These Greenhouses Used To Be Home To A Variety Of Plant Life. Today, This Is What They Look Like.

There's something about an abandoned greenhouse that's equal parts creepy and beautiful. Those plants, once coaxed and cultivated by human hands, have gone their own way and have even started to take over the building.

Jeff Weisberg

Martino Zegwaard

Martino Zegwaard, the photographer of this “Chateau R“ says: "This castle is far from abandoned although it sure looks like it. At the back a german shepard awaits you with bare teeth, we also met the gardener and the 'baron'. This place is straight from a fairytale and you start to believe in elves and fairies right away".

Martino Zegwaard

Photographer Liesje says of this one in Fredriksoord on the Dutch province of Drenthe: “These agaves are giant, they’re doing amazingly well, since the greenhouse is abandoned for years”.


The Alton Towers in Staffordshire were built in 1860, along with this greenhouse, abandoned when the site developed into a theme park in 1980.

Mark Nias

Just north of New York City, The Boyce Thompson Institute in Yonkers was opened in 1924 with the ambitious mission to improve society through the study of plants. It was functioning until 1978 when the institute, founded by an American mining tycoon, was forced to relocate to Ithaca due to the pollution and taxes. The Yonkers greenhouse has been in limbo ever since. It looks like Ohio is a hotspot for abandoned greenhouses, here’s another one…


This Ohio greenhouse's photographer, Brian, says, "I worked for and with Ken Otto at his Warrensville Greenhouse from 1981-1984. My heart breaks seeing this picture. Ken took me as a young teen and gave me responsibility, skills and value. He played a vital role in my life and to this day, I wish I could somehow let him know how precious and valuable those few years were and how they contributed a great deal in making me the man I am today”.

Brian B

Photographer Nicola Berlotti shot this greenhouse he calls "The Steampunk Greenhouse", but declined comment on the location in an effort to preserve it for urbex photographers.

Nicola Berlotti


Photographer Johnny Joo also declined to identify the location of this greenhouse, but had much to say about it: "As time progressed, vines and other foliage had begun to wrap themselves around metal beams, which held the structure together, gripping them tightly with friendly winding hands, almost caressing them into an inevitable closure of ruination. Beneath the blanketing of vines now remains a rusting, rotting skeleton of a place that once provided food and decoration for homes, as well as a sizable amount of jobs to former employees".

Johnny Joo

Johnny Joo

“We are so familiar with the vibrant, lively look and feel of the average greenhouse. These large spaces, usually built of glass, invite the sun in, encouraging the growth of flowers, foods and more, but what happens when these structures are forgotten? What happens when we leave something of this nature in nature’s hands? We find quite a vibrant scene can be spawned from natural destruction”.

Johnny Joo

"Considering the fact that these spaces are built specifically to motivate the growth of plants, I’m sure you could imagine that once left to rot, it might not be doing much “rotting” as it is growing".

Johnny Joo

"During winter months, we find a drastic change of scenery still unlike any thought of a “normal” greenhouse view when snow begins to fall into the glass forest, coating bare, twisting branches of trees, covering the floor and filling a space being reclaimed by Mother Nature. These winter months give a much more tranquil display of an almost post-apocalyptic stage". Johnny Joo's full urbex portfolio has similar beautiful shots and musings.

Johnny Joo

The exact location of this greenhouse in Germany was not given, but it's referred to as the "Cosmic Greenhouse"

Urbex With Flo

Urbex With Flo

Urbex With Flo

Friedhelm Thomas photographed this greenhouse in 1985, saying, "Abandoned Victorian Style Greenhouse, Villa Maria, in northern Italy near Lake Como. The exact location of the photo was over the hotel Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo near Lake Como in northern Italy. The location of the “wintergarden” is Griante/Cadenabbia. The park belongs to Villa Maria, a variant of the world-renowned garden of Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo".

Friedhelm Thomas


Since then, the Villa Maria has undergone restoration.

Mondo Lariano

And returns to life as a functioning greenhouse.

Aleph Como


And very old but not abandoned is, of course, the famous Kew Gardens greenhouse and the Royal Botanic Gardens. They've been around since 1840 and house more than 30,000 plant species.


Francis Mansell

Naomi Oppenheim

Alan Prather

Alex Reid

Credit: MessyNessy Chic

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