The Botanical Gardens behind the main campus building of the University of Debrecen was established in 1928 when the original garden that had belonged to the Reformed College was demolished.
It began with a donation of land from the University of Debrecen, 13.7 hectares located behind the university, donated to the botanical garden. The first part of the garden to be established was the Herb Garden. Its purpose was both aesthetic and scientific, for teaching purposes. In 1935 the rock garden was established and between 1935 and 1940 the rock bottom of the lake was prepared and completed. Post-1940, plant species of Hungarian origin were the priority.
The war interrupted development plans but during the 1950s work continued on the long-planned greenhouses and introduced what would become a vast cactus collection. The largest greenhouse complex is the palm house, containing tropical plants from sub-tropical areas, tropical spice and fruit including vanilla, pepper, avocado, and banana, not forgetting the Pineapple.
Today it keeps nearly 8,000 plant species with around 6000 on display. Its collection of cacti and succulent plants – with a list of 1,300 cactus and 1,000 other succulent species, one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe – is renowned worldwide.