Creating a Tropical Paradise with Plants

Now that the hottest months of the year are just around the corner, some of our favorite plants are coming into their season! Creating a tropical look in your home and garden is achievable, even in climates that aren’t tropical year-round. Strategically planning your plants and accessories to fit your look every season keeps your home looking fresh and interesting. We all deserve a little in-home tropical vacation!


The Perfect Plants 

Picking your plants is the first step to creating a tropical paradise. Fortunately, the Hampton Roads area, where McDonald Garden Center is located, is able to host a bounty of different plants to suit your tropical needs, whether it is outdoors or indoors. When searching for plants that appeal to the tropical vibe you are after, look for aspects such as large leaves, full greenery, and bright color. 

Here are some great outdoor choices: 


Perennials - 

  • Canna Lilies - These gorgeous perennials have full, banana-like leaves that come in many shades of green and even burgundy. Their blooms come in a rainbow of colors, some of the most popular are yellow, orange, pink, and red. They are hardy in USDA zones 7b-10 and love full sun.


  • Perennial Hibiscus - Have the hibiscus you know and love all year! These sun-loving hibiscuses are hardy from zones 4-9 making them extremely versatile tropical plants. During the warm months, you can have large blooms in many colors. In the colder months, their blooms hibernate. 


  • Daylilies - This type of lily winters over without blooming, but the bloom that comes in the warmer months is worth the wait! Not only do they look amazing, but pollinators love to visit their large, brilliantly colorful flowers. This lily is hardy in zones 4-8.


Annuals - 

  • Mandevilla - If you are looking for something that climbs, mandevilla is a great tropical vining plant! These annuals have amazingly glossy, green foliage paired with blooms that come in the popular colors of white, pink, and red. Perfect for a trellis, mailbox, or a summer pergola!  


  • Elephant Ears (Colocasia) - These plants are a show-stopping annual for this area. As a bulb plant, elephant ears can come back every year, like tulips, if cared for correctly. These enormous-leaved plants can create a rainforest look in your yard or in a pot on your porch or patio, as a perfect centerpiece for any tropical container.


  • Caladiums - Similar to elephant ears, these foliage plants are characteristically detailed. With a variety of different types to choose from, caladiums can add an interesting and intense pop of color to your shady outdoor beds or your covered porch. Some can even survive as houseplants if they have enough light! 


Houseplants -

Most houseplants are actually tropical plants! Most enjoy the temperatures that we like to live in as humans, although some like it a bit hotter or humid, which can be amended with sunrooms, grow lights, and humidifiers. For more information on great care for tropical houseplants, check out one of Mike, the Garden Guru’s videos here


Some of our favorite indoor choices :

  • Bromeliads
  • Orchids
  • Palms 
  • Cordylines 
  • Ficuses
  • Philodendrons
  • Ferns
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Calatheas
  • Crotons
  • Banana trees
  • And so much more! 


If you have any questions about what tropical houseplants would work best in your space, stop by and ask one of our Green Team houseplant experts for their advice. 


Finishing Off Tropical Choices

After finding the plants that you love, adding some finishing touches to your tropical paradise can make a huge difference in the vibe of your space or garden. Whether it's a colorful pot that mimics your new canna lily, or a garden accent with a tropical theme, the choices are virtually endless for a gorgeous tropical paradise. Finding pieces that speak to the look you are trying to achieve just takes a visit at one of our year-round locations!