Surviving or Thriving: An exhibition on plants and us

CLOSED A specially-curated exhibition about the state of the world’s plants and what this means for us, based on our pioneering annual science reports.

Surviving or Thriving exhibition at Wakehurst © Adomas Mockus



In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are sorry to inform you that this exhibition is closed until further notice. For more information, please see our Tickets and prices page.

This exhibition brings Kew’s State of the World’s Plants reports to life.

Games, film, sound, models and a futuristic garden tell the story of why some plants are only surviving, while others are thriving.

Plants are in crisis – but it isn’t all bad. We’re still discovering 2,000 new species a year. Some may be edible, some may be medicinal, and this exhibition showcases many of the reasons why plants matter.

There are fascinating stories about the vital roles of fungi too – from a fungus that breaks down plastics to one which provides the ingredients to make Lego bricks.

Exhibition highlights include:

A garden in 2050 – plants that are likely to thrive in a hotter climate.

Sculptures of five trees from around the world – each facing a different challenge. Visit these trees in the gardens to discover kaleidoscopes highlighting their features, which will change with the seasons.

Six one-minute films focusing on plant discoveries, DNA, fungi, crop wild relatives, Japanese knotweed and bananas…

An audio backdrop showing the dramatic change in birdsong in a Californian forest from 2004 and 2014.

A 3D touch table, where you can peel back the layers of an everyday banana and a wild banana to see how much has changed since we ‘domesticated’ it. What are those little threads that sit between the peel and flesh of a banana? You’ll have to visit to find out.

Wakehurst’s Astrid Krumins, who managed the exhibition team, says:

“We warmly invite you to come and discover how plants are faring across the globe. The exhibition is full of thought-provoking, bite-sized information!”

Admission to the Surviving or Thriving exhibition is included with entry to Wakehurst.