Tropical Plants for the UK
With a little care and thought you can grow tropical plants in the UK. Some are easy tham others. Those that can be grown in containers and are either small or easy to prune to size are the easiest. And this include both flowering plants and fruit trees.
Others really do require a heated greenhouse to survive through winter as well as perform at their best in summer months.
A few specialist nurseries are offering a range of tropical and sub tropical plants suited to the UK. So be it with flowers, fruit or foliage, you can create a tropical paradise in your garden or on a patio, it may be small scale, power you can do it.
How to grow tropical plants to grow in the UK.
- The first is to treat them like annuals. Plant them in a warm protected position as soon as the weather warms up a little. You will still need to create a warm humid microclimate, however it can work with a number of plants.
- The second way is grow the plants in containers, inside during winter, shifted outdoors in warmer weather.
- Finally you can build or buy a greenhouse, certainly the best method of growing tropical plants in the UKs climate. However also the most expensive. As we develop new materials and technology, greenhouses are becoming cheaper, still, for many they are out of reach cost wise.
Growing Tropical Garden plants in the UK has become very popular in recent years. Plants with lush tropical foliage are available for sale and are particularly popular.
However it need to be remembered that plant collectors have been bringing tropical garden plants back to the UK from around the world for centuries, and yes many of these live in conservatories and would not survive in the home garden for even one season.
There are many plants for sale in the UK that will give that 'Tropical Garden' look to the English garden that can survive the cold climate given a little care.
Some plants to consider for a 'Tropical Look'
- Palms such as Brahea (Hesper Palms) can to well in cooler climates given a little protection, they will need good drainage especially during winter. Look for Brahea edulis (Guadalupe Palm) Brahea elegans (Franceschi Palm) and Brahea armata (Mexican Blue Palm)
- Ferns can give an exotic or 'tropical' look to any garden especially the 'tree ferns' such as Cyathea australis, Cyathea cooperi and the very fashionable Dicksonia antarctica.
- Gingers such as Hedychium aurantiacum, Hedychium coccinuem and Hedychium densifolium some with great flowers as well as lush foliage make great additions to a lush border planting.
- Cann as are another tropical looking garden plant that add great foliage color as well as colorful flowers. The dark foliage cannas now available look fantastic and the upright foliage is a great foil for the border.
List of Tropical Plants for the UK Garden
- Bananas. Great for a Tropical Garden look. Now you are probably not looking at the fruiting type, its the foliage type we are after. Musa basjoo is perhaps the one that will survive the best, cold hardy although it will die back in winter, and it 'may' even fruit in a warm position, it can reach 12ft in one year. Ensete glaucum with its large leaves will grow to 15ft and is stunning. Ensete ventricosum maurelli with its great red foliage will be a stunner, right up until the first frost, when it will meet its end unless its grown in a pot and can be moved to a conservatory.
- Bamboos have always had an exotic look and with so many species available, different coloured canes and different sizes it is fairly easy to find a bamboo that will suit any situation. Look for clumping varieties (not the running invasive types).
- Agaves and Yucca. Now some of these are tougher than others. Agave angustifolia for example is a lot tougher that Agave attenuatta. If left in the open over winter these will all suffer at least some leaf damage, and maybe more. However given protection thay can be a stunning addition to the garden.
- Alocasias. Fantastic foliage and well worth a try. Probably best in pots and overwintered indoors.
Others plants worth a try for that tropical garden look include :
- Phormiun (the New Zealand Flax)
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