Pineapple lily Eucomis comosa tropical garden plant uk

7 easy tropical garden plants you can grow in the UK

June 12, 2019

We’ve rounded up the top seven tropical plants to grow easily in the UK so you can nail the summery tropical trend.

Everyone dreams of having their own private oasis in their back garden, filled with colourful and unique looking plants, that will transport them to a relaxing desert island and away from the stresses of everyday life. However, most people don’t realise these dreams are more realistic than they think.

To help you achieve the tropical look, and find some peace in your own home, we’ve summed up 7 easy tropical garden plants you can grow in the UK.

1. Pineapple lily, Eucomis comosa

Pineapple lily Eucomis comosa tropical garden plant uk

Image: Flickr

Native to South Africa, the Pineapple lily is a great tropical garden plant to kick-start your oasis. Afterall, what’s more tropical than pineapples?

Although the shape of the plant resembles the fruit, the flowers usually have a whitish to purple hue and a coconut-like scent. Also, having a tall, bold-coloured stalk means this plant will really stand out in your garden, even when the petals drop off in winter.

TOP GARDENING TIP: These plants are described as “surprisingly hardy” in the UK, but need to be placed in a sheltered area of the garden with full exposure to the sun to stop the flowers wilting.


2. Trachycarpus Fortunei

Trachycarpus Fortunei tropical garden plant uk

Image: Flickr

Another hardy tropical garden plant that can be grown in the UK is the Trachycarpus Fortunei. Its fan-shaped leaves can withstand harsh temperatures, while being reminiscent of the palm trees you would find on holiday. Who needs a villa in Spain?

These are great for breaking up all those other colourful plants so that your garden doesn’t look too overwhelming.

TOP GARDENING TIP: Trachycarpus Fortunei trees also grow well in pots, so you can bring the holiday vibes inside your home as well.


3. Bamboo

Bamboo tropical garden plant uk.jpg

Image: Pixabay

If you want to create a tropical garden, then the look would not be complete without Bamboo. Not only does it look the part, but bamboo requires little upkeep and is great for planting along garden boarders to add structure, block out surrounding noise and act as a windbreak.

There are hundreds of varieties of bamboo that are fit for the British climate, with some even originating in the mountainous regions of Asia, meaning they all have different sun and shade preferences. Therefore, it is important to research the different types and their needs before deciding which suits your garden best.

TOP GARDENING TIP: It is better to plant bamboo in spring as it can use its food reserves to grow fresh, strong canes over its first summer. This helps establish the plant for a long and healthy life in your garden.


4. Ginger lily, Hedychium

Ginger lily Hedychium tropical garden plant UK

Image: Pixabay

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Ginger lilies are another great plant for brightening up your garden. Its trumpet-shaped flowers come in shades of white, yellow and orange and can be successfully grown in most parts of the UK. This tropical garden plant is known for its sweet scent and for being one of the last plants to die down before Autumn arrives.

TOP GARDENING TIP: Ginger lilies don’t react well to frost. When growing them for the first time, give them a head start by planting them in pots indoors around mid-spring, or outside in the garden when the risk of frost has passed. Once outside, they like moist soil and a shady spot.


5. Hibiscus

Hibiscus tropical garden plant uk.jpg

Image: Pixabay

These large, showy flowers are frequently associated with tropical places like Hawaii but can easily be grown in any UK back garden. Hibiscus syriacus are well suited to our cool climate and can grow into marvellous bushes in a wide range of colours, including blue, white and dark pink.

TOP GARDENING TIP: This plant prefers a warm, sheltered, sunny spot in well-drained soil. Also, don’t be alarmed and take the plant for dead if you don’t see them open as soon as spring comes around. Hibiscus is known for being late coming into leaf, typically showing up around June.


6. Peruvian lily, Alstroemeria

Peruvian lily Alstroemeria tropical garden plant uk

Image: Pixabay

While coming in a variety of colours, including red and mauve, it is the Alstroemeria Aurea genus with orange-yellow flowers and brown flecks that thrives most in UK conditions. Typically found in South America, these unique flowers are sure to impress at your summer garden parties.

Another benefit of these truly tropical garden plants is that they have few disease or pest problems, so you don’t have to threat. However, even if they did shrivel up, Peruvian lilies are widely available online and in garden centres so you can always pick up more.

TOP GARDENING TIP: Peruvian lilies require full sunlight exposure, so place them somewhere they will catch plenty of rays!


 7. Californian lilac, Cenothus

Californian lilac Cenothus tropical garden plant UK.jpg

Image: Pixabay

Another tropical garden plant that needs a lot of sun is this Californian lilac. This purple plant is a low-maintenance evergreen tropical garden plant that can grow up to 6 metres in height. They look great along fences and walls, which also help to protect and stabilise them.

One good thing about the Californian lilac is its long lifespan, which can stretch up to 15 years, meaning you can enjoy these for many springs to come.

TOP GARDENING TIP: During the first year of its life make sure to give it plenty of water. Once it is established, it will only need water in exceptionally dry conditions, but most areas of the UK receive enough rainfall to keep these plants going.


Which of these tropical garden plants are you going to give a go? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.



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A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes