It’s possible to get a tropical style garden without having to swathe your plants in bubble wrap every winter! These are the top tropical plants for a colder climate.
1. Chusan palm/Trachycarpus fortunei
A really lovely palm (above) with fan-shaped leaves. This is a hardy plant and while it is incredibly robust in very cold winters it’s a good idea to bubble wrap the top.
2. Bean tree/Catalpa ‘Bungei’
This is a slow-growing tree with big leaves that form an umbrella shape. It’s great for giving a small garden a shady, jungle-like feel.
3. Bamboo/Phyllostachys nigra
Bamboos are the perfect plant for a tropical look; they are reliably hardy, evergreen and with a small footprint so they don’t take up too much room. Go for a clump-growing type like black bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra, rather than the spreading varieties.
4. Ginger Lily/Hedychium aurantiacum
A truly tropical-looking orange flower, it’s a bulb-like plant and will push up through the soil in early summer to produce red flowers late in the season.
5. Fatsia/Fatsia japonica
This, and its climbing relative fatshedera, have big, glossy, evergreen leaves giving a perfect tropical backdrop to the garden.
6. Horse tails/Equisetum arvense
These come arrow-straight up out of the ground in spring. Really odd plants but very exotic looking – they do spread so place them carefully!
7. Arum lilies/Zantedeschia aethiopica
This lily will be evergreen in sheltered spots and produces the most elegant swan-like white flowers in spring and summer.
8. Bear’s breeches/Acanthus mollis
Tall and stately, this perennial produces huge white and purple flowers in summer and will be evergreen in a sheltered spot.
9. Trilliums/Trillium grandiflorum
Early in the year this plant’s three-petalled, large flower pushes up through its low glossy foliage. It’s the sort of thing you might expect to find carpeting the floor of an enchanted jungle.
10. Rodgersia/Rodgersia pinnata ‘Superba’
Imagine a perennial with enormous horse chestnut leaves and huge candles of flowers poking out from them. That’s rodgersia. It dies down in winter but will come up in spring – to nearly 6ft if it’s happy and kept well-watered!