Find a rare plant to look after

If you don't have a rare plant but would like to be a Plant Guardian, here are some ideas of how to find one.


Check your garden


It is not unusual for plants to slip out of nursery catalogues and this often passes by unnoticed, unless for the eagle-eyed gardener. As long as you know the name of your plant (and it is good practice to always keep plant labels somewhere safe for future reference), you can check its commercial availability through the RHS Plant Finder. More details on this below.

If there are two or fewer suppliers in the RHS Plant Finder, it may be eligible for the Plant Guardian scheme. 


Small specialist nurseries and National Collection Holders

Many smaller nurseries will specialise in one particular type of plant, and it is here that you are likely to find rarities, not in your local DIY superstore! National Collection Holders will sometimes sell plants, and they will be able to give you a good idea if the plant you have fallen for is rare. You can find details of all the National Plant Collections in our Directory as well as on our website. Members receive a copy of the Directory when they join, or you can buy it in our online shop

The RHS Plant Finder

Every year the RHS compile a publication called the RHS Plant Finder. This is the bible for small nurseries, and for those trying to source a specific species or cultivar, or something less common. It can be searched online or you can buy the book version to keep in the car, so you can visit specialist nurseries and hunt for plants whenever you are out.


Join and get involved with your local group

Gardeners are friendly and generous; if you are looking for rare plants they will often be able to help you and may be able to work out what that unknown plant in your border is too.

Join here

The Plant Exchange Scheme

Many local groups also participate in the annual Plant Exchange. Members and Collection Holders submit lists of rare plants they have to spare and also plants they would like.

Find out more

Local Group Plant Fairs

Most of our groups hold plant fairs and sales. These are great places to buy new plants and hunt for rarities – if you aren’t sure there will be someone on hand to give you advice.

See events page

eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.