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Tropical Flower Gardens

Updated on May 18, 2016
Tropical flower garden
Tropical flower garden

So we'll look at some suggestions as to how you can raise tropical plants successfully, so you too can enjoy a beautiful tropical flower garden plus we'll make a couple of plant and flower suggestions that you might like to try growing yourself.

First: Most tropical flowers and plants can't survive in gardening zones lower than 8. There are some which will survive in garden zone 7 with special care, and there are others which can't tolerate any zones other than 9 and higher. If you live in a lower garden zone though, you can usually still enjoy tropical flowers and plants, but you must keep them in containers so they can be brought indoors during the coldest parts of the years.

If you live in zone 7 or above though, you can sometimes keep tropical flowers and plants alive outside just by making sure to give them a thick layer of mulch in the fall, before cold weather gets too severe.

Some tropical plants get quite large though, so if you decide to start a tropical flower garden, plant them into containers. You may want to make sure you choose a large enough container so the plant will have a home for at least a few years. If your container is very large, try putting wheels or casters on it so it'll be easier to move around as needed.

The other problem you may run into with tropical flower gardens is humidity. Some tropical plants require high humidity levels to thrive well, while others do much better in a dry, hot heat. Still other plants will expect it to be dry for weeks, and then have a lot of rain and humidity for days or weeks in a row too.


Bougainvillea for instance, does best when it's left in dry, hot conditions for two to three weeks or more. In fact, it blooms profusely during this dry spell. Then it expects to have a lot of water for at least a day or more. It does quite nicely in containers if you leave it un-watered for one to two weeks, then drenches it completely for a day or two, then let it dry again.

Desert Sand-verbena (Abronia Villosa)
Desert Sand-verbena (Abronia Villosa) | Source

Other tropical plants do just fine with dry and hot conditions though. The sand verbena is an excellent example of this, as is the desert mallow and even the sun coleus plants. So if you choose tropical flowers for your garden that you aren't quite familiar with, it may take a bit of trial and error to figure out just which conditions they do the best in.

If you've never planted a tropical flower garden before, you may not be too sure about what types of plants to put into your garden. If there are plants you've seen on TV or while on vacation of course, those may come to mind, but other than that you may be at something of a loss. And that's where this article comes in. There are literally hundreds of different types of plants you can put into a tropical flower garden, so here we'll suggest several for you to try your hand at growing.

Keep in mind though, if you don't live in a tropical area you may have to order these plants online, or ask at your local nursery to see if they can find a source for you to buy them from.


Vinca - These are not technically considered tropical plants, but they're a wonderful annual flower to use in a tropical flower garden because they give you instant color from the moment you plant them. They can often be bought as small starter plants, and they grow about ten to twelve inches high. They bloom profusely for months on end, and they tolerate even the worst heat, drought conditions, and poor soil too. They have very smooth glossy green leaves too, and the flower buds form small rosettes as they're opening.

Purple Sand Verbena
Purple Sand Verbena | Source

Purple Sand Verbena - These are also excellent plants for using in very hot, dry areas of your yard and garden. These flowers grow naturally as wildflowers in various parts of the Southwestern United States, but they'll also grow in sandy soil areas such as Florida. These come in a variety of colors too, and though they are considered to be annuals or short lived perennials, they drop seeds well so they'll sprout up again each year. Purple sand verbena also has light green, hairy leaves and stems which add interesting texture to a tropical flower garden.

Red Head Sun Coleus
Red Head Sun Coleus | Source

Sun Coleus - This is a wonderful plant for adding unusual color and texture to your garden. It tolerates heat and sun, but it can grow in partial sun too. This plant is grown more for its unusual color and texture than its flowers, and it makes a stunning perennial display in almost any type of garden you put it in.

Moses in the Cradle
Moses in the Cradle | Source

Moses-in-the-cradle - This plant is known by a few different names, but Moses-in-the-cradle seems to be the most common. This is another tropical plant which loves heat and sun, but will also grow in partial sun too. This plant does wonderfully in sandy soil, particularly when it's in a humid area. The plant has tiny little flowers which aren't overly noticeable, so it tends to be grown for the striking color of its foliage instead. This plant is invasive in certain areas of the country though: Florida is one of those places. It spreads out quickly and aggressively as a ground cover, and can become problematic when not kept contained.

Orange Kalanchoe
Orange Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe - This is a succulent plant which tolerates heat and sun very nicely. What are unusual about this are the glossy deep green leaves the plant has, and the vibrant flower colors it produces too. This plant will do well in partially sunny areas too, and the variety which has fuzzy leaves instead of smooth ones can tolerate even more hot and arid areas such as those found in Phoenix Arizona.


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