As an officially accredited public garden through the American Association of Museums and as a member of the American Public Garden Association, the Botanical Garden is charged with maintaining detailed records of its plant collection.
The collection is extensive. At present we maintain over 3500 species and selections of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, grasses and bamboo. Many plants in our collection are exceedingly rare in gardens. Unfortunately, some are extinct or on the brink of extinction in the wild.
Our Zoo’s Best lists are concise lists of the very best plants based both on our Plant Trials Program and our Plant Evaluations. These plants will be the cream of the crop for regional use of each class of plants.
We are very fortunate that the Zoo has maintained a longtime commitment to trees. Numerous iconic old trees grace the grounds, including catalpas, bald cypress, the Centroid Oak, and many, many more. We plant many new trees every year.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens has been a proponent of using grasses in the landscape for many, many years, and we have acquired an extensive collection of good garden grasses and quite a bit of experience. By staying abreast of new varieties, we have an excellent understanding on the best grasses for regional gardens. Recently, we have developed a protocol for monthly evaluations of grasses for performance and appearance. This system gives results weighted for seasonal interest, which takes into account the importance many grasses play in the landscape through all four seasons. Our Zoo’s Best Grasses List is a great tool for choosing the perfect grasses for area gardens.
Our extensive collection of shrubs, over a century in the making, has provided the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden with an excellent base of plants to evaluate. Further, we maintain a keen eye on the marketplace for new introductions and use as many of the expected best performers as we can.
Perennials are trialed throughout the grounds. They are grown in real garden situations, similar to conditions home gardeners typically provide. We amend our soil with organic matter, keep things lightly mulched, and irrigate as necessary. Our soil is heavy clay of neutral to high pH. Our climate is continental and can be depended on for continuous extremes of temperature and precipitation in every season.
How Can I Help?
To support the zoo’s horticultural mission by donating plants, money, or time, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.