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Botanical Gardens & Arboretums in Birmingham, AL

Looking for a place to commune with plants in Birmingham?

Pickin’s are slim inside the city limits, but The Magic City does have a couple of botanical gardens in and around the area.

Here are the places plant life thrives closest to town:

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

birmingham botanic

These are B’ham’s nearest botanical gardens:

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

2612 Lane Park Rd
Birmingham, AL 35223
(205) 414-3950

Daily: 7 am-6 pm (Summer Season)
Daily: 7 am-5 pm (Winter Season)

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Tropical House
  • Desert House
  • Citrus House
  • Japanese Garden (With Cherry Blossoms)
  • Forman Garden (Annuals)
  • Kaul Wildflower Garden
  • Southern Living Garden (Designed by Southern Living Magazine)
  • Bruno Vegetable Garden
  • Jemison Daylily Garden
  • Hess Camellia Garden
  • Ireland Iris Garden
  • Curry Rhododendron Garden
  • Fern Glade
  • Bog Garden (Wetland)
  • Dunn Formal Rose Garden
  • Ireland Old-Fashioned Rose Garden
  • Crape Myrtle Garden

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Lakes & Fountains
  • Library
  • Café
  • Gift Shop
  • Event Space
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Aldridge Gardens

3530 Lorna Rd
Hoover, AL 35216
(205) 682-8019

Daily: 8 am-7 pm)

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Hydrangea Garden
  • Meyer Bonsai Terrace

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Lake
  • Walking Trail

Birmingham Arboretums

arboretum 1

These are B’ham’s nearest arboretums:

Hulsey Woods & Barber Alabama Woodlands

(In Birmingham Botanical Gardens)
2612 Lane Park Rd
Birmingham, AL 35223
(205) 414-3950

Daily: 7 am-6 pm (Summer Season)
Daily: 7 am-5 pm (Winter Season)

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Japanese Maples (Hulsey Woods)
  • Camellias (Hulsey Woods)
  • Tea Olives (Hulsey Woods)
  • Oaks (Barber Alabama Woodlands)
  • Poplars (Barber Alabama Woodlands)
  • Southern Maples (Barber Alabama Woodlands)
  • Pine (Barber Alabama Woodlands)
trees arboretum

The University of Alabama Arboretum

4801 Arboretum Way
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
(205) 553-3278

Daily: 8 am-Sunset

Admission: Free

Parking: Free

Species & Gardens

  • Maples
  • Camellias
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Dogwood
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Red Mulberry
  • Wildflower Garden
  • Ornamental Plants

Van de Graaff Arboretum

3231 Robert Cardinal Airport Rd
Northport, AL 35476
(205) 562-3220

Daily: 6 am-Sunset

Admission: Free

Parking: Free

Species & Gardens

  • Maples
  • Camellias
  • Pine
  • Wetlands

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Walk-In Camping
  • Historic Bridge
  • Swings
  • Walking Trail
  • Pavilion
  • Grills
  • Bat House
  • Horseshoe Pit

Botanical Gardens & Arboretums FAQ

Getting jonesed up for your trip to a local botanical garden or arboretum?

Here are some cool questions and answers about botanic gardens to help get you in the mood.

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Does botanic and botanical mean the same thing?

Yup. You will see some gardens use “botanic” and some gardens use “botanical,” but they have the exact same meaning –

“involving or relating to plants”

The term is derived from “botany,” which is biology’s branch for plant life.

Is there a difference between a botanical garden and an arboretum?


There is some crossover between the two, and their missions of preserving, cataloguing and studying plant life is largely the same, but there is a difference between a botanical garden and an arboretum.

That difference is in the plants that they grow and study.

A botanical garden has specialized areas (greenhouses, conservatories, gardens) in which they typically grow non-native plants or collections of plants.

An arboretum is focused on native trees and wood plants (though, they may grow other trees and plants), which are generally grown outdoors in their natural environments.

While there are some arboretums that stand alone, many are found within the grounds of botanical gardens.

What is the largest botanical garden in the world?

Kew Gardens, officially named Royal Botanic Gardens, just outside of London, England is considered the world’s biggest botanical garden.

At 320 acres, it’s not the largest in size, but at 30,000 species, it has the most diverse collection of living plants in the world.

What is the largest botanical garden in the U.S.?

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (just outside of Wilmington, Delaware) is the largest botanical garden in the United States by size.

It sits on nearly 1,100 acres, though not all of that is devoted to the gardens themselves.

But if we’re talking species, the largest U.S. botanical garden is New York Botanical Garden.

At 250 acres, it’s only a fourth the size of Longwood Gardens, but houses 12,000 different species of plants.

Could I just grow a bunch of plants and call it a botanical garden?

You could, but you wouldn’t be meeting the official definition or criteria for a botanical garden.

A botanic garden, as defined by the International Association of Botanic Gardens, must be open to the public and its plants must be labeled.

But that is the most general definition.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organization which counts most of the world’s most important botanic gardens amongst its membership, have expanded the definition to include additional criteria.

Some of these criteria are:

  • Being largely permanent
  • Keeping proper documentation of all plant species
  • Maintaining proper labeling of plant species
  • Having a scientific basis for collections
  • Doing on-site study/research

Basically, if you don’t have a scientific explanation for why you have certain plants and why you have them in certain groupings and you aren’t actively studying them, you don’t really have a botanical garden.

After all, the study of plants – botany – is right there in the name.