This massive garden show was first held back in 1829, and now it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

By Andrea Beck
February 27, 2020

For home gardeners and horticulturists across the country, the Philadelphia Flower Show is a bucket-list event. Started in 1829 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, it’s the oldest and largest indoor garden show in the U.S. and showcases gorgeous display gardens created by organizations like the American Institute of Floral Designers and local landscapers, designers, and florists. This year, the featured entrance garden was inspired by the French Riviera and will instantly transport attendees to the lush Mediterranean coastline. More than 3,400 plants are being used to create the entrance garden and fill it with the fragrance of the French coast, including 200 lavender plants, 19 Meyer lemon trees, and over 200 rosemary shrubs.

Hundreds of tulips on display at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

In addition to the entrance garden, this year’s show will feature more than 20 landscapes, display gardens, and floral exhibits. The show also has a home gardening hub for houseplant parents and beginner gardeners to connect with experts and get an early look at new trends. The section also houses exhibits from organizations like the American Rhododendron Society, Philadelphia Cactus and Succulent Society, and the University of Delaware.

The feature gardens at the Philadelphia Flower Show are known for being extravagant displays.
Courtesy of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

If you’ve got plants at home that you think are worthy of a blue ribbon, you can bring them to the flower show with you. They’ll be displayed in the Horticourt (a featured area for individual plant displays), where other attendees can enjoy your plants, and judges can compare them to other entries. Different judging classes include miniature plants, houseplants, terrariums, flowering plants, and rock garden plants. Pre-entry closed on January 31, but anyone can still register up to 12 entries during each day of competition at the show.

Tropical plants surround an indoor waterfall in one of the previous display gardens.
Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

You can also arrive early or stay late for morning and evening guided tours, which let attendees take a look at the exhibit during off-hours and include extra horticultural info and history about the Flower Show. Plus, the show hosts an all-day educational seminar with a different theme each year for home gardeners and professionals alike to connect and share knowledge. This year's symposium will take place on March 4, and tackles the subject of biodiversity with sessions on climate change, conservation, and supporting native landscapes in the Northeast.

Every year, the Philadelphia Flower Show attracts more than 250,000 visitors, making it one of the most popular garden shows in the country. This year’s show runs from February 29 through March 8, and tickets are on sale online now at a discount. If you wait to buy at the box office on the day of the show, it’ll cost $48 for adults, $30 for attendees ages 18-29, and $20 for children ages 5-17 (children under 5 can get in for free). If you’ll be in Philadelphia while the show’s happening, it’s definitely worth a stop for garden-lovers and plant parents. And if you can’t make it this year, mark your calendar for early March 2021!



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