Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden harnesses the power of plants for humankind and shares the joy and beauty of tropical gardening with everyone. Named for one of the most famous plant explorers in history, David Fairchild (1869-1954), the garden opened to the public in 1938. It was established on an 83-acre site purchased by Col. Robert H. Montgomery south of Miami, then later deeded to Miami-Dade County. Renowned landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, a leading landscape designer during the 1930s, designed the Garden.
Robert Montgomery and David Fairchild dedicated themselves to collecting, documenting and studying tropical and subtropical plants from around the world, especially palms and cycads, which are still the most significant Fairchild collections.
The Garden’s first 15 years saw the construction of its primary buildings and landscape features. A comprehensive master plan developed in 1994 provides a framework for continued growth and development. The Tropical Plant Conservatory and Rare Plant House, was totally renovated in 1995 and again 2012, as was the Gate House, a locally designated historic landmark.
Assembling and maintaining an outstanding botanical collection has been a fundamental part of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden existence since it opened. Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Fairchild plant collecting efforts have intensified dramatically, as scientists sought not only to restore the Garden’s collections, but also to identify and save endangered plants throughout the tropics. Since that time, Fairchild’s collections now include tropical fruit, orchids, and Florida and native plants.