on the upper floors.
The exterior gardens include the Bedont Rose Garden, the Cottage Garden, and the Crevice Garden. There’s also a Rock and Conifer Garden and a xeriscape garden.
Washington D.C. – United States Botanic Garden
If you’re drinking in the sights of Capitol Hill, it’s well worth exploring the United States Botanic Garden. Established in 1820 by George Washington, this site is the oldest continuously-operated botanic garden in the US. The collection contains over 65,000 plants, set across several areas.
The Conservatory contains fascinating exhibits such as the Primeval Garden along with collections representing Deserts, the Mediterranean, and the Tropics. The National Garden covers three acres and showcases plants native to the Mid-Atlantic as well as a Rose Garden.
Across the street is Bartholdi Park, a two-acre park centered around the beautiful Bartholdi Fountain.
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The United States is home to hundreds of stunning botanical gardens and arboretums. Some of the most impressive sites belong to major cities, including the Denver Botanic Garden and the New York Botanical Garden. However, small hidden gems can also be found, such as the Northern Plains Botanic Garden in North Dakota.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.