The annual Plant Exchange allows members to share plants that are rare in cultivation
By distributing plants round the country we can re-establish plants in danger of being lost and give members the chance to get hold of something rare or unusual. We encourage members to propagate these plants and pass them on, to help secure their future.
How does it work?
Members and collection holders submit a list of rare and unusual plants they have to offer. They can also request plants which are difficult to obtain or which have disappeared from the horticulture trade (see also the 'desiderata' plants that collection holders are seeking). Members can then bid for the plants offered, or offer those that are wanted, and they are exchanged for free at our national AGM or members weekend.
Once the lists have been consolidated across all the local groups, they are published here in January (see below). You can bid for plants being offered before the end of February via your local Plant Exchange coordinator or by contacting us.
The exchange is usually held at the AGM, but in 2021 a special one day event was held as a result of Covid restrictions. Read more about this in our blog.
Do I have any rare plants to offer?
If you know the name of your plant, check the RHS Plant Finder and if it has two or fewer suppliers listed then it qualifies for the Plant Exchange. If you're unsure, please contact your Plant Exchange coordinator, via your local group, for advice. It could also be considered for the Plant Guardian scheme if it meets the criteria, so please consider registering it through this link.
How much does it cost?
No payment is made to the donors of the plants and there is no charge to the recipient. Local groups can choose to propagate and sell the plants to raise funds if they choose (providing of course that these are not covered by Plant Breeders’ Rights or the regulations regarding post 2014 wild collected species under the Nagoya Protocol.)
For anyone taking part in the Plant Exchange, we recommend that you read this guide to biosecurity produced by the National Trust.
As it currently stands, it seems that plant swaps organised within clubs and societies are not covered by plant passporting regulations. Presume that any plant you receive will not be passported and take appropriate biosecurity measures as in the link above. We keep a record of where plants have come from and go to, to ensure traceability in case of problems.