Start a new thread

1 to 12 of 12 replies


Would love to have a tropical garden like the one shown on episode 3 of G W.  Could anyone give advice plz if this would be possible in the north of scotland where temp. go down to -15  in winter. Thanks 


My parents live in Derbyshire, can get cold too. Cordylines do well in their garden. Bamboo isnt realy a tropical plant but creates a tropical look and can handle cold weather. Ferns another tropical looking plant that can handle colder weather & of course Hostas

Bananas Musa species Musa basjoo (Japanese banana) which is the hardiest and can withstand down to around -8°C 

Fatsia japonica (False Castor Oil Plant) Looks tropical but actually very hardy - -18°C 

Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan Palm or Chinese Windmill Palm) Very hardy - can even withstand down to around -15°C -

Chamerops humilis (Mediterranean Dwarf Fan Palm) Can withstand down to around -10°C (14°F).

Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax) Hardy down to around -5°C  

Gunnera manicata Very hardy - down to around -20°C (-10°F). Likes moist spots and needs a lot of space -  

Gunnera tinctoria which is hardy down to around -15°C (5°F) and a little smaller than the Gunner manicata  

Miscanthus grass 


You may need to have them sheltered & use some winter cover

Some people may dissagree but I think it depends on the temperatures in your area. 


The garden in the book is 3.5 miles as the crow flies from here - not a tropical spot by any means, but a sheltered sunny slope - it's amazing what can be done.



The garden in question has now changed owners, the blog for it is


You can have a tropical garden in the North of Scotland but will need to bring most things indoors/greenhouse over winter. Some gardeners got away with leaving plants out to overwinter but that was a few years ago and even in Cornwall gardenres have to bring troipcals in as it is too wet over winter and this spring has been cold.


Also look at


Blairs you are right about the wet. It does more damage than cold so I'd suggest getting the drainage right as well -raised beds etc. The phormiums will certainly appreciate it. Create a little micro climate by getting some shelter with other hardier specimens and evergreens or hedging if you have the room. Although I'm in the central belt I'm quite high. Last house was very exposed but with a bit of shelter it's possible to get the look. 


Thats right Fairygirl: shelter and drainage are key. I have a mixed evergreen hedge around my garden to folter the prevailing wind. The musa, ensete, canna and strelitizia do fine in summer but are all put in the garage overwinter. I tried to overwinter palms outside but even with 2 tons of grit it was still too wet and I live in a microclimate where it rarely gets below freezing. Phormiums, Yucca and other hardy exotics like Fatsia do well.

I like discodaves idea of giant grasses. Miscanthus do well in the UK - Miscathus gigantica, for example, can grow jungle like in 12 months.


Thank you all, I think I will be able to get the look I want with your suggestions.


I live in the SW of Wales so do not get the extreme cold of the northern areas.  I have grown a hedge of mixed Phormiums interspersed with Gold Crest conifers.  It really looks colourful all the year round and has withstood everything the seasons have thrown at it since planted 6 years ago.  It is also near a road with heavy traffic and not far from the sea so gets a battering from those as well.  I would advise caution with Yukka.  I have some in large pots and I have found the biggest problem is snow.  When snow gets down through the spiky leaves towards the main stem and then freezes this can cause the spiky leaves to rot and fall off.  I cover them with fleece mainly to keep ice and snow away from the main stem.  I will try and post some pictures later. Good luck Blujan, remember... nothing ventured nothing gained, so have a go. Its good fun.



 Hi, here are a few pics of my garden.

Here in Cornwall there are a few "tropical" gardens.
I live not far from Hardy Exotics, overlooking St Michaels Mount where tropical plants abound.
I like to see tropical gardens but I would not like to have one. Many tropical plants have huge leaves that get damaged by first cold winds and then just look tatty. A lot of tropical plants have dangerous spines, thorns and abrasive leaves that I simply do not want in my garden. Others just look "aggressive"
However, a micro climate needs to be created...shelter is necessary.
A greenhouse to protect plants over winter. Physical energy is required to move these hefty plants outside in late spring.
Many plants mentioned are not really tropical.
If you are after a tropical "look" I agree bamboos. (need to confine them) tall grasses, palms, Phormiums, can help achieve this.
I think it's better to grow things your environment, soil, geographical situation and skills support. It makes for easier gardening and happier plants

Sign up or log in to post a reply