Exotic Plants List

Exotic plants can be brought into an area from another region of the United States or other places in the world. The most popular exotic plants come from tropical places in other countries.They are either intentionally or accidentally introduced into a new region. Exotic plants can add new depths of beauty and grace to any garden or landscape.


Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is related to the banana. It's an herbaceous plant whose name comes from its unique flower. The flower looks like a brightly colored bird in flight. The combination of blue petals with orange sepals, the part that protects the bud, emerge from a beak-like leaf and make it look like a bird. They can be used in mass plantings and the leaves never drop from the plant.


Gardenia augusta is native to China, Taiwan and Japan. It is an evergreen shrub that grows between 2 and 15 feet tall. It has shiny, bright-green leaves but is best known for the amazingly sweet smelling white flowers that bloom from late March to mid-June. All varieties have a wax-like appearance and the flowers are either single or double, depending on the cultivar.

Rosa Flora Pendula

Rosa-flora Pendula (Malvaviscus arboreus) is an exotic shrub that grows 10 feet tall. It has soft-pink flowers, 1/2 to 3 inches long. The leaves are glossy, narrow and jade-green. This plant is native to Hong Kong but can be grown anywhere indoors with proper pruning to keep the size small.

Parrot Flower

There is one known exotic flower on record that cannot be introduced to other parts of the world. The parrot flower (Impatiens psittacina) is a rare plant that is protected by the Thai government. The export of its seeds or plants is banned. The flower is in the shape of a parrot in flight, similar in concept to the bird-of-paradise. It grows 6 feet tall and blooms in colors like pale-lilac, reddish-purple or white. It blooms in October and November and grows best in tropical, humid conditions. The reason it is protected is because it is extremely difficult to cultivate. It was first discovered in 1901 by the botanist E.D. Hooker. The plant is only found in a few parts of Thailand.


All orchids belong to the Orchidaceae family. There are over 300,000 registered cultivars currently on record. Due to the overwhelming number of orchids, it is hard to describe the characteristics because each one is different. The most common type of orchid is the moth orchid, or the Phalaenopsis orchid. These orchids are white or purplish-pink. These are not hard to care for and bloom very easily.

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About this Author

Sheri Engstrom has been writing for 15 years. She is currently a gardening writer for Demand Studios. Engstrom completed the master gardener program at the University of Minnesota Extension service. She is published in their book "The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites." She is also the online education examiner Minneapolis for Examiner.com.