35 Flowers For a Lush, Tropical Garden

Are you building a tropical oasis or looking for the perfect tropical flowering houseplant to add to your collection? Here, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares her favorite tropical flowering plants, perfect for the home or garden.

A small pod adorned with a mesmerizing waterfall, creating a tranquil oasis in nature. The gentle cascade flows into a serene pond, surrounded by a delightful assortment of plants and blooming flowers, adding a burst of colors to the landscape.


Something about a tropical landscape always makes me feel like I am on vacation. This is ironic, as I grew up in a tropical climate zone, so every garden was a tropical garden. Nonetheless, tropical flowers have a special enchanting quality to them and can seem to whisk you away to your own lush paradise!

These plants will grow in your backyard if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate. Creating a tropical oasis is easy in these zones.

For the rest of us, most of these plants need to be kept indoors or at least moved indoors during colder weather. Even in the coldest climates, many tropical flowers can be kept as houseplants. Here are 36 of my favorite flowering tropical plants.


Three vibrant red amaryllis flowers, showcasing their stunning petals and graceful curves. Three thick stems provide unwavering support to the amaryllis flowers, allowing them to stand tall and proud. The blurred background features an artistic medley of various lush leaves.
The flowers of Amaryllis come in various beautiful shades of red, pink, and white, often displaying bi-color cultivars.
botanical-name botanical name Amaryllis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-12

This Central and South American native is best recognized for its prevalence in stores and nurseries around the winter holidays. Amaryllis is a tropical bulb flower that typically blooms in the winter but can continue into the spring in cooler climates. They like plenty of morning sun, with some shelter later in the day.

Amaryllis have long, straplike leaves that grow at ground level. Tall, fleshy, hollow stems each support a cluster of 2-5 flowers. The flowers are large and beautiful, in shades of red, pink, and white, with some bi-color cultivars. If you want a really spectacular grouping, plant several bulbs close together, and they will put on a gorgeous show in late winter. 

Angel’s Trumpet

Two elegant, white angel's trumpet flowers gracefully hang upside down. Adorned with lush green leaves, the angel's trumpet flowers create a mesmerizing contrast against the verdant backdrop. Their elongated petals curve gracefully, resembling celestial trumpets announcing nature's symphony.
Large, pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, yellow, and white give the plant its common name, angel’s trumpet.
botanical-name botanical name Brugmansia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 35’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11 (Deciduous in Zone 8)

This tropical stunner brings plenty of drama to the garden landscape. Angel’s trumpet is a large tropical shrub or tree, depending on the variety and how much space you give it. They are evergreen in warmer climates but will be deciduous in zone 7-8. Angel’s trumpet is root hardy to 5°F but will lose its leaves in a freeze.

Large and flashy are words I would use to describe this member of the nightshade family. And yes, that means these plants are poisonous, so exercise caution with pets and small children around this pretty plant.

The flowers are positively breathtaking and wonderfully fragrant. They are large and pendulous, downward-hanging trumpets in shades of pink, yellow, and white. The foliage is dense and bright green. 

Arabian Jasmine

A close-up view of a pristine white Arabian Jasmine flower, its delicate petals unfurling like popcorn kernels popping in a summer breeze. Glistening in the sunlight, the lush green leaves encircling the flower hold onto tiny water droplets.
This Jasmine is a rapidly growing plant grown for its strongly-fragrant flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Jasminum sambac
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6’-10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

With so many species of jasmine to choose from, it is difficult to pick just one to represent these heavily perfumed, evergreen, climbing shrubs. Arabian jasmine definitely sits at the top of the list regarding fragrance, beauty, and blooming power.

This fast-growing plant is native to tropical Asia and India, where it is known as Sampaguita, and is a common flavoring for teas.

Arabian Jasmine can be grown as a sprawling shrub, vine, or espalier. It has smooth, glossy, ovate leaves and stems with a vining habit. The flowers appear at the end of branches in clusters and open to fully double-petaled, creamy white blossoms. The flowers open at night, perfuming the night air with their heady fragrance, and close in the heat of the daytime.

Bat Flower

A close-up of a purple bat flower reveals its velvety petals. The purple bracteoles gracefully dangle, and the center presents a charming cluster of smaller blooms. Beyond the enchanting purple bat flower, glossy leaves create a lush, green backdrop.
The Bat Flower thrives in dappled or filtered light for most of the day.
botanical-name botanical name Tacca chantrieri
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade, ideally filtered sunlight
height height 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

This is a wonderful plant for the collector of exotic tropical plants. Although it can be finicky, with the right climate and environment, it makes a great conversation piece in the garden.

