It's a jungle out there! Cold Hardy tropical plants including Curcuma (Hidden Cone Ginger), Canna (Canna Lilies), Musa (Banana), Hedychium (Ginger Lilies) and more. These exotic plants make your temperate garden resemble a tropical paradise.
Some of us here in the cool latitudes (and even some people in the nerdy latitudes) have rain-forest envy and want a garden full of exotic cold hardy tropical plants. Luckily for us, there are a few equatorial plants that have developed some cold hardiness and there are a few temperate zone plants with a distinct exotic tropical look. Make your temperate garden reminiscent of Hawaii today with exotic tropical-looking plants like bananas, cannas and aroids.
Exactly which cold hardy tropical plants you can grow in your garden depends on where you live. In our zone 7b garden in Raleigh, NC we have lots of cool choices for exotic plants including:
Bananas like Musa, Musella, and Ensete
Large-leaved perennials and tall perennials like Tetrapanax, Philodendron, Heliconia, Manihot, Hedychium, Canna, and Curcuma
Hardy forms of exotic tropical ginger lilies like Zingiber and Alpinia
Elephant ears like Colocasia, Alocasia, Remusatia
Exotic aroids like Amorphophallus
Tropical tall ornamental grasses and other grass-like plants such as Arundo, Saccharum and Chlorophytum
Exotic-looking bamboos like Fargesia, Borinda and Bambusa
Shade-loving exotic plants like Aspidistra, Rohdea and Tupistra
Tropical flowering exotic plants like Bauhinia, Begonia, Cuphea, Gloxinia and tropical Dahlia
Woody-perennials like Cycas, Hibiscus, Abutilon and Brugmansia
Tropical-looking hardy Ferns like Coniogramme
Hardy Palm trees such as Phoenix, Sabal, Washingtonia, Rhapidophyllum and Butia
In addition, there are certain temperate zone and desert plants that are distinctly exotic- looking in temperate climates including :
Succulents like Agave, Aloe, Yucca, Dyckia, Echeveria, Nolina, Opuntia and Dasylirion
Bulbs like Dracunculus, Zantedeschia and Hymenocallis
South African natives like Eucomis and Scadoxus
Ferns like Onoclea, Thelypteris and Pteris
The list below contains many more cold hardy tropical plants for all types of gardens. When you are ready to buy tropical looking plants for your garden, check out our online list of exotic plants for sale.