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Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

There are many tropical plants to create an exotic garden . But the list of those that resist cold enough to be grown outdoors all year round (or almost) is more limited. Here are the main ones.

rustic palm trees

Several palms are perfectly resistant to cold in all regions, without special protection. This is particularly the case of the hemp palm ( Trachycarpus fortunei ), which grows quickly and is covered with beautiful green fan-shaped palms at the top of a long fibrous stipe.

Height: 12 m
Hardy down to -18°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Japanese banana, Musa basjoo

With its huge, flexible, light green leaves , the Musa basjoo banana tree gives a jungle feeling to the garden. The trunk of this large shrub thickens over the years, as it also becomes more and more resistant to cold .

However, its leaves and stem must be protected each winter under a cover of straw and bubble wrap.

Height: 3 m
Hardy down to -15°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Abutilon pictum, the Chinese lantern

Native to the humid tropical regions of South America, Abutilon pictum is a chilly shrub, but rustic enough to live outdoors in areas where it rarely freezes.

From June until frost, it is covered with hanging orange flowers, like many bells. They look like Chinese lanterns, hence the name given to it.

Height: 2 to 3 m
Hardy down to -2°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

The Trumpet of Jericho, Brugmansia and Datura

Native to South America, these two neighboring plants impress with their rapid growth and the size (20 to 30 cm) of their single or double trumpet-shaped flowers.

There are brugmansias with yellow, orange, pink or even white flowers, often very fragrant. But beware ! All parts of this plant are highly poisonous! A plant to be grown in a pot in rich soil in cold regions or in the ground in milder regions where frosts are short-lived.

Height: 3 m
Hardy down to -5°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Balbis nightshade, with edible fruits!

Originally from Brazil, this Solanum sisymbrifolium belongs to the eggplant, tomato and potato family (Solanaceae).

Its thorny branches are covered in summer with beautiful blue to mauve flowers with a heart of yellow stamens. They then give small round tomatoes with the taste of Litchi.

Height: 1 m
Hardy down to -1°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Cestrum aurantiacum

Originally from South America, this slightly hardy exotic plant also belongs to the nightshade family. It forms a small shrub with evergreen foliage and is covered in late winter and spring with yellow or orange trumpet flowers gathered in clusters. This beautiful plant needs rich soil and a very sheltered exposure to the winds. Be careful, it is toxic!

Height: 1.5 m to 2 m
Rustic up to temperatures ranging from -3 to -5 ° C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Cassia, Senna corymbosa

Also native to tropical America, this exotic shrub is covered in yellow flowers from the end of July until September. It appreciates very regular watering all summer to flower well.

Height: up to 2 m
Hardy down to -5°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Tibouchine, the spider flower

Originally from Brazil, this exotic shrub seduces with its square light brown stems, its beautiful striped soft green leaves and its delicate purple flowers which bloom towards the end of summer. The tibouchine resists the cold better if the soil is well drained but must still be protected in winter under several layers of winter veil.

Height: 1.5 m to 2 m
Rustic -2°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Streptosolen jamesonii

Not very hardy, this other exotic shrub of the nightshade family is covered with shiny, evergreen, dark green leaves with well-marked veins. Its trumpet-shaped flowers are yellow at first, before turning orange to red at the end of the petals. Grow it in a large pot or dig it up in late summer to bring it into a conservatory for the winter.

Height: 1.5 m to 2 m
Rustic -2°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Callistemon, the bottle brush

Native to Australia, this superb shrub is covered in late spring with bright red flowers in the shape of a swab, hence its nickname of bottle-washing plant . Planted outside, in drained soil, it withstands temporary frosts without protection. In colder climates, surround it with several layers of winter veil.

Height: 3 m
Rustic -5°C

The lantana tree, very colorful flowers

Planted in rich, well-drained soil, this exotic shrub can grow into a small tree in just a few years. But it is fragile and not very rustic. This is why it is better to grow Lantana camara in a large pot so that it can be overwintered in an unheated veranda (8 to 10°C).

Height: 2 to 3 m
Hardy 5°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

Euryops, a bushy daisy

Native to Africa, this small shrub forms an evergreen bush and is covered in many yellow, daisy-like flowers from spring to fall, earning it its nickname of savannah daisy. Its hardiness is best in well-drained soil.

Height: 1 m
Hardy: -5°C

Which Hardy Exotic Plants for a Tropical Garden?

How to protect exotic plants from the cold?

To succeed in growing tropical plants outdoors, you must above all take care of the protection against the cold in winter. For it :

  • You can surround the most hardy plants with straw, winter veil, bubble wrap, etc. tied with cords.
  • You can also make a removable shelter: a small roof is often enough to prevent the frost from burning the leaves.
  • You can also dig up the most fragile plants each year to store them all winter in a cold veranda which then becomes a tropical garden.
  • You can finally grow the less hardy ones in pots, to bring in for the winter.

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