A lot of people think that, when they’re gardening in the UK, they must stick to the kind of plants and flowers that you would naturally find here, or in other countries with similar climates, but it is actually very possible to grow beautiful tropical plants in England and the rest of the UK, even with our colder climate.
If you want to create an exotic garden that looks more like a scene from the Caribbean or Southeast Asia than Cumbria or Southampton, check out these essentials:
Before we get into the tropical plants that you can grow here in England, it’s worth mentioning that, if you invest in a greenhouse, like the ones you’ll find at https://www.swgreenhouses.co.uk/ you will be able to grow an even wider variety of tropical plants. Why? Simply because greenhouses create a warmer climate, of course. We have a greenhouse in the Old House garden but we plan to add a second as I would love to grow a fig tree and a vine in it!
Now onto the exotic plants, you should be able to grow in your own garden:
Chusan Palm, also known as Trachycarpus Fortunei is a really pretty palm whose leaves are shaped like a fan. This plant is hardy for a palm, which means that it can withstand our cooler climate, however if it’s particularly cold and frosty, it is a good idea to wrap the upper parts of the plant with bubble wrap for some extra protection. I love the structure of the leaves which would add much interest to a tropical style garden.
Horse Tails are amongst the most unusual tropical plants you will ever see. Sprouting up completely straight in the Springtime, they will give your garden a truly unique and exotic look, but be careful to contain them because they will spread out and take over if left to their own devices. They also look great in pots and would love fabulous edging a patio or decked area.
Want to create a garden with some oriental elements? You can’t go wrong with bamboo, which is evocative of the Far East and Zen. Not only is bamboo extremely hardy, but it also grows really quickly, is easy to look after, and is evergreen, which means it will always keep your garden looking great. It can be invasive though so I would suggest planting it in pot or in a contained area otherwise it may spread quickly. I love the way the bamboo sounds when a breeze moves through it! Very calming.
Ginger Lily, also known as Hedychium Aurantiacum, which you can buy at https://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/hedychium-gardnerianum, is probably one of the most beautiful plants on this list, thanks to its sweet-scented yellow flowers with red stamens.
The bean tree grows huge leaves that form in an umbrella shape, so if you’re looking for a tree that you can sit under and get some shade in the height of summer, it’s definitely the one for you. You must, however, bear in mind that it grows pretty slowly, so you might want to purchase a mature specimen if you want to bring that shady jungle vibe to your garden with immediate effect.
This perennial plant is notable for its gigantic purple and white flowers which appear in the summer. The plant itself is evergreen, and as long as you plant it in a spot that offers lots of shelter, it should easily be able to survive the average British winter. It will even grow happily in dappled shade so I have some in my woodland area.
Japanese Banana Plant
These plants look very lush and this one, is the most hardy in the English climate. It would look fantastic in a tropical style garden but would need a sheltered spot and protection in very cold weather. These bananas wouldn’t flower or fruit but their leaves add extra tropical details to any exotic garden.
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A blog about my life in The Old House, a mum to teenagers, a primary school teacher and my passion for gardening.