Bat flower is native to Southeast Asia and Australia, where it grows in tropical forests beneath a tree canopy. In terms of sunlight, the bat flower is similar to an orchid. It prefers dappled or filtered light for most of the day.

Bat flower’s foliage is attractive and very tropical in appearance. Large, ovate, glossy green leaves grow from the base of the plant. The flowers bloom atop tall stems and get their name from their appearance, which is decidedly bat-like. It has deep purple, winglike bracts with a cluster of small flowers below and long, threadlike bracteoles hanging among the flowers.


Begonia flowers displaying white to pink petals with delicate yellow centers. The leaves beneath them provide a lovely complement. The begonia plants thrive in a rectangular brown pot, filled with nutrient-rich soil to support their growth.
The foliage of begonias thrives with minimal sunlight and water thanks to its fleshy and waxy nature.
botanical-name botanical name Begonia
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Begonias are a favorite of mine as they make wonderful indoor and outdoor plants. There are close to 2,000 species, and among them, a wide variety of foliage and flowers. Begonias are native to Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Sadly, no species is native to the United States, but they will grow quite well here in warmer climates

Begonias are easy to grow and behave somewhat like succulents. Their foliage is fleshy and waxy, and they do well with limited sun and water.

The flowers are typically shades of white, pink, and red but can also be orange or yellow. They come in single or double-petal forms. The B. rex species is a glorious group of plants with ornate leaves that can be multi-colored and tend to grow in a whorling direction.

Bird of Paradise

A close-up of a bird of paradise flower with its yellow petals resemble delicate wings. The stem showcases a captivating gradient, transitioning from luscious green to enchanting shades of pink and blue. The blurred background hints at neighboring flora.
The bird of paradise plant can produce its spectacular flowers at almost any time of the year.
botanical-name botanical name Strelitzia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height Up to 30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

I don’t know if a more tropical-looking plant exists than the bird of paradise. With its fan-shaped structure of banana-like leaves, the plant is palm-like and sturdy. It has a clumping habit, growing up to 5’ wide, and some species grow quite tall as well. They like a lot of direct sunlight and are also very drought-tolerant. 

Bird of Paradise is native to South Africa and earned its name for the appearance of its flowers, which are exotic and birdlike.

A long, pointed bud opens with a fanlike flourish of bright orange and deep iridescent blue. They can bloom at just about any time of year, with fall being the rarest season for bird of paradise to produce its spectacular flowers.

Blood Lily

A close-up of a vibrant red blood lily flower, showcasing its spherical shape, with delicate and slender petals surrounding its core. As the backdrop blurs, the lush green leaves seem to provide a soothing embrace to this captivating floral gem.
The blood lily thrives in filtered or indirect light but can tolerate partial shade if shielded from the afternoon sun.
botanical-name botanical name Heamanthus multiflorus
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Blood lily is a fun and fantastic tropical plant that is easy to care for and makes a great midground plant. Maturing at about 2’ tall, it is modest in size, with large, smooth leaves that have a slightly ruffled appearance to the edges.

The plant prefers light to be filtered or indirect, but it will be fine in partial shade as long as it has some protection from the afternoon sun.

Also known as the fireball lily, the flowers are reminiscent of precisely that. The large flowerheads are spherical and fiery red. The red, star-shaped florets have yellow stamens and are extremely enticing to pollinating insects. After blooming, stop watering blood lily as this will be a time of dormancy and recovery. 


A vibrant cluster of pink, white, and lavender bougainvilleas blooms together, creating a stunning display of colors. Their delicate petals form a striking contrast against the lush green backdrop of their foliage.
With its ease of growth and maintenance, bougainvillea adds a vast array of vibrant colors to the landscape.
botanical-name botanical name Bougainvillea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 20’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

This South American native has found its place in gardens in many of the world’s tropical and subtropical climates. From Mediterranean archways to ritzy South Florida shopping malls, bougainvillea is easy to grow and maintain and brings enormous color to the landscape. It can be both shrubby or vining and typically likes to have something to climb.

The foliage is typically light to medium green and delicate compared to other plant parts. The stems are woody and covered in large, sharp thorns, so avoid planting this in a spot where anyone might brush up against it.

The colorful portions of the plant are actually bracts that form around much smaller, white, tubular flowers. These bracts can be coral, purple, pink, red, white, and bicolor. My favorite is Helen Johnson, which has a stunning, hot pink color.


