The Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley


Houseplants are tricky beasts. I’m pretty good in the garden, but when it comes to looking after plants indoors, I have something of a black thumb. When I saw RHS Wisley were putting on a their Giant Houseplant Takeover display in the glasshouse I was really keen to check it out and maybe get some tips.

When you head inside the glasshouse, the main part of the exhibition is laid out straight in front of you. It’s set up as a series of rooms inside an old Victorian house, as if it had been abandoned and taken over by the plants. I love the look of these kind of abandoned places, it’s amazing to see how things can get reclaimed and it was really well done.

First up was the Living Room. Key features of the living room plants were being comfortable in low light, but often making good use of space to grow. Palms, monstera, and cacti feature here, and I loved the cacti chessboard.

The Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley. A chessboard is set up, with white and black cacti pots lined up as chess pieces. The board is sitting on a table which is surrounded by plants
A white wooden staircase is overtaken by a green climbing plant, with a framed tapestry next to it which reads "with aerial roots, Epipremnum is a fast mover, climbing up and tumbling down to gain space and light"
A glass cabinet is filled with plants at the Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley
A wooden cabinet is surrounded by plants, and one door is being pushed open by plants growing from inside. An old fashioned black telephone sits on top of the cabinet

The Kitchen was filled with carnivorous plants, taking over the sink and climbing up to the hanging racks above.

A kitchen worktop is overgrown with carnivorous plants, taking over the sink. A line of copper pans hang from a rack, also overgrown with plants. From the Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley

Through to the dining room and the table is all laid out for dinner. But all the seats are taken already!

A grand wooden dining table is set up for tea, with cups and saucers filled with cacti and carnivorous plants. The chairs all have cacti and other plants growing from the seats
A drinks trolley with open globe stands, overtaken by succulents

Ben, my 2 year old, loved the bathroom, with its roll top bath filled with plants and waterfall pounding behind. I love the string of pearls (I think!) that was growing down from the shower head!

A blue roll top bath sits suspended in the air, with a streaming waterfall behind. Plants are growing in the bath, and a copper showerhead sits above it, with a string of pearls plant streaming down, as if like water. From the Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley

You get the chance to vote for your favourite ‘room’ by choosing a token and putting it in the slot for your choice. A lovely way to engage the children, and Ben loved choosing (he was very clear, he loved the bathroom!)

Although the main display finishes after these rooms, the theme is continued through the rest of the glasshouse. I loved these picture frames filled with succulents.

A wooden wall, with picture frames filled with succulents at the Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley

Through to the rainforest and we had to stop to say hello to the hippo as always.

The path is lined with hanging terrariums, as well as huge colourful displays.

A glass terrarium hangs from the ceiling at the Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley
A little boy walks down a path lined with rainforest plants in the glasshouse at RHS Wisley
A little boy looks up at a huge tree inside the glasshouse at RHS Wisley during the Giant Houseplant Takeover

The Giant Houseplant Takeover runs from 25th January to 1st March 2020 at RHS Wisley. It’s advisable to book a slot during half term and weekends. More information available here.

If you liked this post, you might also like Butterflies in the Glasshouse and Harvest Time at RHS Wisley.

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