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List of Tropical Plants

Tropical plants are lush and exotic and usually have thick, waxy leaves. When we think of tropical plants we tend to think of ferns and orchids and a wide array of plants and flowers that emerge from the rainforests and jungles. Tropical plants can survive in any location if they are given enough care. Tropical plants include banana, mango and coconut trees. They also include such plants as begonias, passion flowers and hibiscus.

Elephant Ear

Elephant ear plants are large tropical plants with heart-shaped leaves that can reach sizes up to 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. They are very easy to grow and can take over a garden and shade out other plants due to their height. Elephant ears can reach heights of 8 feet tall in the tropical regions. Elephant ears grow best in moist soil that is in partial shade. They go into a dormant phase and die off during the colder winter months but begin new growth when the weather gets warmer in the summer.

Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata

Alpinias are a low lying plant that is native to India and are a member of the ginger family. The leaves of the alpinia are approximately 2 feet long and the plant typically only gets around 6 feet tall. The plant flowers in the summer with beautiful flowers that are ivory with red and yellow. They prefer well drained moist soil that gets 50% of its daytime hours in the shade.

Tree Tomato

The tree tomato is a tree that is native to South America and can reach heights of up to 25 feet. The tree bears tomato type fruit. The tree is most successful in cooler climates that are in lower elevations. The tree requires fertile, well-drained soil and bears fruit when it is approximately 2 years old.


Periwinkle is a perennial flower that is said to be native of Madagascar. Periwinkle has medicinal properties. It can help ease the pain from bee stings. Treatment with periwinkle can be risky due to the side effects, such as hair loss and nausea. Many countries have thought of periwinkle as a miracle drug. The flower blooms all summer and comes in a variety of colors from white to hot pink and purple.

Castor Oil Plant

The castor oil plant is another tropical plant that is used for medicinal reasons. The castor oil plant can reach heights as large as 30 feet and has palm shaped leaves. The plant has purple leaves and there are burs on the end of each stem that contain the castor oil seed. The beans contain ricin, which is very toxic and can cause death.

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