Kew Modular Certificate in glasshouse display practices: Palm House

Perfect for horticulturists wishing to undertake professional training in some of Kew’s unique plant collections.

Interior of the Palm House


3 months

About the course 

This course is perfect for horticulturists wishing to undertake professional training in some of Kew’s unique plant collections.

Open to horticulturists anywhere in the world, the course is ideal for those who would like to come to Kew to undertake some continued professional development. 

About the Palm House 

The Palm House is one of Kew’s most iconic and historic buildings and is home to its rainforest display. Built between 1844 and 1848, the house is planted as one habitat, the tropical rainforest. Plants are displayed in three geographical regions:

  • Americas in the centre of the house
  • Africa in the south wing
  • Australasia in the north wing

The main aim of the display in the Palm House is to give visitors the experience of a rainforest without leaving London, as well as to educate about the fragility and threats to this unique ecosystem.

Plants in the Palm House

The planting simulates the multi layered nature of a rainforest with canopy palms and trees above understorey plants.The main collections located in the Palm House are:

  • palms, nearly 10% of the world’s palms are grown in an area just under 2000m2
  • cycads including possibly the oldest pot plant in the world (Encephalartos altensteinii)
  • woody tropical plants including many fruiting trees (Carica papaya, Annona muricata, Eugenia uniflora, Theobroma cacao, Musa spp.) and flowering shrubs
  • tropical climbers including the amazing Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) and Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia ringens)
  • tropical herbaceous plants such as Calathea, Ruellia, Neomarica, Zingiber and many others

The display also holds plants from all over the world which are threatened with extinction and is an important gene bank for some of the world’s rarest plants.The various collections are used by Kew’s science teams for DNA work to understand relationships between plants, as well as molecular studies or studies on plant products.



Candidates must have at least 6 months of practical experience in a professional horticultural environment and be able to communicate in both written and spoken English.

In order to attend these courses at Kew, students from outside the European Economic Area will need to apply for a visa from the UK Border Agency to enter the UK. To assess your visa and UK entry requirements please follow the link to the UK Home Office web pages at

Conditions for entry 

Please read and understand the following conditions carefully.  Any offer is on the understanding that the applicant accepts the following conditions:

(a) RBG Kew reserves the right to vary the programme if circumstances arise which make this necessary.

(b) RBG Kew reserves the right to terminate the Kew Modular Certificate at any time should there be any misconduct or inability to carry out tasks

(c) The Modular Certificates are primarily practical in nature - no formal lectures take place.

(d) Uniform and PPE will be provided on starting the module (this should be returned at the end on the module). We encourage successful applicants to wear the uniform of their organisation, if appropriate.

(e) Applicants should be able to speak and write fluently in English.

(f) Fees are required to be paid prior to the commencement of the module. Fees are non-refundable once the module starts.

How to apply 

For further information and/or an application form, please contact 


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