A stunning close-up of a vibrant bromeliad flower, showcasing its rich red petals gracefully overlap. In the background, slender leaves create a soft, blurred backdrop, complementing the flower's brilliance while highlighting its prominence.
Adding an intriguing textural element as a garden or house plant, bromeliads are easily cultivated and require little maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Bromeliaceae
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

These commonly epiphytic plants are often found growing in trees across tropical regions of the Americas. They are easy to grow and maintain and can add an interesting textural element as a garden or house plant. These relatives of pineapple plants have a similar appearance, with spiraling rosettes of shiny, stiff, pointed leaves.

Bromeliads don’t bloom until the end of their lifecycle, so it is a bittersweet event, but not to worry; they nearly always reproduce before they die.

The flowers resemble the leaves in every respect except for color. The foliage is green, sometimes variegated with white, while the flowers appear in shades of pink, red, yellow, purple, orange, and white.

Bush Lily

A lush cluster of orange bush lily flowers gathered closely, creating a captivating display of colors that enlivens any garden or landscape they grace. Sparkling water droplets elegantly adorning the velvety flowers and surrounding leaves.
If you want to plant in a colder climate, bush lily is an excellent choice as a container plant.
botanical-name botanical name Clivia
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 2’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Clivia goes by many names, including bush lily and cape lily. They are native to South Africa and members of the Amaryllis family, so they are bulbous and mildly toxic to animals.

These plants have lovely foliage that resembles their relatives, long, flat, and straplike. Bush lily makes a wonderful container plant if you wish to plant it in a colder climate. 

Indoors, the bush lily needs a bright window, but outdoors place it in a spot with afternoon shade. Choose a location with good drainage as well, as they are prone to root rot. In summer, the bush lily produces the prettiest orange flowers. Their clusters of tubular blooms are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Calla Lily

A beautiful bouquet of white calla lilies, elegantly arranged with their wavy, lush leaves. The white petals resemble delicate trumpets. In the center, a prominent yellow spadix stretches out gracefully, adding a touch of vibrant color to the serene composition.
One of the most popular flowers for cut arrangements and bridal bouquets is the Calla lily.
botanical-name botanical name Zantedeschia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-13

Calla lilies are one of the most popular flowers for cut arrangements and bridal bouquets. Their uniquely beautiful flowers are long-lasting cut flowers and come in an array of stunning colors. They are native to Africa and have an aggressive growth habit, so much so that they’re considered slightly invasive in many warm-weather regions.

Calla lilies like hot, humid weather, but if you are in a particularly hot climate, consider planting them in a spot with afternoon shade and morning sun. They prefer moist but well-drained soil and will die back in winter, even in warm climates, and return in the spring. In cooler climates, they can be grown as an annual.

Canna Lily

A close-up of a Canna Lilies, showcasing their petals that display a captivating blend of yellow hues adorned with charming orange dots. A bumblebee lands on one of the flowers. In the blurred background, green leaves offer a calming contrast.
In a single season, canna lilies can typically grow up to 6 feet tall.
botanical-name botanical name Canna
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Canna lilies are one of those plants with an incredibly tropical vibe, but they can survive the winter all the way north to Zone 7. North of Zone 7, dig up the rhizomes and store them in the garage or greenhouse over the winter.

These plants have a very similar growth habit to ginger plants. In fact, they are related and will clump over time, producing a spectacular grouping of these stunning plants.

Cannas are not true lilies, as they are not bulbous. They typically reach up to 6’ tall in a single season. Between their stunning, often variegated, banana-like foliage and exotic flowers in the warm color family, these flowering plants are a great focal point in the tropical garden. While they are predominantly native to South and Central America, some species are native to the United States. 

Chenille Plant

A vibrant display of pink chenille flowers creating a delightful profusion of color. The soft, fuzzy petals, along with their green stems and leaves are gracefully swaying in the breeze, evoking a sense of gentle movement and life.
Related to poinsettias and crotons, the chenille plant contributes ample texture and interest to floral arrangements.
botanical-name botanical name Acalypha hispida
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 5’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

The chenille plant gets its scientific name from the French word for caterpillar, and it’s not hard to see why. The scarlet blooms look like fat, wiggly caterpillars reaching out from the leafy green stems. This plant is related to poinsettias and crotons and makes a great cut flower, adding a lot of texture and interest to a floral arrangement. 

