Our many plant collections showcase the diversity of tropical and temperate flora from around the world as living libraries. Our horticulturally forward collections offer guests a plant-driven experience on each visit. Learn more about our unique plant collections including bonsai, coleus and Plectranthus and orchid.
The Ladany Bonsai Collection is a historically important collection to the Botanical Garden. Donated in 1979, the original bonsai collection was gifted by Ruth Ladany in memory of her late husband Jules, father of Audrey Hirsch, an early Botanical Center board president. The collection is displayed in a gallery on the Katherine C. Meredith Courtyard Terrace. The oldest tree in the collection is a Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree) that has been in training as a bonsai since 1865.
The Plectranthus collection (coleus) consists of over 650 distinct cultivars and is thought to be the largest collection of the genus in North America. A sampling of the collection rotates quarterly through displays in the Gardeners Show House. The collection began as a joint venture between the former Botanical Center and Polk County Master Gardeners. Master Gardener Leanna Culver serves as volunteer curator of the collection and has been instrumental in its care and expansion since 2009.
Orchids belong to one of the largest families of flowering plants; there are nearly 28,000 species recorded from the tropics, northern temperate grasslands and even the Arctic Circle. Since the introduction of tropical orchids to western horticulture, orchid enthusiasts have created tens of thousands of hybrids. The Botanical Garden collection is a curated sampling that features an array of species and hybrids that provide insights into the cultivation and appreciation of the orchid family.