The Best Cold Hardy Tropical Plants

cold hardy tropical plants

Everybody loves the tropics. And most gardeners wouldn't mind having gardens with a tropical feel. A few tropical plants are an amazing statement to add to any garden. They offer exotic designs, wonderful texture, and amazing colors.

With a tropical garden, you can pretend to be on vacation on a beach in Fiji, or wandering through the rain forest in Hawaii, or anywhere these beautiful flora thrive.

The only problem is, tropical plants are just that– tropical. And if you're reading this, chances are that you are very far from the tropics.

However, we discovered these hardy tropical plants you can grow, irrespective of where you live. Some of them can thrive even in the coldest climates.

1. The Japanese Fiber Banana

cold hardy tropical plants japanese fiber banana

Nothing screams tropical than the good old banana tree. Fortunately, there are many types of this tropical plant that will make it through even freezing temperatures.

The Japanese fiber banana is also known as the Musa Basjoo is one of these cold-hardy tropical plants.

Although the cold hardy tropical plant does not have the beautiful colors of the more tropical ornamental bananas, it can survive the coldest temperatures. The plant is hardy to USDA Zone 6, and when well mulched it can even survive temperatures of -20 degrees F.

The Japanese Fiber Banana grows up to 10 feet tall in one season. And its light green leaves are great for projecting a tropical look in your garden.

2. Palms

The Windmill Palm is a popular cold hardy palm preferred by many gardeners in the U.S. This cold hardy plant is hardy down to zone 7. Gardeners can be even more winter hardy precautions. This palm is grown in Ohio, Virginia, and New York.

By wrapping the plant with burlap, planting it in a wind-protected area, and mulching deeply, the Windmill Palm can grow up to 10-20 feet tall. The best part of owning a Windmill Palm is that it can be grown in a large container for aesthetic reasons.

Another, cold hardy palm known as the Pindo palm is one of the toughest cold hardy plants around. The Jelly palm can survive temperatures down to 10 degrees F.

Gardeners prefer this plant for its nice and compact shape, especially in cooler climates. The tree can grow 10-20 feet tall under the right conditions. You also get some tasty palm fruits in the summer.

3. Clumping Bamboo

clumping bamboo plant

If you're thinking of adding some bamboo into your cold hardy tropical paradise, good choice. Bamboo is the world's tallest member of the grass family. These cold hardy tropical plants are a great addition to any tropical garden.

Gardeners like this plant for its fast-growing properties. Some mature bamboo plants can even gain 12 inches in 24 hours.

The bamboo is also an aggressive grower, and most species can be invasive. However, the clumping varieties are low maintenance plants that are a delight to see in any garden.

The clumping bamboo can grow in Zones 5-9. The clumping bamboo will not spread like other bamboo in the family, and they make an excellent choice for a privacy hedge between yards. Most landscape designers also use these cold hardy plants as a focal point in most landscapes.

4. The Fig Tree

cold hardy fig trees

If you are looking for a cold hardy plant that gives fruits as a bonus, the fig tree also known as the Ficus Carica is the best choice. These cold hardy tropical are adaptable to different climates, soils, and their fruits are the best when picked right off the tree.

In the Mediterranean, this plant has been cultivated since ancient times for its fruits and as an ornamental plant.

Most fig trees are only hardy to USDA Zone 7, however, a few varieties like the Chicago Hardy and the Violette de Bordeaux can handle cold temperatures down to Zone five.

5. Hardy Sugar Cane

hardy sugar cane plants

The hardy sugar cane provides a handsome grey-green foliage which gives a wonderful tropical feel and vertical accent to any garden.

This cold hardy plant gets even better during fall when flower panicles are formed in large numbers and can grow up to 15 feet in height.

The plumes start as soft pink, and sometimes silver, and look great through the winter. The hardy sugar cane does well down to USDA Zone 6, meaning it is perfect for most gardens across the U.S.

6. Angel's Trumpets

cold hardy angel's trumpets

These big trumpet-shaped flowers and large leaves bring a dramatic statement to any garden. This cold hardy tropical plant can grow up to 10 feet in one summer. The plant does well when grown in containers or even in a mixed border.

And the best part is that unlike most cold hardy tropical plants, the angel's trumpet comes in varieties of white, yellow, pink, peach, and purple flowering options.

This cold hardy tropical plant does well in moist, well-drained soil in full or partial sun. For the best results, place it in light shade.

During the growing season, the angel's trumpet should be fed every two weeks with a well-balanced fertilizer.

The plant is hardy to USDA Zone 7.

Before You Go – Final Note on Cold Hardy Tropical Plants

If you have the energy to plant each spring, most tropical flora flourishes during summer. However, with the right cold hardy tropical plants, your garden will look great all year.

For more insight on cold hardy tropical gardening, you can read this book for more plants and tips on growing cold hardy tropical plants.

Gardening in cold regions can be challenging, but with these plants, you can build a gorgeous green tropical haven. For more information, check out our other tropical landscaping ideas.

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