When grown in tropical climates, the chenille plant is a shrub that can reach up to 15’ tall but usually stays nearer to 5’-6’ tall.

Outside of tropical climate zones, it can easily be grown in containers and makes a wonderful hanging plant as the flowers drape toward the ground. It must be brought indoors in cold weather, but it is evergreen and can bloom year-round under favorable conditions.

Common Jasmine

White common jasmine flowers, their simple yet elegant petals emitting a subtle fragrance. In the foreground, pink jasmine buds are about to bloom, and the blurred background showcases a harmonious abundance of the same exquisite jasmine flowers and leaves.
A pretty and easy-to-grow vining evergreen, common jasmine benefits from pruning to promote new growth and abundant flowering.
botanical-name botanical name Jasminum officinale
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 15’-30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

I know I implied that I would only talk about one type of jasmine, but this one bears mentioning because it’s so darn pretty and easy to grow! Common jasmine is a wonderful, vining evergreen or semi-evergreen. It isn’t picky about soil or sunlight as long as it gets a few hours of sun and good drainage.

Common jasmine has glossy, deep green foliage and creamy white flowers that appear in clusters on vining stems.

The foliage is lovely as a groundcover, climbing vine, or sprawling shrub, and the flowers smell glorious. Pruning will encourage new growth and more prolific flowering from this sub-tropical beauty.


A profusion of cyclamen flowers, revealing their exquisite beauty. Each petal boasts a delicate shade of soft pink, gracefully complemented by subtle white hues tracing the edges.
This tropical flower is excellent choice as a houseplant if you want to introduce fascinating foliage to your home.
botanical-name botanical name Cyclamen persicum
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial sun
height height 6”-9”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Cyclamen makes an excellent foreground plant in the tropical garden. It also makes a wonderful houseplant to bring a touch of interesting tropical foliage into the home.

This Mediterranean native has some of the prettiest leaves around. The heart-shaped leaves grow in a dense mound and have a combination of deep and pale green markings. 

Cyclamen flowers rise above the umbrella of leaves on delicate stems. These flowers, which come in shades of pink, white, red, purple, and bicolor, are upward-facing with a slight twist to the petals. Cyclamen doesn’t like wet feet and needs well-draining soil. As a houseplant, cyclamen can be exceptionally long-lived, with lifespans up to 100 years!

Dendrobium Orchid

A lovely arrangement of dendrobium orchids, their slender stems forming a captivating visual as they stand side by side. The petals, ranging in color from pristine white to captivating purple, give off an air of delicate sophistication.
Known for their deciduous nature, dendrobium orchids are renowned for being less challenging to cultivate.
botanical-name botanical name Dendrobium
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 3”-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

Orchids are some of the most sought-after tropical plants, with collectors going to great lengths to collect the rarest and most interesting specimens. Dendrobiums are known for being easier to grow and cultivate than most genera of orchids and for their deciduous nature. That’s right, many species of Dendrobium orchids lose their leaves and go dormant after flowering.

Dendrobiums are epiphytic or lithophytic, meaning that they grow in trees or from rocks. They like lots of humidity and need good air circulation and drainage.

In warmer climates, these plants can be tied to a tree where they will happily thrive in the filtered light of the tree canopy. Indoors, these plants need a lot of light, but direct sunlight will lead to leaf scorch, so bright but indirect lighting is best.

Flamingo Flower

Pink flamingo flowers showcasing their beautiful heart-shaped petals with a yellow spadix at their centers. The soft and blurred background highlights the heart-shaped leaves that complement the flowers' graceful appearance.
The flamingo flower boasts remarkably enduring flowers that can persist for up to two months.
botanical-name botanical name Anthurium andraeanum
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 12”-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

This South American native makes an excellent houseplant and a wonderful burst of color in the tropical garden. Anthuriums are rainforest plants that prefer humid environments with filtered or indirect light. Although other species of the genus come in many colors, this species typically has pink flowers, hence their common name of flamingo flower.

Anthuriums have very long-lasting flowers, they can bloom year-round if given the right environment, and the flowers can last up to 2 months.

Flamingo flower is epiphytic in its native environment, so it needs very well-draining soil, and if it is grown in a container, that should drain completely as well. Treat this plant similarly to an orchid, and it will be happy.


