Aerial view of greenhouse roof

Growing Plants for Display

Oertli Family Hardy Plant Nursery

Propagating Endangered Plants

The Oertli Nursery is the Missouri Botanical Garden’s center for propagating endangered plants for conservation and display projects. Most of the species displayed in the Gateway to the Garden landscapes will be propagated at the Oertli Nursery, and nearly half will be new to the Garden’s living collections.

Adding Value to a South St. Louis Neighborhood

The Oertli Nursery is located just over a mile south of the Garden. The Garden received nearly 6.5 acres of land at the site as a gift from the Oertli family, owners of Guarantee Electrical Company since the 1940s and long-time supporters of the Garden. The Oertli Nursery is a stabilizing element in the Tower Grove South community and will be a good neighbor to both residents and Guarantee.       

Room to Grow

The spacious complex of the Oertli Nursery allows the Garden to grow tens of thousands of plants for horticultural conservation and display at the Garden. The Oertli Nursery is comprised of massive greenhouses that are supported by state-of-the-art climate and irrigation systems, hoop houses, tree lines, a large headhouse, and field production space. 

Wild-Sourced Plants

Thousands of plants for Gateway to the Garden landscapes are already in production at the Oertli Nursery, many using seeds collected in the wild from around the world. Prior to having the Oertli Nursery facilities, Garden greenhouse limitations allowed for only a small percentage of plants on display to be wild-sourced. The Oertli Nursery will allow the Garden to display wild-sourced plants in numbers that more closely match those of our peer gardens in Chicago, New York, and London.

In addition to native plants, the gardens surrounding the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center will feature species common to regions similar in climate to St. Louis, including Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, China, and Japan. Woodland, grassland, arid, and Mediterranean landscape biomes are represented.

New Micropropagation Labs

Micropropagation labs at the Oertli Nursery provide a controlled, sterile environment to propagate difficult plant material, advancing conservation horticulture for native Missouri plants and endangered species from around the globe.

Seed Bank

The Oertli Nursery complex also provides a larger, more secure home for the Garden’s growing Seed Bank, currently housed at Shaw Nature Reserve. The Seed Bank protects genetic diversity and the future of threatened species. More than 42% of the flora of Missouri is currently protected in the Seed Bank, with a long-term goal to reach 100% of the state’s plant species conserved in the Garden’s living collections.

Commitment to Sustainability

Sustainably designed and built for future growth, the  Gateway to the Garden campaign features best practices in construction, design, and operation to achieve optimal use with minimal environmental impact.

Read More »