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Tropical Flowers in Mississippi

By J.D. Chi ; Updated September 21, 2017
Banana plants are tropical with long, weeping leaves.
Banana Tree image by SISS-Solutions.com from Fotolia.com

Sandwiched between Louisiana to the west and Alabama to the east, Mississippi sits on the Gulf of Mexico and the has a mostly tropical climate. The whole state is in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 7 to 9, where the risk of frost is minimal and summers, particularly in the south, may be hot and humid. Many tropical plants thrive in this climate, including many you might not expect to find a state best known for growing cotton.

Banana Trees

The leaves of banana plants are susceptible to wind damage.
banana tree against the sky image by Galina Barskaya from Fotolia.com

There may be nothing that screams tropical more than the large, broad, weeping leaves of a banana plant (Musa). Hardy throughout Mississippi, bananas are perennial plants that may grow to 20 feet tall, depending on the variety. Banana leaves can reach 9 feet long, but are susceptible to being torn by wind and should be planted in a protected spot. Besides the foliage, bananas produces drooping flower stalks with bracts that are red or purple, and some varieties produce edible fruit. The red banana (M. sumatrana) variety has variegated leaves with some red coloring. Bananas will die back in colder climates, but should come back. These plants have a shallow root system, and spread by suckers or underground roots, so they become invasive. Bananas thrive in full sun to partial shade and require ample water.


Plumeria blooms are used to make leis.
plumeria alba image by jean claude braun from Fotolia.com

Fragrant, waxy, colorful flowers are the hallmarks of plumeria (Plumeria), also known as frangipani. The blooms, which may be pink, red, yellow, white or bicolor, are used to make leis in Hawaii. This plant, which is a deciduous shrub or small tree, is a good choice for southern Mississippi, where the climate is more temperate and there is less risk of frost. Besides the sturdy flowers, plumeria has leathery, pointed, green leaves that grow at the tips of thick branches. Plumeria thrives in full sun and requires moderate water.

Snow Bush

Snow bush (Breynia disticha) is an evergreen shrub that is among the most popular tropicals in Mississippi, according to a 2004 Mississippi State University paper. Native to South Africa and Asia, snow bush is an open-growing, evergreen shrub that can reach 5 feet and has bicolor leaves, usually green with splashes of white, though the 'roseo-picta' cultivar has both pink and white spots of color. This shrub has wine-colored stems that zig-zag, rather than growing straight. Snow bush thrives in partial shade and requires regular to moderate water.


About the Author


J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.