Amidst a sea of lush green foliage, a stunning white frangipani stands out. The flower's swirling petals draw the eye towards its sunny yellow centers, exuding a sense of tranquility and purity amidst the verdant surroundings.
Commonly bi- or even tri-colored, frangipanis exhibit a whorling shape.
botanical-name botanical name Plumeria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 25’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Frangipani, also known as plumeria, is best known as the most common flower used to make Hawaiian leis. It also has historically been prized by perfumers for its incredibly fragrant flowers. Despite this fact, it is very difficult to replicate the scent of frangipani because each variety has its own specific scent, which can range from floral to fruity, to spicy. 

These large shrubs or small trees have interesting, leafless branches with smooth, grey bark. At the end of each branch is a cluster of large, elliptical leaves, giving the plant a tropical, palm-like appearance.

In the center of the leaf cluster is where the tree produces its famous flowers. These pretty, five-petaled blooms have a whorling shape and are commonly bi- or even tir-colored. Shades include pink, purple, red, yellow, white, and orange.


A beautiful Gardenia flower with layered white petals, gracefully arranged around its swirling yellow center, In the backdrop, glossy green leaves provide a lush and verdant setting, accentuating the flower's delicate beauty.
Famous for their enchanting fragrance, gardenias have had their captivating scent recreated countless times by perfumers worldwide.
botanical-name botanical name Gardenia jasminodes
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-11

Gardenias are famous for their enchanting fragrance, a scent which has been replicated thousands of times by perfumers worldwide. If you live in zones 6-11, you can have these wonderfully scented blooms in your garden! While technically not a true tropical, gardenia definitely has a tropical feel.

Gardenias are evergreen plants with surprising cold tolerance. Some varieties are more so than others, but in general, they can survive temperatures as low as 15°F without losing leaves, although they may shed a few leaves after prolonged cold weather.

These late spring bloomers smell strongest in the evening, so plant this shrub near your outdoor living space to enjoy the fragrance.

Kahili Ginger

A vibrant yellow kahili ginger flower showcasing its long, red stamens that extend gracefully. The kahili ginger plant boasts large, elongated leaves. The soft focus background of this image features a serene natural landscape filled with trees.
This species of ginger can tolerate full sun for most of the day, but it prefers some shade in the afternoon.
botanical-name botanical name Hedychium gardnerianum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

This exciting species of ginger is one of the showiest in the genre. A winner of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, you can be certain that this plant is impressive and beautiful while remaining accessible to the average gardener. This flowering, rhizomatic perennial prefers some shade in the afternoon but can tolerate full sun for most of the day. It also likes rich soil and plenty of moisture.

Kahili ginger is native to India. It has dramatic, tropical foliage. The large, grey-green leaves are lance-shaped and tough. In late summer, the plant sends up an inflorescence that rivals any plant in the garden. Tall clusters of exotic golden flowers are a wonderful focal point and have a lovely warm fragrance.

King Protea

A close-up of king protea flowers, showcasing their majestic bowl-shaped heads in mesmerizing shades of pink, ranging from soft pastels to vibrant magentas. The lush and diverse foliage beside them serves as a perfect complement, accentuating the blooms' royal allure.
At any time of the year, the king protea can sporadically produce flowers, although it primarily blooms in the warmer months.
botanical-name botanical name Protea cyaroides
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

As flowers go, king protea produces some of the most interesting and coveted. Prized among florists for these large, bowl-shaped blooms, the king protea is tropical royalty. This South African native mainly blooms in the warmer months but can produce flowers sporadically at any time of the year. It is found naturally along the Cape of Good Hope in coastal areas.

Attractive, ovate leaves decorate tall brown stems with sturdy, deep roots to protect against wildfire. They like a lot of sun and well-drained soil.

In their second year, the plants will begin producing flowers, and those flowers are something to write home about! The blooms are very large (5”-12”) and surrounded by rose-pink bracts resembling ray florets. The center comprises many small flowers in shades of green and white.

Moss Rose

A delightful cluster of moss roses in various pastel hues, showcasing lovely shades of pink, yellow, orange, red, white, and purple. Complementing the moss roses' beauty, their lush succulent-like leaves gracefully sprawl beneath them.
To prevent root rot, avoid overwatering moss roses.
botanical-name botanical name Portulaca grandiflora
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3”-9”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Moss rose makes a lovely hanging plant and looks nice as a ground cover. It is a semi-succulent plant that grows as an evergreen in tropical climates and is often grown as an annual in cooler climates. These little plants tend to find their way into cracks and crevices, and they will fill in between stones in a rock wall beautifully. 

