Famous plant collector, E.H. Wilson once referred to China as the “Mother of All Gardens.” For good reason, as China is home to more than 30,000 plant species or one eighth of the world total. Many of the plants we know and love in the West originate in China, yet few people recognize China’s influence in their own gardens.

The plant collection at Lan Su presents hundreds of plants species that are native to China. It is home to more than fifty specimen trees, many rare and unusual shrubs and perennials, and curated collections of Magnolia, Peony, Camellia, Rhododendron, Osmanthus and bamboo.

Plant Collection

The plant collections at Lan Su present hundreds of native Chinese plant species and forms. The garden is home to more than ninety specimen trees, many rare and unusual shrubs and perennials, and signature collections that include Magnolia, Cymbidium, Camellia, Osmanthus, Rhododendron and bamboo. Many of these plants have a long history in traditional Chinese gardens while others reflect the efforts of relatively recent expeditions into China's hinterlands for wild-collected species virtually unknown in the West. Still others speak to the work of scientists and plantsmen through breeding and selection of garden worthy hybrids and cultivars.

Lan Su's mission in developing this unique and diverse living collection is twofold. First is to provide visitors with a microcosmic view of the wealth of China's native flora. Second, the botanical collection in the garden provides an invaluable tool for explaining customs and traditions rooted in human interaction with plants for thousands of years.

Lan Su's collection is the result of many years of dedicated passion and expertise from monks who first nurtured 1,000-year-old camellias behind the sheltering walls of aged temples and to the artisans, crafts people, and plantsmen who built the garden and procured the plants.

For Chinese horticulture questions, please contact Lan Su's Director of Horticulture, Glin Varco, at 503.228.8131 ext. 1004 or send Glin an email.

Lan Su also provides plant specific tours that are of interest to both home gardeners and professionals in the fields of horticulture and botany. Classes and lectures relevant to Chinese horticulture are offered throughout the year. For more information, visit our event calendar.

There's always something new at Lan Su.

Plant Guide

Discover what's currently in bloom at Lan Su by picking up a copy of Lan Su's most recent Bloom Guide at the door or download your copy now. Featuring 16 of the most fragrant or most beautiful plants in the garden, the Plant Guide is your window into Lan Su's horticultural landscape.

Download your copy now. (PDF, 551 KB) »

Master Species List

See the complete list of all the groundcovers, shrubs, trees, vines, herbaceous perennials and bamboo in the garden with Lan Su's Master Species List. 

Download your copy now. (PDF, 890 KB) »