Does your dream garden look like an exotic piece of paradise with lush tropical vegetation? In most parts of France, it is possible to create a garden or a corner of the garden planted with palm trees, bamboo, banana trees, and flowers out of the ordinary, as sumptuous as exploding. It will be easier if you have a Mediterranean or oceanic climate. But nothing gets lost in an environment with harsher winters.
Here’s how to create a tropical garden by following some simple and effective rules for choosing and planting exotic plants.
1. Prepare a fertile, well-drained soil for your tropical garden
You probably imagine your tropical garden as a small corner of a green and colorful jungle, which requires above all a productive and well-drained soil, necessary especially for the essential palms that you will plant there.
Important: in general, well-drained soil gives plants planted at the edge of their hardiness zone a better chance of surviving a harsh winter.
Before planting, do not hesitate to work the soil, enrich it with compost or manure and lighten it with peat.
2. Plant the structure of your tropical garden
The structure of your tropical garden consists of tall trees and tall plants: palm trees, bamboo, and banana trees in the head, or even tree fern.
Even north of the Loire, plant palm trees, choosing them resistant to cold.
The “Porc-Epic” Palm ( Rhapidophyllum hystrix ) is only one meter tall but withstands temperatures of -20 ° C.
The Trachycarpus fortunei (10 m high and more) resistant to -15 or -18°C.
The chamaerops (3 m high) hardy to – 12°C.
Bamboo resistant to cold are legion:
- The Phyllostachys are hardy down to – 20 ° C in general. The Phyllostachys bissetii up of 6 to 8 meters, also resistant to temperatures of – 25 ° C.
- The Fargesia bamboos (non-spreading) they too are hardy down to – 20 ° C for most. The Fargesia murielae “weeping bamboo” supports – 29 ° C, the Fargesia dracocephala supports – 30 ° C, etc.
- The banana Japan ( Musa basjoo), small banana rapid growth and bright green leaves support – 15 ° C, provided you plant them in the sun, sheltered position and to be protected in winter.
- The banana of the Himalayas ( Musa sikkimensis), with dark green leaves, reddish on the reverse, and also has the same hardiness.
If your weather permits, plant without hesitation a tree fern ( Dicksonia antartica), with the exotic look of the most beautiful effect. In our latitudes, it can reach a height of 5 to 6 m. With protection, it can withstand temperatures of -10°C; without protection, it is hardy until – 6°C.
- Lagerstroemia ( lilac from India ), hardy until -10 ° C, has its place in a colorful tropical garden, mainly the red Lagerstroemia indica, with scarlet bloom.
- The Erythrina crest-of-rooster ( Erythrina crista-galli ) is a tree covered in scarlet was unusual flower clusters. It tolerates a cold of -10 to -15 ° C if you mulch the strain correctly.
Advice: in the Mediterranean or oceanic climate, a more excellent choice of exotic plants will be available to you. In general, if you plant plants a bit limited regarding their rusticity, protect them in winter with a thick mulch at the foot and on their trunk, or even by a wintering veil.
3. Bet on the Giant-leaved Perennials
Your tropical garden must be unusual and grandiose. For that, take a chance on the perennials with large leaves; even if their origin is not tropical, they give your garden a jungle look of hot countries. Plant in particular:
- The gunnery of Brazil ( Gunnera manicata), giant by its size (2 m), with spectacular leaves, incredibly broad.
- The big butterbur ( Petasites hybridus, P. officinalis), whose leaves reach 0.70 until 1 m in diameter.
- The Rodgersia podophylla with palmate leaves 50 cm in diameter.
- The host “Sum And Substance ” with beautiful yellow green leaves, 40 to 50 cm wingspan, perfect ground cover.
4. Plant flowering shrubs in your tropical garden
To complement the structure of your tropical garden, flowering shrubs will introduce intense colors.
The shrub datura is a wild tropical plant, offering in summer flowering in the form of huge trumpets very odorous and colorful. You can either grow them indoors in the winter and take out the pots in summer, or choose varieties that start from the strain, even after a freeze at -10 ° C: Brugmansia x candida “Phanomenal” (pink), Brugmansia Versicolor “Maya” (salmon) …
- The rose of Sharon is an easygoing shrub; rustic, it resists up to – 15 ° C without a problem. For a tropical garden, prefer the varieties “Oiseau Bleu” or “Duke of Brabant “.
- The Hibiscus coccineus, flowers bright red, is hardy until – 12 ° C.
- The yellow paradise bird is a very original, very exotic flowering shrub composed of panicles of yellow flowers with many and very long stamens bright red. It is hardy until – 10 or – 12 °C.
- The fuchsia triphylla “Fulgens” is a fast-growing shrub with long, tubular flowers, orange-red. In the open, it can withstand temperatures until – 10 ° C.
- The cassia Senna corymbosa bears in late summer until the first jellies of bright yellow flowers, a significant color in a tropical garden. It resists at -10 ° C in well-drained soil.
- The velvetleaf is a beautiful shrub producing amazing pendulous flowers in the shape of rounded bells, white, yellow, pink, orange or red. Unfortunately, it is not very hardy and is grown indoors in winter, even if it means leaving the pots in the summer. Only Abutilon megapotamicum, or velvetleaf “Belgian flag,” is hardy until around – 12 ° C.
5. Go for some spectacular flowers for your tropical garden
A tropical garden abounds in vibrant colors. In addition to flowering shrubs, complete the richness of the garden by planting spectacular flowers by their shapes and colors. It does not matter if they are not all of the tropical origin, what counts is to give an exotic and colorful atmosphere, with a maximum of plants out of the ordinary:
- The Akebia quinata or chocolate Liane will open the flowering season in April. It is a climber with active development, with the first flowers, grouped in clusters of small intense purple lanterns, with the perfume of vanilla. The plant is resistant to – 20°C, but you can reach the aerial parts from – 5 ° C.
- The Marsh Hibiscus is a perennial 1.80 m tall with lush foliage, bearing large, plate – size flowers, ranging in color from white to bright red. The leaf gets destroyed at 0 ° C. However, the strain is resistant to -15 or -20 ° C provided that you protect it by thick mulch.
- The Calla Lily, commonly called arum, is a bulbous plant beautifully evoking the tropical gardens. The most common and most hardy is white Ethiopia arum, whose bulb can remain in the ground in winter in most areas, with good mulching. The arums of color, are less rustic: therefore, it is better to tear off their bulbs in autumn to store them in the cellar or garage.
- The steppe lily is also a bulbous plant, which produces large spikes of flowers, 2 to 3 m high. For a tropical-looking garden, opt for Eremurus Cleopatra, with long, upright, salmon-pink ears with small red streaks and orange anthers. It is a hardy plant with cold temperatures until -12 ° C.
6. Create a lush jungle atmosphere
To evoke a tropical garden, a jungle atmosphere must reign in your garden.
- Plant tightly and also, use ground cover to hide any parcel of bare land.
- Do not hesitate to mix the colors, alternating shady and mysterious green areas, with giant leaves, and colorful flowering flower beds.
- To complete your tropical garden, do not hesitate to come out in summer your indoor exotic plants, green or flowering: (ficus, philodendron, dieffenbachia, anthurium, etc). From mid-May, gradually acclimatize them by putting them in shady places. The easiest way is to leave them in their pot and return them before the first frosts.