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Collections in the greenhouses demonstrate the diversity of plants from subtropical, tropical, and desert regions. The three greenhouses represent about 1,640 species. More than 30 of these species are endangered and included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Red List if Threatened Species, or are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The construction of the Botanical Garden greenhouses began in 1928. The first set of buildings included a palm house, a succulent house, and a separate section for orchids and tropical water plants (a tropical house). During World War II, German army units were deployed at the Botanical Garden and only three gardeners could continue their work. Part of the collection was destroyed. Arboretum trees were used to heat the greenhouses to preserve collections of tropical and subtropical plants. In 1953, the post-war period, the Palm House was enlarged, but in 1972 it was built entirely anew, with a floor space of 550m2 and 24m in height.

© Archive of the Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia

Palm House

Expositions in the Palm House represents those plants that grow in subtropical climate zone - in the Eastern and Western seacoast of continents and in the Mediterranean area between 20° and 40° Northern latitude and 20° and 40° Southern latitude where summers are hot and winters - mild. This expostion includes the largest palm collection in Latvia with 48 different species. Of particular interest are relic plant species - the dawn redwood, cycads, Wollemi pine - and several traditional plants used for food, medicine or other needs - banana, date palm, the common fig, laurel, lemon trees, avocado and others.

© Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia

Tropical Plants

Exposition contains plants that grow in the wet tropical regions - along both sides of the equator. Increased relative humidity and air temperature facilitate continuous growth and development of plants. Many of them are epiphytes - they are attached to trunks of other plants and receive nutrients and gases from water and air as they have no direct contact with mineral soil. The central part of Tropical exposition is the collection of exotic plants with ornamental leaves, as well as tropical ferns and orchids. Various tropical water plants grow in pools, among them the largest waterlily - Victoria.

© Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia

Succulents and cacti

Succulents plants in wild grow in deserts and semi-deserts, in dry and hot climate with abrupt changes of day and night temperatures. They have adapted for fast absorption of water and for its storage in roots, stem or leaves during the short rain seasons or from the night dew. Exposition of the Botanical Garden contains more than 900 taxons, including almost 400 species of cacti. Genus Mammillaria is represented most widely with 84 taxons.

© Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia


Rhododendron simsii or greenhouse azalea varieties are widely known indoor plants that blossom during late autumn and dark winter months. Since 1957 professor Rihards Kondratovis has been systematically dealt with selection work, as a result the largest greenhouse azalea collection in Latvia and Baltic states has been created, which contains 124 varieties.

© Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia