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Tropical gardens are well known for their lush foliage and dense jungle like planting. However, it is the exotic within tropical gardens which really provide a taste of the tropics.
Tropical garden flowers are typically large, colourful and unusual! This is why choosing the best flowers for a tropical garden in cooler climates can be tricky.
You want to pick flowers that look exotic but are still hardy enough to survive cold winters. As tropical gardens are normally evergreen, flowers can provide some additional seasonal change and drama.
This makes flowers a very crucial part of any tropical or jungle garden border. In this article I will list and describe 13 of the best flowers for topical gardens in cooler climates.
1. Hardy Hibiscus
If there is one flower that is typical of tropical environments it is the Hibiscus flower. Surprisingly, 'Hardy Hibiscus' is not actually closely related to the traditional, tropical, variety.
This plants name simply reflects that the flowers are so similar to tropical Hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus is actually a part of the Mallow family and originally comes from North America.
2. Star Jasmine
The Star Jasmine is an evergreen, climbing, jasmine with typical jasmine flowers and a sweet scent.
Native to Japan and China, the Star Jasmine has glossy leaves which display tones of red during winter. Preferring a sunny position with free draining soil this climber is perfect for tropical gardens.
3. Passion flower
Also known as passiflora the passion flower is a climbing plant with striking, exotic looking flowers.
This climber is typically grown up sunny walls and over trellis and structures. During hot summers it will produce small fruit which are both edible and ornamental.
Its tropical looking flowers and foliage make it a great choice for tropical gardens.
4. Calla Lilly
If you want to add a very exotic looking plant to your tropical garden then the Calla lily is a great choice. These perennial flowers will come up every year and sprout from rhizomes.
Very much like Dahlias, the rhizomes will have to be dug up and stored in peat in a frost free place during the winter.
Crocosmia are perennial flowers with sword like leaves and exotic looking red and orange flowers. Originating from Africa, these flowers prefer a sunny site and a well drained soil.
These plants slowly spread via dividing bulbs making them a suitable groundcover to the front of borders.
Cannas are tropical flowering plants which have become a very popular in the past few decades.
Closely related to ginger, these perennials will grow back every year as long as they have frost protection. Cannas have very similar leaves to banana palms making them perfect for tropical gardens.
7. African Lilly
Commonly known by its Latin name 'Agapanthus', this beautiful plant is perfect for tropical garden borders.
Growing similarly to alliums, they send up a tall, single, stem and produce a cluster of Lilly like flowers. Depending on where you live the bulbs may need lifting or winter protection.
There are a broad range of Iris species all originating from the northern hemisphere. These plants have erect, sword like, foliage and famous for their exotic looking flowers.
Iris sprout up every year from their rhizomes which can be divided into new pants every few years.
Lilies are perennial plants with very large and impressive flowers, popular for flower arranging.
These flowers are perfect to add some seasonal beauty and sweet scent to the tropical garden. Their tall stems have exotic looking, horizontal, sword like, leaves which dance on the breeze.
Daylilies are perennial, flowering, plants with attractive, Lilly like, flowers. Although technically not a Lilly Daylilies have many aesthetic qualities of their own.
These, low growing perennials have grass like leaves and can form a dense groundcover. Daylilies are perfect for growing to the very front of tropical garden borders.
Hostas are shade tolerant, perennial, plants, grown for their attractive foliage and flowers. Originating from East Asia, Hosta's are cold hardy but have large tropical looking leaves. This makes them perfect for planting dense ground covers to the front of tropical garden borders.
12. Red hot poker
Also known as ‘Torch lily’ this exotic looking perennial flower is native to South Africa. Its flower looks very much like a fire torch and is perfect for adding drama to Jungle gardens.
This flower will come up every season and flower during the late summer.
Dahlias are an extremely popular garden plant and enjoyed for their brilliant flowers worldwide. Originating from the Central Americas, these perennials like it sunny and warm.
The plants grow each year from tubers which need some frost protection in cold climates. These flowers make an excellent addition to a tropical garden border providing plenty of colour.
Thank you for visiting our article on 13 flowers for tropical gardens in cooler climates.
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Below we have linked to some of our other tropical garden articles you may find useful.
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