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Hardy Tropical or Mediterranean Plants

HuntertonyHuntertony Posts: 88

I want to work on giving our garden a more tropical/holiday feel. We have a well-established Fatsia Japonica & Mahonia Japonica, and have just planted out a couple of Coryline Autralis ("Variegata") so it's a start. Also have a Eucalyptus Tree in a teracotta pot which gives a nice mediterranean feel.


 Has anyone got any idea's for any more plants that may be worth trying?



  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..I wonder which part of the country you live in, as some of the nicer ones are not reliably hardy... however, Euphorbia mellifera has survived in my East Anglian garden down to -15c which defies the RHS hardiness rating of H2... but freezing wind is it's mortal enemy I think..  see what you think... it's a native of Madeira... I wouldn't be in a garden without it.. you see them more on the west coast, especially in Cornwall. 



  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Hardtropicals ( is the place to get more inspiration.

    Verdun's suggestions are spot on though for Palms, the only one provan truly hardy in the UK is Trachycarpus fortunei. Canary Island Date Palm (CIPD)  is not hardy and should be seen as annual bedding apart from fortunate places in coastal Cornwall etc. Otherwise inside a dry greenhouse all winter, but they grow big.

    Musa and ensete look the part and canna musifolia are tropical looking and give the jungle look.

    Salina's suggestion for Euphorbia is also spot on!

    Rodgersia, Ligularia, Rheum, Gunnera Manicata, Bamboo also immediately come to mind.

  • I always think crocosmia and kniphofia together give a very tropical look, it what are very hardy plants. 

  • KleeblattKleeblatt Posts: 52

    @ Verdun:

    Why would you avoid bamboo?

    I was thinking of planting bamboo, but I am unsure about the drainage it requires.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,032

    Bamboo can be a thug if it's the 'running' type. Clump forming ones can be contained in their own bed or a big pot but you have to keep a careful watch on them. Anything with big leaves will be good Kleeblatt- some of the dark elders or ligularias for example. Also phormiums are exactly the right 'look'. Plenty of grasses- big or small- Miscanthus gets to a good height and there are lots of easily obtainable varieties. Ordinary plants amongst them will add to the look-  lady's mantle (alchemilla) but it does seed about, or ferns as they get to a good size and give a strong contrast in leaf shape. Hot colours of lilies - day lilies and alstroemeria included , and even things like rhododendron as they give a good leaf shape and you can get strong flower colours. If you want calmer colours and more of a foliage look you can get white varieties of lilies and rhodies too.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    In my 'tropical' bed I've got cannas, dahlias, eucomis, begonias, kniphofia, cordyline (except the rabbits have destroyed it), crocosmia, lots of lillies, hemerocallis, tritoma, verbena bonariensis, and a big banana.  I lift the cannas, eucomis, begonias and dahlias for the winter, and I wrap the banana, but everything else is perfectly happy (and we are on HEAVY clay on north facing slope).  I left the dahlias in the ground one year and they were all fine, but just flowered a little later than usual.  Also each year I grow ricinis from seed - they are fantastic, really scary big tropical things!  And then I fill the gaps with red amaranthus (love-lies-bleeding) and nicotiana sylvestris.

    Even though most of these aren't strictly 'tropical' the overall effect is wonderfully jungly and vividly colourful. 

  • bigolobbigolob Posts: 127

    There seems to be a problem with WHAT ARE TROPICAL PLANTS.

    The climate they live in has a temperature minimum of 85 degrees F. (27 C) every day of the year and most commonly 30 C = 90F. My wife and I are fortunate to spend a big part of January and February in the West Indes each year  where we see in gardens the most exotic plants which could not survive anything near the European climate.

    Orchid World in Barbados has a fabulous display of Orchids with plants tied to wooden stakes, no soil or compost but just surviving by their Epiphyte nature from moisture and food taken from the air. There are 30,000 varieties in the 30 acre gardens and what a site! Also Heliconia, my favourite Tropical plant (cousins of the `Bird of Paradise`).

    To look upon Bamboo, Dahlias and Begonias as Tropical is ridiculous.

  • To be fair he didn't say he wanted tropical plants, he said he wanted to give his garden a more tropical/holiday feel. The two are very different, clearly he's not going to build the eden project in his back garden, but there are many tropical looking plants which are hardy and will give the feel he's looking for.

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