Tropical Exotic Flowers & Plants for the Garden

Tropical flowers and plants are exotic by nature. The adaptations these plants have made to survive in high humidity and heat have made them quite eye-catching. Many gardeners cultivate tropical flowers and plants successfully in the home garden, relishing their showy, bright flowers and broad, lush foliage.

Bird of Paradise

Growing up to 5 feet tall, the bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), also called crane flower, is a striking tropical plant notable for its "bird-like" blooms. A native of South Africa, bird of paradise is a colorful plant that boasts orange and blue flowers throughout the year. The showy blooms of the bird of paradise truly stand out against its shiny dark green foliage, which look great year round in tropical climates. Bird of paradise is best cultivated in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10A to 11A, preferably in partial shade or sun with a little afternoon shade. Bird of paradise is quite tolerant of different types of soil and will grow in most pH levels so long as the soil is kept consistently moist to the touch.

Variegated Shell Ginger

A native of India, variegated shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) is a flowering tropical plant that reaches an average height of about 6 feet. A member of the ginger family, from which the culinary species comes from, variegated shell ginger is a double pleasure, thanks to its shell-like pink and white flowers and its rich green and yellow variegated leaves. Variegated shell ginger makes an exotic and beautiful tropical plant in USDA Zones 8 to 12. The plant will grow in both light shade or full sun, and it does best in a moist, well-drained soil. Variegated shell ginger can be planted in a sunny location indoors or outside in the garden or container.

Papaya Plant

Unusual and almost alien in appearance, the papaya plant (Carica papaya) is a bright green plant that sports long fleshy branches, waxy white flowers and clusters of edible fruit. A native of the tropics of South America, the papaya plant is cultivated for its ornamental value as well as for its soft, meaty fruits. The plant can be grown in USDA Zones 10 to 11. Growing up to 20 feet tall, full sunlight is crucial to the well being of this plant, and the fruits won't taste very good without it. A well-drained, fertile soil is ideal. The plant should be watered frequently in the summer, less in cooler months.

Keywords: exotic plants, tropical plants, tropical flowers

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.