Types of Tropical Plants

The exotic flowers and lush foliage of these beautiful plants can add drama to your garden in the growing season.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of Sam Henderson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Sam Henderson

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Sunvillea

Photo By: Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Photo By: Image courtesy of Suntory Collection

Lobster Claw

Lobster claw (Heliconia rostratais) fast-growing, herbaceous perennial with stalks reaching 7 feet tall. Scarlet and yellow bracts emerge on second-year stalks. Plant in bright shade with moist, well-drained soil.

Red Ginger

This clump-forming ginger produces fragrant blooms that attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Give this plant light shade.

Flowering Banana

Flowering banana (Musa ornata) is a small ornamental banana whose main attraction is its inflorescence (flower clusters), generally pink but varying from white to purple. The flowering lasts all season, and the plant produces small edible fruit filled with seeds.

Canna 'Durban'

Canna 'Durban' is a colorful plant that grows 4 to 7 feet tall. The new foliage emerges with dark red stripes highlighted with pink, bronze and pale yellow striping that ages to a bronze green with yellow stripes with orange red flowers.

Angel's Trumpet

The huge trumpet-shaped flowers and large leaves of angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) make a dramatic statement in any garden. A tropical plant that can grow up to 10 feet in one summer, this plant is great either for containers or the mixed border. White-, pink-, yellow-, peach- and purple-flowering varieties are available. Give this plant moist, rich, well-drained soil in full sun to part or light shade. During the growing season feed every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer. Hardy to USDA Zone 7. In frost-free areas of the country — and in its native South America — angel's trumpet is a woody evergreen shrub.

Bougainvillea

A vigorous tropical vine that adds vivid color to the garden. Paperlike bracts in red, orange, yellow, pink, purple or white envelope tiny white flowers. Provide well-drained soil and at least 6 hours of full sun. Thorny plant: wear heavy gloves to prune. Avoid overfertilizing; apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer in spring, midsummer and early fall. Bloom is best when the soil is slightly dry; water only to avoid wilting.

Anthurium

The heart-shaped "flower" is a waxy leaf that comes in white, pink, purple, orange, red and even bi-colored; tiny true flowers form in the "tail." Avoid direct sunlight and plant in a highly organic soil with good drainage.

Mandevilla

This popular twining vine is laden with blooms from late spring to frost. Varieties include pink, yellow, white and dark red. Plant in full sun in well-draining soil. Deciduous or evergreen, depending on species.