If your dream is to create a lush, jungle-like garden filled with exotic, shade-loving tropical plants, don’t give up on the idea. Even if your shady garden is many miles away from the tropics, you can still create the feeling of a tropical garden. Want to learn about creating a tropical shade garden? Read on.
How to Create a Tropical Shade Garden
When looking for tropical shade garden ideas, first consider your climate and growing zone. For example, if you live in an Arizona desert, you can still create the feeling of a tropical shade garden. However, you’ll need to do it without a lot of plants having high water demands. Or, if you live in a northern climate, a tropical shade garden should consist of cold-tolerant plants with a tropical appearance.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with color, as tropical jungles aren’t exactly sedate. Although you can plant blooming annuals and perennials, the best tropical shade garden plants tend to have big, bold, brightly colored or variegated leaves that will stand out in a shady garden.
Jungles are dense, so plan accordingly. While some plants may be prone to disease without air circulation, creating a tropical shade garden means planting like a jungle – a lot of plants in a small space.
Garden accents, including planting containers, are easy ways to create accents of bright color. Other tropical shade garden ideas that create an essence of the tropics include rattan furniture, woven mats, stone carvings or tiki torches.
Shade-Loving Tropical Plants
Here are some popular tropical shade garden plants to choose from:
- Elephant ears (Colocasia)
- Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus)
- Golden shrimp plant (Pachystachys lutea)
- Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)
- Kaffir lily (Clivia)
- Red aglaonema (Aglaonema spp.)
- Giant bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai)
- Violets (Viola)
- Hardy fiber banana (Musa basjoo)
- Hosta (Hosta spp.)
- Calathea (Calathea spp.)
- Liriope (Liriope spp.)
- Asiatic star jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum)
- Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)
- Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis)
- Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
- Gardenia (Gardenia spp.)
- Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
- Fatsia (Fatsia japonica)