A Guide to Growing Hardy Tropical Plants Outdoors in the UK


If you're a gardening enthusiast in the UK, you might think that tropical plants are out of reach for your outdoor garden. However, with a little creativity and the right plants, you can create an exotic paradise that thrives even in the UK's unpredictable weather. In this blog post, we'll explore the best tropical hardy plants to grow outdoors in the UK and offer tips for success.

  1. Choose the Right Plants

Not all tropical plants can withstand the colder temperatures and unpredictable climate of the UK. But, there are a variety of hardy tropical plants that can flourish in this environment. Here are five top contenders:

a. Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese Windmill Palm): This cold-hardy palm can grow up to 12 metres tall and can tolerate temperatures as low as -15°C. It adds an instant tropical feel to any garden.

b. Fatsia japonica (Japanese Aralia): With its large, glossy leaves, Fatsia japonica is an excellent choice for adding a touch of the tropics. It is shade-tolerant and can withstand temperatures down to -10°C.

c. Musa basjoo (Japanese Banana): Despite its name, Musa basjoo hails from Japan and can withstand temperatures down to -10°C. Its large, lush leaves create a stunning tropical backdrop.

d. Cordyline australis (Cabbage Palm): Native to New Zealand, Cordyline australis is another cold-hardy palm that can tolerate temperatures down to -10°C. Its sword-shaped leaves provide dramatic texture.

e. Tetrapanax papyrifer (Rice Paper Plant): With its large, lobed leaves, this plant brings a tropical touch to any garden. It can withstand temperatures down to -10°C and prefers partial shade.

  1. Microclimate Creation

Creating a microclimate in your garden can help provide the necessary warmth and shelter for your tropical plants. You can achieve this by:

a. Planting close to walls or fences: Walls and fences can absorb heat during the day and release it at night, providing extra warmth for your plants.

b. Using windbreaks: Windbreaks, such as hedges or screens, protect your plants from cold winds and create a sheltered environment.

c. Mulching: Applying a thick layer of organic mulch around the base of your plants helps to insulate the soil, conserve moisture, and regulate temperature.

  1. Overwintering

Some tropical plants may require additional protection during the colder winter months. Options include:

a. Wrapping: Use horticultural fleece or bubble wrap to protect plants from frost and cold temperatures. Make sure to remove the wrap during warmer days to prevent overheating.

b. Bringing potted plants indoors: Potted plants can be brought into a cool, frost-free space, such as a garage or greenhouse, during winter months.

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