Spring is in full bloom at Phipps Conservatory

Courtesy of Paul Wiegman | Phipps' vibrance brings an array of color to the dreary Pittsburgh springtime.

by Caroline Kucko | staff writer

March 24, 2022

Following an exceptionally gray winter here in Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Spring Flower Show is in full bloom.

According to Director of Marketing and Communications Joe Reed, the staff at Phipps settled on a colorful and uplifting theme for this year’s show: “Sunshine and Rainbows.”

“We’re always looking for a theme that will put a spring in people’s step,” Reed said.

The show features a jaw-dropping display in the South Conservatory of a faux cloud and rainbow with cascading flowers of all colors. This display stole the show and quite literally caused visitors to stop in their tracks and take in the scenery. The show also includes a towering prop tulip and glowing sun in the Palm Court.

Phipps opened its doors to the annual spring event this past Saturday, March 19. Lasting only four weeks, the Spring Flower Show will run until April 17. Tickets cost $19.95 for adults and $17.95 for students with a valid ID.

The Spring Flower Show, a long-standing Pittsburgh tradition since the 1890s, is an immersive aromatic experience that showcases tens of thousands of spring blooms, according to Phipps’ website. The various displays include a myriad of crowd-favorites such as lilies, daffodils and tulips as well as more obscure blossoms including New Guinea impatiens and lobelia.

“Those with a real eagle eye will see some new varieties of blooms that they’ve probably never seen in our shows before,” Reed said.

Among the most popular blooms in the show this year is the Himalayan blue poppy.

This particular flower is incredibly difficult to grow and has a very short life span. However, Phipps grows them reliably and brings them out each spring. The Himalayan blue poppy turns heads due to its striking electric blue color.

For employees, putting together the Spring Flower Show is not the easiest process.

Since there is merely a two-week turnaround between shows, staff members worked tirelessly throughout the month to cover the conservatory in spring color.

“Not only are we changing out the show to move into spring, but then each day, bulbs need to be changed out,” said Reed. “It’s a constant changeover.”

Phipps is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day apart from Fridays, when it is open until 10 p.m. Although the show is a sight to behold in the daylight, it is a completely different experience at night when the conservatory is lit up with architectural lighting.

Not only can visitors take in the sights and smells of the Spring Flower Show, but they can also explore the Tropical Forest Hawaii exhibit, which was just switched after a lengthy three years of the Cuba Room. This 12,000 square foot, 60-foot high exhibit includes a wide variety of native and endemic species, according to Phipps’ website.

Guests can also see the From the Same Bulb exhibit, a photography showcase of a single plant over the span of 17 years. Additionally, Phipps offers a wide variety of virtual events such as virtual classes and film series.

A trip to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the perfect way to step into the new season and experience spring in its full glory. Tickets can be reserved on the Phipps Conservatory website.