Start a National Plant Collection

Primula 'Captain Blood'

Some National Plant Collections are brought together from plants already in a garden, others may be started from scratch

Why have a National Collection?

Keeping a Collection appeals to plant lovers who have a passion for a particular group of plants and who relish the challenge of conserving and expanding it. You will enjoy researching the history of your plants, tracking down new additions, talking to other plant experts, and becoming an expert yourself.

Collection Holders are often happy to share their knowledge too. Collections have to be accessible to the public, whether by private appointment, on open days or as part of a publically accessible garden. You may also be interested in producing educational material, giving talks, providing advice or putting on displays at flower shows.

Where to start?

We are happy to support members that wish to start a National Collection and ask that you first submit a proposal form for your collection, before moving on to a full application. Even if it is the first germ of an idea for a collection, do get in touch with our friendly conservation team or your local coordinator for guidance or help at any time, they would like to hear from you.

If you’d like to start a National Collection you may have a group of plants in mind. If not, take a look at our list of Missing Genera. We are currently seeking collection holders for these plants and would love to hear from you.

Find out more

What help will I get?

Any proposed Collection is visited by a local volunteer coordinator. They will work with you to complete your application, along with our dedicated conservation team.

Plant Heritage also offers workshops – from plant photography to taxonomy and we can provide support with putting plant lists together.

Collection Holders are also supported by our local Plant Heritage Groups, who are full of like-minded plants people. Groups hold regular talks, visits, workshops and plant sales. 



Fill in the simple, one page proposal form and send it back to us. You don’t need a large collection of plants at this stage, it can be a statement of intent for what you would like to collect. Feel free to get in touch with us or your local coordinator if you have questions at this stage.


The Proposal will be passed on to our Plant Conservation Committee (PCC), a panel of horticulture experts who can provide advice, direction and contacts to help you get started. This committee meets quarterly.


Once the collection is ready you can fill in our application form, with all of the details about your collection, such as a full plant list and how they are grown, researched, labelled and recorded. You may find our Collection Holder's Handbook and Resources for Collection Holders pages useful to refer to at this stage.


Your local coordinator is available for support with the application process, and they will visit and review your collection so that all the information about it can be presented to the Plant Conservation Committee.

Conserving the diversity of garden plants

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