A palm house in Belfast, Ireland

A Short Overview of Palm Houses

A palm house is a type of greenhouse that is designed to accommodate exotic plants, such as palms. Palm houses were first introduced in the 17th century and quickly became a popular addition to botanical gardens and other green spaces.

Palm houses offer a warm, humid environment that is perfect for palm trees and other tropical plants.

The Palm House in Sefton Park in Liverpool, England.
Palm house in England

The History of Palm Houses

The first palm house was built in 1680 by the physician and botanist, Robert Morison. Morison was commissioned by King Charles II to build a glasshouse that could accommodate orange trees and other citrus fruits. The finished product was an impressive structure that featured a curved glass roof and walls made of wrought iron. The palm house quickly became a popular attraction at the royal gardens at Hampton Court Palace.

In the early 1800s, the British horticulturist William Robinson developed a new style of palm house that featured tall, slender columns and a higher glass ceiling. This new design allowed for more light to enter the structure, which was ideal for growing palms and other tropical plants. Robinson’s design became the standard for palm houses around the world.

The Importance of Palm Houses Today

Palm houses play an important role in preserving rare and endangered plants. Many palm trees are becoming extinct due to habitat loss, so it is important to have some examples of these plants in captivity.

In addition, palm houses provide scientists with an opportunity to study how these plants grow and reproduce. By understanding how these plants grow, we can develop better methods for conserving them in the wild.


Palm houses are an important part of our history and our future. These structures allow us to cultivate rare and endangered plants, as well as providing scientists with an opportunity to study plant growth and reproduction.

If you’re interested in learning more about palm houses or seeing one in person, be sure to visit your nearest botanical garden.