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07/03/2014 at 16:31

hi wondered what are the best plants to introduce to our garden that have that tropical exotic feel , that are to survive in our climate with out to much fuss. we already have a few palms , ferns but a splash of colour would be nice. its a new bit of the garden that i'm trying to create .

07/03/2014 at 16:53
07/03/2014 at 22:28

Crocosmia Lucifer is bright red and hardy. Red Hot pokers, Kniphofia, have a sort of hot look. Cannas look bright and have a very tropical look, but you have to store them over winter, rather like dahlias.

07/03/2014 at 23:34

Cannas, hedychiums and Phormiums .....beautiful colours with exotic looking flowers......and agapanthus.  Other crocosmias too....some new hybrids around now....and some of the agastaches like black Adder with blue black flowers on tall erect stems look exotic all summer.  

08/03/2014 at 06:21

Julia, have a look here 

Will Giles has created an amazing exotic garden here in Norfolk 

08/03/2014 at 19:56

thanks dovefromabove what fantastic garden

08/03/2014 at 19:58

and thanks blairs verdun and busy-lizzie sorry

08/03/2014 at 20:04

agree with Jools. What a stunning garden. Thanks Dove. I'd love to create something similar , but we have so much wind ,it's beyond contemplation unfortunately.


08/03/2014 at 20:06

The large leafed hostas look tropical , but are as tough as old boots. Ricinus ( castor oil plant) come easily from seed and I've overwintered some in the garage this winter. Many of the larger dahlias have a tropical feel too. I grow Dahlia Imperialis, which hasn't flowered with me , but gets over 2m high every year and has bamboo like foliage.

08/03/2014 at 20:15


didn't know you could grow castor oil plant easily from seed can you get them from regular garden centre or a sepcialist.

08/03/2014 at 20:16

Fatsias look great in that sort of situation as they have tropical looking foliage but are pretty tough and easy to grow, and give a good backdrop to other colours. If your soil's suitable, rhododendrons have good sized flowers and the bright red or pink ones could work well.

08/03/2014 at 20:19

Fatsias  never heard of them will have a look for them could you describe them please.

08/03/2014 at 20:20

Jools, I brought some back from a holiday in Kefalonia a few years back and sow some every year. This is the first time I've kept them overwinter. T&M sell seeds, but I think they work out at about 60p  per seed. I've a friend in Crete who sent me a load last year to keep me going. They germinate very easily on the window sill and get to about 1m tall in the first year.

08/03/2014 at 20:22

just checked T&M's website : 6 seeds £3.99.

08/03/2014 at 20:23

hostafan.......... thanks for that. will have a look for those.

08/03/2014 at 20:26

hostafan.........thanks again........

08/03/2014 at 20:37
Fatsia is castor oil plant. Got mine at GC, its come through winter fine. Others in neighbours gardens have been going for years but can suffer in winter so be careful. Lovely and tropical. Want a gunnera too but need to know more about their requirements.
08/03/2014 at 20:49

Mrs Garden.....we have a gunnera  had it for 10 years its by our pond all we did was dig an area out by the pond and put some pond liner in then filled with compost and soil to make a bog like garden and planted the gunnera there along with other plants that like moist conditions the leave have grown to 3ft wide and the cones in the middle have grow up to 2ft high each autumn we have cut it right back to the ground have not had to protect it and each year it comes back if the summer is humid it can grow bigger.

10/03/2014 at 00:09
Thanks jools, (sorry only just seen this) I dont have a pond but do you think it would work if I adapted your idea using a pond liner to make a bog area?
10/03/2014 at 06:27

Another waste of time on here after dog disconnected lead to laptop and message lost. So frustrating. so here we go again!

Fatsia and ricinus very similar. Large, lobed, hand-shaped leaves. Fatsia very hardy and also good houseplant as suffers most conditions ifkept on dry side.Large, glossy bright green leaves, as if overdone with the leafshine. Ricinus grows shockingly fast from seed, but needs to be brought inside for winter or started again from seed in spring. Very similar leaves to Fatsia, but a bronze purple colour. Grows so fast, probably cheapest to sow yearly, especially if you can collect own seed. Although seems expensive for seed, results are nothing short of spectacular. Only reason not a 'kids' seed, is probably because the seed is very poisonous. However, with older kids, get them to sow into 4" pots. Germnatation within a couple of days, large plants within 2 months, by June 5' or more in good soil.

 Have you tried 'houseplants'? many are tropical, and all appreciate a spell outside in warm weather.Accustom to sun gradually in 'hardening off', as they can scorch as people sunburn. They will green up quickly and grow fast. Almost any can go out. I have used spider plant offsets as bedding. They do look 'tropical', or 'exotic' and are very quick and easy to propagate. All ficus, including weeping fig, rubber plant and fiddle leaf fig will love you if you chuck 'em out for a few months. Umbrella plant, aspidistra (especially variegated), ferns, palms, Chinese evergreen, Cheeseplant, you name it, will appreciete an outdoor spell and good feeding, and will reward you by needing o be re-potted! Many will also flower, eiher outside, or when you bring them back in, depending on type, season and care. They will need more water and feed, and possibly pruning when out, but will reward you tenfold. You will realise that they 'survive' indoors, but 'thrive' out. All of mine go out every summer.All of our housplants began life outdoors, and are usually tropical in nature. Just make sure the shade-lovers like most ferns get that, and the sun-lovers get some. Natural rain watering cleans off any household dust so they can breathe again, and pure uv light, instead of filtered through windows and blinds gives them a boost, as it does us. If anyone ever doubts the effect of Real sunlight on people (most gardeners don't!) and that SAD exists, just try chucking all of your houseplants outside for a couple of months, and see the effect, even without extra feeding. It may teach you a little more about all of your plants, and what can grow in your garden, if only for a short time. My houseplants go out from May to September with the cymbidium orchids. The houseplants get hardened off first, (the orchids don't much!) Sun lovers have to get used to sun,so only get morning sun at first and all have to adjust to night temps that may be quite low, and fluctuate. My house is never heated above 18C anyway, and drops to at least 12C at night in Winter. So colder temps aren't a prob,as they go out late, but sun is. plants need to become accustomed to sun in much the same way as gh raised plants need to get used to less heat, going out earlier. If you are comfortable outside in light clothes at night, so will your indoor plants be comfortable.They live in the same conditions as you do, and are used to them. But most sensible people need sunscreen for at least a few days in summer until they become accustomed. Either move into sun for just an hour or so at a time, place where sun will come and go naturally, or shade with fleece, green mesh or sim in hottest psrt of day.

Most people never think of this, but you can bring your comfortable 'inside' outside with you, and all acclimatise together, and by bbq time, your plants should be as happy as you are outside, read

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