Because they are semi-succulent, avoid overwatering the moss rose to keep their roots free from fungal root rots. The foliage is small, ovate, and fleshy, with trailing stems. At the ends of stems bloom flowers in many different petal formations. From single to fully double flowers and even some specialty types, these brightly colored blooms are beautiful!


Passionflower vine flowers showcasing their exquisite beauty. The striking contrast of white centers and purple filaments against the lavender petals creates a mesmerizing sight. Lush green leaves gracefully encircle the passionflower vine flowers.
The flowers on the passionflower vine exhibit a stunning variety of colors and forms.
botanical-name botanical name Passiflora incarnata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10’-30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-11

Another wonderful tropical flowering vine is the passionflower. Primarily native to North and South America, the passionflower is not exclusively a tropical plant, but the flowers are very exotic in appearance, and it does remain evergreen in tropical climates.

In cooler climates, the plant will die back to the ground after a freeze but will return in the spring. In warmer climates, naturally, the vine grows much larger because of its evergreen habit.

The flowers on this vine are quite spectacular and very distinctive. The outer ring of the flower is made up of 5 sepals and 5 petals of equal size and shape.

Just within this part of the flower lies the most interesting part, the corona filaments, made up of many threadlike structures. The center of the bloom contains 5 stamens and an ovary topped with three styles that terminate in large heads, a truly unique bloom. 

Parrot Heliconia

A splendid arrangement of heliconia flowers hanging gracefully with their slender pink stems. The spectrum of colors, transitioning from pink to yellow, creates a visually enchanting spectacle. In the backdrop, the blurred imagery emphasizes the abundance of large leaves.
Small flowers are protected by red and yellow bracts in parrot heliconia.
botanical-name botanical name Heliconia psittacorum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

The parrot flower, Heliconia psittacorum, may remind you of another plant with an avian moniker. It strongly resembles the bird of paradise.

A native of South America and the Caribbean, Heliconia likes to have plenty of sun, water, humidity, and rich soil. This evergreen has a clumping habit and grows from a central rhizome, making it easy to propagate

The flowers are very similar to the bird of paradise but without the blue accents. Parrot Heliconia has red and yellow bracts that encase and protect small flowers. Hummingbirds love to make a meal of these pretty tropical flowers. The flowers bloom for several weeks, making these a splashy, showy member of the tropical garden.

Peace Lily

A cluster of white peach lilies, showcasing their leaf-shaped petals, and pristine white spadix that adds a touch of purity to the blooms. Flourishing gracefully, these peach lilies proudly display their vibrant blossoms above a bed of large, healthy leaves.
The lovely peace lily flowers slowly unfurl to reveal a prominent spadix with just a single petal or spathe.
botanical-name botanical name Spathiphyllum spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 1’-4’ 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 11-12

Peace lilies are another common houseplant that only thrives outdoors in a tropical setting. The key to a happy peace lily is consistency. These plants like the temperature to stay fairly consistent and warm. Indoors, they will be happiest near a bright window but just out of the direct sunlight. They like to be watered regularly and stay a little bit root bound.

Peace lily has large, banana-like leaves that are glossy and stiff. The flowers are lovely, with a single petal or spathe that unfurls slowly to reveal a prominent spadix.

These flowers are not unlike those of the anthurium or calla lily. Spent flowers should be deadheaded to keep the peace lily producing more. 


A vibrant display of pentas flowers in purple, pink, and red hues, blooming gracefully above a lush bed of green leaves. Their clustered arrangement adds a touch of elegance and allure to the surrounding landscape.
A favorite for pollinator gardens, pentas excel at attracting hummingbirds with their drawing abilities.
botanical-name botanical name Pentas lanceolata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Pentas is a lovely and surefire way to attract butterflies to the garden. They are great at drawing hummingbirds, making them a favorite for pollinator gardens.

Also known as the Egyptian Starcluster, Pentas are native to Africa from Yemen to East Africa. It is only perennial in zones 10-11 but is commonly grown as an annual elsewhere. Sometimes, pentas will return after dying to the ground in cooler climates. 

These are best known for their flowers, as they are covered in tiny star-shaped flowers for a long period of the spring and summer, sometimes even into the fall months. They come in shades of red, pink, white, and purple and typically top out around 3 feet tall. 

Phalaenopsis Orchid

A row of white Phalaenopsis Orchids takes center stage, their slender green stems lending an organic touch to the overall arrangement. The blurred background hints at a thriving garden, enhancing the allure of these timeless and elegant flowers.
This is the easiest orchid species to take care of indoors.
botanical-name botanical name Phalaenopsis
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade, ideally bright indirect light
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Phalaenopsis orchids, commonly known as moth orchids, are perhaps the most common type of orchids that can be purchased locally in most areas. It is not unusual to see these plants in supermarkets and big box stores, and with good reason. They are the easiest orchids to care for as house plants. 

