The Philadelphia International Flower Show

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter instead of early spring.  If he’s correct, we should expect colder weather and possibly snow upon our doorsteps.  No matter how low the temperature dips outdoors, it doesn’t matter indoors at the Philadelphia International Flower Show.  This year’s theme is Hawaii and lucky for many of us, Philadelphia is a lot closer than flying all the way to the Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean.  Now in its 183rd year, and expertly run by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, we have the unique opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of plants and flowers native to the exotic Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian theme pays tribute to the plants and people of Hawaii and offers a tropical experience for all to enjoy.

Entertaining 250,000 visitors annually, the Philadelphia International flower Show is the largest indoor flower show in the world featuring 33 acres of exhibition space created by talented designers.  The first show took place in the city in 1829 at a Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street.  History began as twenty five Society members showed off their horticultural skills by sharing an interesting variety of foreign and native plants.  Over time, amateur competitions grew into the Competitive Classes which are now an important part of the show. The full scale gardens and floral displays are professionally created by skilled designers who compete in categories for “Best in Show.”   Moving from its original location to the 23rd Street Armory for a year and later to the Civic Center, the Flower Show became part of Philadelphia’s story.   In 1996, the show relocated to its present home at the state of the art Pennsylvania Convention Center.  In retrospect, those twenty five Society Members would be proud of what they started which has culminated into the impressive show we see today.

The Philadelphia International Flower Show is proud to present “Hawaii, Islands of Aloha”.   Drama unfolds as dynamic projections of crashing waves welcome visitors.  Take delight in the massive display of white orchids which have the color of fresh snow or milk as a result of the reflection of nearly all light from visible wavelengths.  Enjoy the tropical evergreen anthurium, a plant grown for showy foliage with glossy heart-shaped flowers enclosed with a spike of yellow florets.  Witness the strong hollow stems of the bamboo plant which grow in dense clumps and are native to both tropical and semi-tropical areas.  Observe the crowns upon the palms and find the beauty of other rich and tropical plants which form lush canopies of the rainforest.  Watch the cascading 25 foot waterfall and see rare exotic flowers at their peak of beauty as temperature and light are masterfully used to force trees, shrubs and perennials into full bloom for the show.  Experience the excitement of lava flows.  Then, let tranquil winds of paradise sweep you off your feet as you enjoy a luau or explore crafts at the Hawaii Village.  Further excitement waits with culinary presentations, vendors, lecture and demonstration series, live entertainment, and garden teas.  The show is testament to the outstanding effort of its exhibitors who spend an average of 18 months preparing for the spectacular event.

The 2012 Show runs from March 4-11th and revenue supports the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), a non-profit organization.  The Philadelphia Flower Show, alongside sponsorship involvement, uses proceeds to fund outreach programs like Philadelphia Green, a neighborhood greening program that works with over 800 organized community groups on projects like planting street trees, maintaining neighborhood parks, and designing and planting vegetable and flower gardens.  It’s great to know that with every ticket purchased, the community benefits.  Philadelphia is a beautiful city worthy of time and exploration.  Let the Flower Show be part of your memories of Philadelphia.  No matter what the weather is outdoors, come enjoy the Island beauty of Hawaii indoors in Philadelphia.  Aloha! 


  • Take your time to enjoy the      exhibits.  Plan to spend the day at      the Show as there is much to do and see.       Expect some exhibits to be slightly crowded.
  • Bring your camera.  It’s a great way to remember the Flower      Show.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast to      provide energy for the day.  You may      wish to purchase lunch there.
  • Wear comfortable shoes for      walking.
  • Gather information ahead or      download the Flower Show app to your smart phone for parking, schedules,      offers and advice.
  • Purchase your tickets online      or at or      at one of their designated ticket outlets.        When you purchase your      Flower Show ticket, your email confirmation will include a link to the      Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website where for a limited time you will be      able to purchase a discounted museum ticket to Van Gogh’s exhibit.
  • If staying overnight, make      reservations ahead as hotels book quickly.
  • Check out the group discounted      tickets and family package deals also available on line.

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Dave from Aledo, Texas
9 years ago

Reading this article about the Philadelphisa Flower Show awakened many fond memories. I grew up Upper Darby and was introduced to the Flower Show as a youngster by my mother who worked at the Universithy Museum. At first there were two draws from my view point. The wonderful smell and the Droste Dark Chocolate Apple I would receive if I was good. Later the beauty and creativeness of the displays impinged but never quite supplanted the chocolate apple. I was one proud puppy when I got old enough to ride the El in and go to the Convention Center by myself.

My extensive travels on 6 continents over 65 years have been enhanced by that experience. I have had the pleasure of seeing gardens, forests,mountains and raw jungles of Vietnam, South America, Indonesia, Singapore, Africa, Canada, Europe,and Australia. I didn’t realize that all were measured against the concentrated perfection of the Philadelphis Flower Show that I first experienced as a small child with a Chocolate apple clutched in my chubby little hand. Thanks for the memory jug.

Nick from Bensalem
9 years ago

Do members of Amac receive a monthly magazine? If so I never received one so far.

Nick from Bensalem
9 years ago

Why doesn’t Amac offer discounts to the flower show?

Jan from New Hampshire
9 years ago

I have been attending this wonderful show for eight years. Be prepared to be “awed”, however, traffic flow for the displays is always an issue so be prepared to experience some wait time.

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