Over 3000 exotic plant species and varieties are cultivated in the attraction’s nine public greenhouses and the plant nurseries that are closed to the public. Each one of the greenhouses is dedicated to a specific family of plants or a tropical or subtropical region. They are also home to a number of animals such as piranhas, Malawi cichlids, poison dart frogs and turtles.
The Palm House is the tallest greenhouse and contains a multitude of impressive palm trees. Its “Treetop Trail” allows visitors to explore the crowns of these trees up close.
Visitors to the Fern House can view a number of tree ferns and palm ferns that seem to date back to primeval times.
Anyone who has ever been to the Mediterranean or the Canary Islands can visit old friends such as the laurel tree and dragon trees in the Mediterranean House.
The Large and Small Tropical Houses provide visitors with an insight into the tropical rainforest flora that can be found in Asia, Africa and America. They also contain several tropical domesticated plants such as banana trees, coffee trees and a cacao tree. The Small Tropical House is additionally home to the Victoria Pool and its impressive giant water lily.
The Gruson Greenhouses also feature two smaller greenhouses that contain a wide variety of orchids and bromeliads, as well as a number of carnivorous plants.
In the summer months, visitors can additionally enjoy the attraction's courtyard, a peaceful oasis full of citrus trees, palms and a cactus garden.
The journey through the Gruson Greenhouses ends with a visit to the Cactus House, which is full to the brim with succulent plants such as golden barrel cacti, the oldest examples of which already formed part of the collection back when Gruson was alive, giant column cacti, agaves and Euphorbia species.
The citizens of and visitors to the German city of Magdeburg have been able to experience the tropics located in these greenhouses since as early as 1896.
During the 1860s and right up until his death in 1895, the mechanical engineering entrepreneur Hermann Gruson, who was born in Magdeburg in 1821, amassed an extremely extensive collection of exotic plants. He was particularly interested in cacti and other succulent plants and at the end of the 19th century, his collection of cacti was considered to be one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. The golden barrel cactus, which was first scientifically described in 1891, was even named “Echinocactus grusonii” in his honour.
After Gruson’s death, his collection of plants and a financial contribution towards the construction of the greenhouses were passed to the ownership of the City of Magdeburg as stipulated in his will. The site has since been extended, reconstructed and renovated on several occasions.
The greenhouses were badly damaged in the Second World War. Their reconstruction was provisionally completed with the inauguration of the large Palm House in 1986 and gradually continued with the renovation of seven public greenhouses between 1994 and 2010. The restoration of the Gruson Greenhouses to their original scale was finally brought to an end by the completion of the new entrance building next to the Klosterbergegarten park in 2010.