Their mothlike, pendulous flowers are not only breathtakingly beautiful, but they are also quite sturdy and very long-lasting. It is not uncommon for Phalaenopsis flowers to last for 2 months or more. Orchids are mainly epiphytes, so they like to have a lot of air circulation around their roots, and high humidity is a must for these plants.

Pink Maiden

Nestled in a brown clay pot, a captivating assembly of pink maidens gracefully hangs, showcasing their rosy petals and youthful pink buds. The composition exudes a sense of natural elegance, making it a heartwarming addition to any space.
If given the right care, the huge, pendulous pink maiden flower can bloom from spring through fall.
botanical-name botanical name Medinilla magnifica
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Pink maiden, or Medinilla magnifica, is a long-flowering, tropical plant native to Africa, Madagascar, Southern Asia, and the Pacific Islands. It is typically grown as a houseplant outside of its native range, and it can be a bit of a challenge to maintain, but well worth the work. This plant’s lovely, large, and leathery leaves are a deep, glossy green with distinctive, light green veining. 

The most significant thing about this plant is that it produces incredible flowers over an extended flowering season.

.The flowers are large, pink, and pendulous and can bloom from spring through fall if given the proper care. Pink Maiden needs warm temperatures and humidity. Most Medinilla plants are epiphytes, so avoiding overwatering this tropical beauty is important.


A captivating close-up of  porterweed flowers reveals their purple petals. The dainty purple flowers stand out gracefully against a green backdrop of larger porterweed leaves.
Growing as tall as 5′ in just one season, porterweed rapidly grows.
botanical-name botanical name Stachytarpheta
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3’-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

Porterweed, and specifically blue porterweed, is a big draw for hummingbirds in the tropical garden. Many butterfly species also seek out this plant, which is native to Florida and can be grown as an evergreen in Zones 9-12 and is root hardy in Zone 8. Even grown as a deciduous perennial, porterweed is a very fast grower and can reach up to 5’ tall in a single season.

This is not a flashy plant like some other tropical flowering plants, but the flowers are delicate and lovely, and the plant is graceful.

Long stems with leaves that have a shape similar to plants in the mint family support tall thin inflorescences. The flowers are tiny and bright purple-blue. In my garden, this is the most likely to be visited by hummingbirds, and bumblebees also seem rather fond of it.


A close-up of a rain-of-gold flower shows its five delicate, sunshine-yellow petals. The flower's golden heart is adorned with five striking yellow stamens. In the softly blurred background, an enchanting garden showcases more of these lovely rain-of-gold flowers.
As it approaches its final height, Rain-of-Gold can resemble a little tree due to its upright growing habit.
botanical-name botanical name Thryallis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6’-9’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

This is another personal favorite. I love this plant for its grit and determination, as it keeps blooming even in the hottest, driest weather and has endured much colder temperatures than expected, in my yard at least.

Rain-of-Gold is a tropical plant that is labeled as hard in zones 9-11, but I am in zone 8, and it does beautifully here, losing only a small percentage of its leaves during the coldest part of the winter. 

Thryallis is a large shrub with small, delicate-looking leaves. It has an upright growth habit and can take on the look of a small tree as it nears its final height. Each branch is topped with at least one inflorescence, which consists of a spike of small, golden flowers that pollinators love. They also make wonderful cut flower fillers. 


Vibrant pink Rocktrumpet flowers in full bloom, delicately showcasing their beauty. The exquisite petals surround a golden-yellow center, resembling a captivating sunburst. A glossy, verdant foliage forms an enchanting backdrop, enhancing the floral splendor.
Rapid growth and blooming of rocktrumpet occur from late spring until temperatures fall below 50°F.
botanical-name botanical name Mandevilla
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 15’+
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

This highly popular tropical flowering vine is easy to grow and makes a big statement in the garden. Rocktrumpet, also known as Mandevilla, is native to the Americas and is commonly grown as an annual in cooler climates but will grow as an evergreen in tropical climates. It can also bloom nearly year-round if the weather is warm enough.

Rocktrumpet grows quickly and blooms from late spring until the temperature drops below 50°F. The flowers are showy and trumpet-shaped, in shades of pink, white, and red, occasionally with yellow throats. The blooms are fragrant, as a bonus. These are an all-around fan favorite.

