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

Recent Posts

Thursday, March 19, 2020
What are the first steps to growing a healthy lawn?

Lawn care, a tricky gardening skill that seems to be an ongoing learning journey for many. There are...

Monday, March 9, 2020
Are Hellebores right for my garden?

Some gardeners consider Hellebores to be one of the most reliable perennials that you can plant in y...

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Scott’s Grub BGon

Does your lawn look like a war zone? Art’s Nursery has a natural answer to the European Chafer and J...

Sunday, February 16, 2020
Planting Perennial Bulbs and Bareroots for the summer!

Spring is on its way and this is a very exciting time, especially for gardeners who have been itchin...

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Valentine’s Day at Arts Nursery!

Valentine’s Day is such a wonderful time to show those you love a little extra love, whether it be a...

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Growing Your Own Microgreens

Microgreens, otherwise known as the babies of the plant world, make growing your own veggies easy fo...

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Hummingbirds in the Winter

Springtime is just around the corner, and for many of us, that means the return of flowers, animals,...

Monday, January 20, 2020
Plants for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and Arts Nursery is excited to bring in some cool plants and pieces in order to help you celebrate.


Tag Cloud

Lawn Lime Lawn care Lime your Lawn spring lawn care preparing your lawn for spring lawn care tipsHellebores growing hellebores unique blooms shade perennials winter blooms care for hellebores choosing hellebores reliable perennialsScott's Grub BGonb Japanese beetle European chafer grubsinsecticide broad spectrum grubPlanting Perennial bulbs Bareroots Lilies Crocosmia Peony Hosta spring bulbs garden bulbs what are bareroots buying plant bulbsValentines day cut flowers bouquets tulips orchids succulent planters flowers of love classic valentines day flowers roses valentines gifts pink roses yellow roses orange roses red rosesMicrogreens Growing Microgreens Microgreen nutrients Health and Microgreens Shelf life of Microgreens Soiless Microgreens baby veggiesHummingbirds hummingbirds in the winter hummingbird food hummingbird feeding hummingbird careChinese New Year Lunar New Year Plants Plants for Chinese New Year Lucky Bamboo Lucky Bamboo meaning Calamondin Orange Bamboo Plant ZZ Plant Fortune Plant citrus citrus plantswinter hardiness winter protection plant hardiness mulch crop cover protecting tender plants hardiness zonesforcing paper white bulbs indoor bulbs growing daffodils indoors paperwhite narcissus winter bulbs bulbs flower bulbs indoor flower bulbsIndoor plants house plants tropicals easy care low maintenance tollerant low light snake plant pothos philodendron cactus plantsferns tropical ferns tree ferns brazilian tree fern tasmanian tree fern blechnul golden zebra fern heart fern birds nest fern staghorn fern licorice fern fronds indoor ferns tender ferns rare ferns unusual fernspollinators gardening september fall equinox autumn bees butterflies hummingbird pacific northwest bc british columbia lower mainland surrey langley vancouver mountains fall bulbs planting shop local colchicum fox tail lily crocus waterlily crocusmagnolia grandiflora teddy bear magnolia flowers trees blooming summer albizia pink bloomsgarlic broth garlic broth recipes vegan vege vegetarian soup grow your own baking cooking potato brothtomatoes august garden potatoes dill dill stalks recipe borscht sour cream beets golden beetsMacrophylla hydrangeas shrubs deciduous new varieties shady spring flowering canada narcissus daffodils tulipa hyacinth muscari grape hyacinth iris foxtail lily camas lilyfruit fool blog fruit peaches nectarines stone fruit family whipped cream sugar local produce local

Blog Roll

Other interesting gardening blogs that we follow include:

Blog RSS Feed

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


Art's Nursery Ltd.

8940 192nd Street,
Surrey, BC, Canada,
V4N 3W8

Tel: (604) 882-1201
Fax: (604) 882-5969
Email: info@artsnursery.com
Hours:Hours of Operation
Map:Map & Directions
Contact:Contact Us

Art's Nursery is dog friendly

Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter

Copyright (c) 2020 Art's Nursery Ltd.  | 8940 192nd Street, Surrey, BC, Canada, V4N 3W8  | tel: 604.882.1201  | SiteMap  | Privacy Statement |