If you are trying to create a unique garden or backyard atmosphere, you may be hoping to make it look exotic, or look a lot less like every other garden in the neighbourhood. Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes exotic, but no one can argue that a tropical looking garden in a non-tropical climate would certainly look exotic. The great thing about creating a tropical atmosphere no matter where you live is that because the things you purchase to plant will multiply, you will be able to expand your garden and make it look mush more lush without having to purchase additional plants.

Here is a look at some fabulously exotic plants and flowering plants that anyone can plant without breaking the budget.


Dahlias are a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico. A member of the Asteraceae family of dicotyledonous plants, its garden relatives thus include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and zinnia. There are 42 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown as garden plants.


Red canna lillies

Canna Lilies

Cannas vary greatly in size, the colour of the leaves, the colour of the flowers and the type and shape of the flowers. Cannas grow from rhizomes, and those rhizomes will multiply quickly, especially if you live in a place where you can leave the rhizomes in the ground. Eventually, as the plants start to expand, you will have such an abundance of cannas in that original area that you will need to thin them out.

To do that, you will want to use a sharp garden knife and cut into the rhizome, taking part of the root system with you. If you don’t get some of the roots, that’s okay. As long as you’ve got a well developed piece of the rhizome and can plant that immediately, it should bounce back rather quickly.


Hibiscuses are wonderful for adding an exotic touch to a garden. There are tropical varieties that are absolutely gorgeous and that can be grown in pots in places that aren’t hardy enough for them (which unfortunately, is the UK.) On the other hand, there are hardy varieties of hibiscus, including Rose of Sharon which is one of the easiest hibiscuses to grow. These will survive the winter without any problem, but will benefit from a heavy layer of mulch over the roots.

Hibiscuses are available in varying colours and flower sizes, and some varieties even produce double flowers. Another great thing about hibiscuses is that they produce seeds very easily. Unless you are very zealous about deadheading the spent flowers and doing so before the flower falls off and the seed pod starts to develop, they can produce seeds for every flower that dies. Although that can be rather nice, it does have it’s drawbacks because to get those seeds, you have to sacrifice further flower production.

Brugmansia and Datura

If you live in a warm climate, brugmansias or angel trumpets would make a beautiful addition to any exotic garden. If you live in a colder climate, they can be grown in pots so you can bring them indoors for the winter. Brugs (as they are commonly called), are easy to grow from seed. Once they are established and have bloomed, you can take cuttings from them. This is an easy way to increase your collection. Different varieties of brugs will grow to different heights, but many can grow into small sized trees. They need lots of sun, lots of water and fertiliser. They are not free of problems so they are not the ideal thing for a beginning gardener to grow.

Since Datura tends to be an annual in most places, (although it is easily capable of reseeding itself prolifically), it is another option for people who may not be able to grow Brugmansia and bring it in once the temperature drops too much for it to survive in a harsh winter climate. Datura flowers come in a huge range of colour and sizes, and they will open at night, giving a garden an exotic night time appearance and fragrance.

Pink elephant ear plant

Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears will turn any garden into a tropical paradise very quickly. If you go to your grocery store and see taro root in the produce section, you have seen elephant ear bulbs because Elephant Ears are a type of taro. The needs of Elephant Ears vary from variety to variety. Most varieties require full sun or at least some sun and a lot of water.

Elephant ears produce lots of “pups,” which are new plants that grow off of the main plant. These can be broken away or cut off of the mother plant and repotted or rooted in water. In fact, elephant ears can be grown in water in the house, so there is no need to worry that you won’t be able to revive the plants. The other alternative is to dig the bulbs up, clean them off and store them in a cool and dry place in the house.


Bromeliads are another good option because they will grow wonderfully well in pots. These are typically tropical plants that remain green for a long time, but eventually produce a flower, and when they do, they will also produce a pup, or a new plant that grows off of the mother plant. Once the flower has stopped blooming (and they can bloom for a long time), the mother plant may die, allowing the new pup to replace it as the mother plant. This cycle can repeat itself indefinitely.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy a bromeliad, simply grow one by saving the top of a pineapple you buy at the grocery store. Cut off any of the meat around the top core and allow the entire top, complete with the core, to dry out for several days. Then you can root it in water, refreshing the water on a regular basis and cutting off any of the core part that gets too soggy.

There is no end to the types of exotic plants that people can grow in their gardens. One way to keep the cost down is by growing the most tender exotic plants indoors during the winter months and then taking them outside during warm weather. You should be able to take cuttings from most of these exotic plants, and you should also be able to harvest seeds from many of them. Between the seeds that you harvest, which will enable you to grow many more plants (that won’t be identical to the plant from which they came), and the cuttings you take of existing plants, you will be able to create a very full tropical paradise for relatively little money.

Once you have got all the plants you would like, make sure you have a good quality garden chair to sit on and relax and take in the beauty you have created. Lions Home have a lovely collection of garden furniture, perfect whether you want a chair for yourself and would prefer a bigger set for entertaining guests in the garden.

Creating an exotic garden
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5 Comments on Creating an exotic garden

  1. I wish I was this creative when it comes to my garden. My Nan and Mum were dab hands when it came to this sort of thing, me, well I can just about mow the lawn lol

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