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Nursery of Rhododendrons "Babīte"
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Address: Babīte PSF 30, Rīga district, LV-2101, Latvia
Director: Prof. Rihards Kondratovičs
Phone: 371 67913107
Fax: 371 67913127
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Nursery of Rhododendrons “Babīte”, the University of Latvia, was founded on July 1, 1980 according to the UL Board’s decision. It is located in the beautiful area of pine forest - Babite, Riga district with a total area of 12 ha. Currently it is the only specialized nursery of rhododendrons in the Baltic States.

The major activities of “Babīte” include the following:

  • introduction and selection of rhododendrons; creation of new ornamental  and winter-hardy plants suitable for the Latvian agro-climatic conditions;
  • testing of new plant varieties according to the UPOV (the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) guidelines;
  • improvement of existing and development of new, effective methods of generative and vegetative rhododendron propagation;
  • improvement of agro-technical methods, elaboration of methods and techniques for disease and pest control;
  • examination of theoretical and practical aspects of plants endurance physiology relating to physiological and biochemical changes during the process of ecological adaptation of rhododendrons;
  • participation in student training; organizing the placements of students, as well as expanding  closer cooperation for writing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral thesis;
  • plant propagating on TV, radio and the media;
  • supplying plants and all information required to clients;

In 1957 the selection of new rhododendron varieties was started under the guidance of Professor Rihards Kondratovics in the Botanical Garden ot the University of Latvia with the aim to cultivate open-air, ornamental and winter-hardy rhododendrons adapted to the Latvian agro-climatic conditions. Since 1980 further work continues at the University of Latvia Rhododendron Breeding and Experimental Nursery “Babīte”. As a result, 656 crosses in different combinations have been made and the selection of several thousands of hybrids gave hundreds of the most valuable and perspective hybrids.

In the period of 1999 – 2016, upon successful examination of plant varieties, 106 species of open-air rhododendrons (46 deciduous and 60 evergreen varieties of rhododendrons) were approved and registered in the International Rhododendron Register, the Royal Horticultural Society.