The Conservatory was the vision of Herbert and Nicole Wertheim, who donated funds for the construction of the Conservatory and the Auditorium in 1990. State funds matched the donation, and construction started in 1991 and was performed by the National Greenhouse Company, Atlanta, Georgia.
The glasshouse was nearly complete in August 1992 when it was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. It was rebuilt in 1993, after which it was used for research space until a curator position was funded and an interior design contractor found. Planting and interior design was initiated in fall 1996 by Bruce Morgan.The initial planting was completed in January 1997.
The Conservatory was formally dedicated in April 1997 by Sir Gillian Prance, then director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK).