Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Posted By: in Tropicals

Windmill Palm - Trachycarpus fortunei

It is possible to enjoy the look of the tropics in your own garden by selecting the right plants and plant combinations.  We live in a temperate climate of Zone 7-8 so some species are hardy here, while others just look tropical, even though they aren’t.  Some are borderline hardy, which means they might die back in severe winters, but regrow from the roots come spring.

To get the look and feel of the tropics, don’t be shy about the plants you choose.  Big, green, bold foliage and hot coloured flowers in reds, yellows and oranges should fill the garden and spill over in lush repose.  Nothing is tight and controlled or neatly shaped.  Plants collide and intermingle, which adds to its sultry appeal.

Every tropical themed garden needs a palm tree and Trachycarpus fortunei, the Windmill Palm and the Washingtonia robusta, the Mexican Fan Palm fit the bill. They do well here when planted in a protected spot with winter protection. 

Another tropical tree is the Paulownia tomentosa, the Empress Tree. Similar to a jacaranda, this fast growing tree boasts purple foxglove like flowers that are borne in profusion.  Catalpas are another bold tropical type tree with huge heart shaped leaves followed by clusters of showy white bell flowers.

Tropical Plant Collage 1

Substitute the popular tropical hibiscus with its smaller flowered hardy relative, the Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus syn.  Althaea syriacus.  Add a banana tree with the hardy Red Leaved Banana, Ensete maurelii. It doesn’t bear fruit here, but it certainly adds a tropical dash.  

Combine it with the Yucca’s upright spiky foliage and its tall white flower spike for contrast.  

Cannas are known for their bold attractive leaves. Now they come in many colours and colour combinations including green with yellow stripes and deep maroon. Their large lily-type flowers are no shrinking violets either, showing off in hot vivid reds, oranges and yellows.  Some grow to a whopping 8 feet while newer hybrids only grow to 2 feet.

Tropical Collage 2

The New Zealand Flax, Phormiums sp, does best with some winter protection, but is stunning with their upright lance-shaped leaves.  They are great companions to the hardy Frost Proof Gardenia, which bears the same pure white and beautifully scented flowers of its non hardy relative.  

For more sweet scents, select the hardy jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Madison’.  Its fragrant white star shaped flowers cover this evergreen vine in spring.

Elephant Ears, Colocasia sp., also are grown solely for their huge arrow shaped leaves. Colocasia antiquorum 'Illustris’ has green veins contrasting on deep purple, while the Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' bears dramatic deep purple foliage. They all love moist soil so are suitable for bog gardens and ponds.

The arching flowers stems of Montbretias, Crocosmia spp., bear yellow, red or orange flowers lined up neatly in a row. Its curved strappy leaves look great next to the erect form of the cannas. Combine either with the outrageous boldness of Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus mollis. It’s huge deeply cut ornate leaves set the stage for the spikes of light mauve pinky hooded blossoms.

Red Hot Poker, Kniphofia sp., is an herbaceous perennial with stiff upright spiky leaves with colourful tubular flowers in orange, red and yellow clustered on top of a leafless stem. Pare it with round form of the dinner plate dahlias with flowers over 10 inches wide and plants over 5 feet tall. They come in many colour combinations.

Foxtail Lily, Eremurus elwesii, is another dramatic herbaceous perennial that pierces the landscape with over 3 foot flower spires of yellow, orange or white.

Tropical Collage 3

Just one or two plants is all you need to bring the essence of the tropics to your garden. Don’t be shy; be bold and get tropical.

These and many other plants with a tropical appearance can be found at Art's Nursery. As always please call ahead to confirm availability of specific varieties as our selection is always changing.


Sponsored Advertisement

Blog Profile

arts nursery logo
Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

Blog Search

Recent Posts

Monday, September 10, 2018
From Garden to Table

On August 29th, I was lucky enough to attend the Coquitlam Farmer’s Market Long Table Dinner, to whi...

Sunday, September 9, 2018
Cool and Crisp Fall Container Recipe

In this design we're featuring a cool and crisp container planting for early Fall. It includes 10 pl...

Sunday, September 9, 2018
12 Fantastic Ferns

Ancient history has a common thread, it is the fern. These plants have fossil records that date back...

Friday, September 7, 2018
20 New Bulbs for 2018

September is the month where all the new bulbs for Fall arrive and are put out on display. This year...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Unusual Plants for May 2018

Check out this collection of rare and unusual plants available at Arts Nursery in May 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018
Dormant Oil Spray

Spring is on its way, and now is the last chance to protect your trees by applying dormant oil spray...

Thursday, November 9, 2017
Top 6 Colourful Winter Plants

Winter is here and so are some spectacular colorful plants! Although it can be harder to find things...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Amazing Amaryllis

What do Poinsettias, Prepared Hyacinths, Paperwhite Daffodils and Amaryllis have in common? They are...


Tag Cloud

garden. edibles fall veggies farmers markets long table dinner kale fall and winter gardensfall container recipe container plantings container design cool and crispferns woodland plants tree ferns polystichum adiantum dryopteris plants for shadebulbs new bulbs spring bulbs flower bulbs new bulbs for 2018 tulips iris anemone hyacinth eremurusrare plants unusual plants collectors plants senecio angel wings eucalyptus russelia abutilon echium dendroserisdormant oil dormant oil spray dormant oil kit insect damage deciduous trees fruit trees protect from insects protect from fungusTop 6 Colourful Winter Plants Winter Interest Plant for Winter Colour Cold Hardy Plants Top 6 Plants Top 6 Winter Plants for Winter Interest Winter Plants Viburnum Davidii Leucothoe Rainbow Crabapple Red Sentinel Crabapple Tree Evergreen Shrub Skimmia Female Cedar Sienna Sunset Globe Cedar Skimmia Cedar for Winter Colorful Crabapple Fruit Tree Winteramaryllis hippeastrum buy amaryllis amaryllis bulbs indoor bulbs amaryllis care waxed amaryllisgrasses ornamental grasses gardening cool season grass warm season grass miscanthus pennisetum fall bulbs daffodils colourful companions new flower bulbsfall fall planters fall plantsplantsomethingbc contest bcplantstropical tropical plants outdoor tropical palm trees palms banana plants jasmine monkey puzzle tree phormium new Zealand flax agapanthusstrawberries strawberry strawberry care strawberry varieties day neutral strawberries june bearing strawberries alpine strawberries everbearing strawberries growing strawberries types of strawberries dahlias lilies canna calla florissahellebore helleborus spring series hellebore Lenten rose Christmas rose perennial shade perennials annas red pennys pink winter jewels series gold collection hellebores winter dreams helleboreswinter gardens november november garden calendar winter garden tasks plants winter plants garden gardenings november gardens winter interest plants plants with winter interest unique bulbs rare bulbs unique flower bulbs allium narcissi corydalis snow crocus hyacinths bulb planting September fall gardening September gardening tulipa Canadian celebration tulips tulip Canadian celebration Canadian bulbs red and white bulbs white tulips red tulips patriotic tulips

Blog Roll

Other interesting gardening blogs that we follow include:

Blog RSS Feed

Keep in touch by subscribing to our RSS/Atom News Feeds


Subscribe Via FeedBurner

 Subscribe in a reader

Copyright (c) 2018 Art's Nursery Ltd.  | 8940 192nd Street, Surrey, BC, Canada, V4N 3W8  | tel: 604.882.1201  | SiteMap  | Privacy Statement |