Sometimes we need an escape — a break from work, a break from chores, and a place to simply relax and breathe. For many of us, our yards are an escape, and what better place to escape to than the tropics! Designing a tropical landscape with dramatic shapes and interesting textures, can brighten a dull space, turn boring into bold, and elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary. Let’s take a look at some tropical garden bed ideas and the best plants to add to your at-home retreat!
How to Design a Tropical Garden
In any landscape, contrast is key. Tropical plants vary in size, color, and texture. Be sure to add in a mix of plants—balance finely textured ones with ones that are bigger and bolder—to keep the eye interested. For example, foliage plants, which bring together a tropical landscape, might include lacy ferns as well as large-leafed plants for a lush look full of beautiful, balanced sizes and textures.
In tropical garden beds especially, opting for a layered look with plants grouped together, or perhaps even overlapping, creates a more natural-looking landscape. With this said, be sure to include negative space to create the stage for our plants, which are the focal points. Sand, stone, or mulch all create negative space—the spots between plants—in your garden.
Tropical Garden Plants
Whether planted in garden beds or containers, these plants will add unexpected beauty to your yard!
- Agapanthus, also known as African Lily, has long evergreen leaves and blue, purple, or white trumpet-shaped flowers. Plant in groups for a striking look.
- Alocasia rightfully earns the common name ‘Elephant Ear,’ with its giant leaves — depending on the variety, the leaves can be from one to five feet wide! This plant adds instant tropical appeal.
- Alstroemeria gets better with age, just like the rest of us. They grow from tuberous roots that spread out, which means the plant size increases each year. Commonly known as Peruvian Lily, these flowers come in a variety of colors, often with streaks or freckles, and are a staple in any bouquet.
- Athyrium pulls together tropical garden beds with its feathery fronds that create a backdrop for nearby plants. Known as Japanese Painted Fern or Lady Fern, this plant is excellent in combination with other plants and also grows well in shady spots.
- Begonias are great for filling whatever landscape needs you have. If you need more foliage, there’s a begonia for that. If you need beautiful, colorful flowers, there’s a begonia for that, too!
- Cannas add magnificent height to your garden, so they look great in the center of pots or behind shorter plants in garden beds. The flowers come in many vibrant colors, plus the plant has wide, glossy, and sometimes striped leaves.
- Hibiscus plants are a favorite among pollinator visitors, plus they are a go-to tropical addition to any yard. Though individual flowers last only a day, one plant can produce an average of 250 flowers each season!
- Zantedeschia, or Calla Lily, has waxy trumpet-shaped flowers that are available in a range of colors and are often used in bouquets. You can grow them in flower borders with other bulbs and perennials, or you can plant them near water or even in a pot submerged in shallow water.
Though you may associate tropical flora with catching a flight to your favorite vacation spot, it’s possible to recreate that look in your own backyard! We carry all the plants listed above, but supplies are limited, so head to our website to get one step closer to creating your personal paradise!