Sacred Lotus

A mesmerizing solitary white to purple sacred lotus, gracefully blooming with layered and translucent petals that exude an aura of serenity and beauty. Nestled beneath the resplendent bloom, the rounded leaves form a lush, verdant foundation.
The sacred lotus is revered as a representation of purity, rebirth, and enlightenment in many civilizations.
botanical-name botanical name Nelumbo nucifera
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-11

If you are looking for a water sweller with major flower power, the sacred lotus is a stunning example. In many cultures, this plant is considered a symbol of purity, rebirth, and enlightenment. It is also used medicinally and has religious importance in Buddhism and Hinduism. In addition to all of its interesting cultural significance, it is a beautiful plant.

Lotus plants are aquatic, and sacred lotus, while technically tropical, will behave as a perennial in colder climates, dying back but returning in the spring.

The rhizomes can freeze completely and not die off. The flowers are very large (8”-12”) and the loveliest shade of pink. The leaves and flowers are covered in a waxy coating, enabling them to thrive in the water.

Scarlet Sage

Vibrant red scarlet sage flowers stand tall, showcasing their striking beauty in a garden. Dark green leaves gracefully cradle the scarlet sage flowers, providing a lush backdrop. In the blurred background, tall grasses sway gently in the breeze.
The leaves of the scarlet sage are a lovely green color and toothed around the edges.
botanical-name botanical name Salvia splendens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Scarlet sage is native to Brazil and is commonly grown as a tender perennial, although it will remain evergreen in zones 10-11. For a huge pop of color, it is hard to beat plants in the Salvia genus. They flower so prolifically that there are few competitors for the award of best bloomer in any garden. 

Scarlet sage is a low-growing variety of Salvia, reaching only about 1’-2’ tall. It has attractive green foliage with a toothy appearance. Tall spikes of scarlet flowers appear in late spring and last until the first frost. This is another favorite for hummingbirds and has great disease and pest resistance.

Shampoo Ginger

A vivid close-up showcases the vibrant red shampoo ginger flowers, delicately positioned amid their soft, muted green leaves. The flowers' elongated shape adds elegance to their overall appeal, while a glistening layer of liquid enhances their glossy and mesmerizing appearance.
When you squeeze shampoo ginger flowers, a delightfully scented liquid is released.
botanical-name botanical name Zingiber zerumbet
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-12

Ginger is a tropical garden staple, and this species is a particularly interesting one. Shampoo ginger is called such because the sap exuded from its pinecone-shaped flowers has been used for many years to cleanse and condition the hair. It is native to India but has been naturalized in Hawaii, where it is known as Awapuhi ‘kuahiwi. 

The flower heads, as mentioned, look like large, red pinecones; when squeezed, they release a wonderfully scented liquid.

The leaves are typical for a ginger plant, and it grows well in zones 8-12, although it will die back in a freeze and return in the spring in zone 8. The roots are edible, as all gingers are, but this one has a bitter flavor, so it is not commonly used for culinary purposes.

Tropical Hibiscus

A close-up of a vibrant pink shoeblack plant flower, revealing its petals that gracefully surround the flower's core, adorned with striking yellow stamens and red stigmas. A lush green backdrop of healthy leaves complements the resplendent pink bloom.
Moisture-loving tropical hibiscus can bloom all year long with the right care.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4’-10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is also known as the shoeblack plant. It is native to Vanuatu, although it is widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics and is commonly kept as a container plant elsewhere. Tropical hibiscus is a moisture-loving plant that can bloom year-round when properly cared for. 

Plant this flowering evergreen in full sun and rich, well-draining soil. Hibiscus are heavy feeders, so it is difficult to over-fertilize these plants. Keep this one happy, and you will be handsomely rewarded with some of the largest flowers on any perennial shrub.

Some varieties produce dinnerplate-sized flowers. The flowers are typically shades of red, orange, and yellow, but there are some purple and pink.

Final Thoughts

Tropical plants have something special that makes every day in the garden feel like a vacation. Whether filling a garden or curating a tropical houseplant collection, many of these flowering plants will work together to create that tropical oasis feeling in any environment. 

An arrangement of shrubs showcasing a variety of styles and colors. Among them, green, yellow, and red shrubs create a vivid and captivating visual display. In the background, a rich tapestry of towering trees completes the picturesque setting.


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bright colored roses


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native annuals


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Pink plumeria flowers growing in a tropical garden


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