RHS Garden Wisley's new Giant Houseplant Takeover began this week, with the Glasshouse becoming an exhibition for quirky and creative houseplant planting.


The exhibition runs between 25 January to 1 March and is themed around an abandoned Victorian house which has been overrun by houseplants. Palms grow in an armchair and giant ferns take a bath.

An old telephone planted with rhypsalis
An old telephone planted with rhypsalis © RHS/Luke MacGregor

It is hoped that the exhibition will fuel creative and inventive ideas for house plant enthusiasts and consists of six rooms, each showing different kinds of houseplants.

Giant house plant takeover, RHS Garden Wisley
Giant house plant takeover, RHS Garden Wisley © RHS/Luke MacGregor

Including exhibits of huge spider plants (Chlorophytum) and devil's ivy (Epipremnum), you can also see how a banana plant has swamped a corner and burst through the roof.

RHS Volunteer Narisa Kempster, puts finishing touches to a display
RHS Volunteer Narisa Kempster, puts finishing touches to a display at the Giant Houseplant Takeover © RHS/Luke MacGregor

The exhibition features an avenue of terrarium plants as well as air plants and giant orchid and flamingo flower. Emma Allen, garden manager said: "We want to encourage people to be bolder with their houseplants and let their imaginations run riot.
"Houseplants don’t need to sit in a neat pot. You can grow them in cups, teapots, bottles and even from the middle of chairs - they will always add beauty and joy to your home. As long as you give them right surroundings and nutrients, they will flourish.”

A planted wash basin stands
A planted wash basin stand © RHS/Luke MacGregor

House plant sales at RHS Garden Wisley have risen by 62 per cent this year. Some of the most popular include elephants ears (Alocasia) for which sales have increased tenfold, (particularly Alocasia zebrina with its zebra-like striped stem) and prayer plants (Calathea) with over 1,300 sold this year so far.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London