Plant Heritage introduced the Plant Guardian scheme a few years ago.
These superheroes of plant conservation all look after one or more rare plants. This can be in a garden, greenhouse, balcony or even on a windowsill. A plant is considered rare if it has two or fewer entries in the RHS Plant Finder and it is confirmed by National Office.
If you have a rare or threatened plant you can register as a Plant Guardian (superhero cape optional). Even if you don’t think the plant you are growing is rare, it could be unfashionable, have disappeared from the trade, or be at risk in its natural habitat, so registering your plant could help safeguard its future.
It is an ideal way of getting involved in plant conservation when you haven’t got the time/space for a National Plant Collection. Sometimes these rare plants are not even part of any national collection as they may be a missing genera, making it even more important to make sure these varieties don’t go extinct.
If you don’t own a rare plant, but would like to get involved, you can often get them through our Plant Exchange. As a member of Plant Heritage you can request as many plants as you like for free, and chances are you will receive one or more of your requests.
If you find the plant is rare, you can register online. If the rarity of the plant you have is confirmed, you become a Plant Guardian, receive a red label, and the plant name will be listed on the website. If anyone is ever looking for the plant you have, for instance if they need it for a National Collection, PH National Office will put them in touch with you.
‘WHAT IF MY PLANT DIES??’ is the question we get asked most often. If it dies, then that is a great shame, but you won’t be named/shamed/banned for life. Maybe you can try getting it again from where you got it in the first place, or you can request it in the Plant Exchange, or, if you have given anyone any cuttings, you could get it back from them again.
Being a Plant Guardian is a great way of getting involved with Plant Conservation, and we hope a lot of people will register to make sure all our plants are preserved for future generations.
If you would like more information about becoming a Plant Guardian, please contact Lucy at PH National Office, or
Kent Plant Collections Coordinator Philip Oostenbrink on firstname.lastname@example.org / mob. 07794261722.