How To Grow A Tropical Garden - purple and orange plantsSo, you want a Tropical-looking garden but you don’t live in the Tropics?  Not a problem.  You can imitate the look with the correct selection of plants and accessories.

Firstly ask yourself,  ‘What does a Tropical Garden look like?’  
Each person has their own interpretation.  You may be inspired by Hawaii, Bali, Tahiti, Tropical Northern Australia or maybe a movie location you have seen.  You may want to design your garden around a statue or two; or even a bure (bungalow) and daybed.     





How To Grow A Tropical Garden - bright green leavesDon’t forget to calculate how much time you have available each week to tend your new garden, because this is a really important factor during plant selection.   

To me, nothing says ‘tropics’ more than lots of colour and lush looking foliage in a layered look.  Keeping this in mind, I have selected plants that suit the climate in my region of Australia.  I don’t have heaps of time to spend in the garden so I look for easy care plants that can virtually look after themselves except for watering.  

Tip: Check out this article  A load of plants that you don't need green fingers for to get some ideas for a low maintenance garden.




How To Grow A Tropical Garden - red cones and green leavesLet the micro-climates occurring in the various locations within your garden determine what you plant, and where.

I started planting my Wet-Tropics / Rainforest-style garden with plants that are fast-growing, tall plants to become my top layer (canopy), then layered everything underneath.  






How To Grow A Tropical Garden - pink flowers I started with planting a Banana sucker close to the house because we get light frosts in my region during winter and the brick wall radiates heat to help keep the banana sucker warm year-round.  Then I planted a Palm tree and two Frangipani trees (soon to be trees as I am growing them from cuttings) and then some pink and variegated Cordylines and Happy Plant cuttings, which have taken well.   






I have also included edible plants that suit my tropical theme like edible ginger and turmeric. 
Under the eaves, on the ‘morning side’ of the house, which don’t receive much rainwater, I have planted drought-tolerant plants like Aloe Vera; Jade, Geraniums and Christmas fern for colour and texture.  They fit in perfectly with my idea of a Dry-tropics garden, like you would find around Townsville.

Suggested plants:

•    Bamboo (clumping type is best)
•    Bird’s Nest
•    Bird of Paradise
•    Bromeliads
•    Cordyline
•    Crotons
•    Frangipani tree
•    Gingers: torch, edible and blue-flowering
•    Happy plants
•    Hibiscus
•    Hippeastrum
•    Jade
•    Orchids
•    Palm trees
•    Pigface
•    Pineapples - Check out how to grow your own
•    Rubberplants

The photos are of my garden so far, I hope you enjoy them.

Happy Gardening!







If you would like to read more from Glenda you can visit her blog: Growing Snowballs

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N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.