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Trees and Shrubs for a Tropical Garden

Trees and Shrubs for a Tropical Garden

Create an exotic staycation destination in your own backyard.

Create a relaxing and convincing jungle atmosphere by planting densely and diversely to mimic the look of a natural landscape. These plants thrive in rainy conditions, but are well suited to our Mediterranean California climate— be waterwise and use ground cover plants or lay mulch to retain soil moisture.

a bench in a garden

Tall Shrubs 5’ to 10’ + for a tropical look

Large hedges made from lacy foliage will offer privacy, while leaves gently rustle in the breeze. Maximize their textural impact by planting alongside different leaf shapes and sizes. Tall growing tree-ferns like Dicksonia Antarctica and Cyathea cooperi offer a unique palm-like accent ideal to create the illusion of depth in your backyard jungle.

  • Abutilon species (Flowering Maple) *available spring through fall

  • Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' (Bamboo)

  • Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' (Bamboo)

  • Brunfesia pauciflora (Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow) *available spring through fall

  • Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush) *available spring through fall

  • Canna (Canna Lily) *available spring through fall

  • Ceasalpinia pulcherrima (Mexican Bird of Paradise) *available late spring through fall

  • Cestrum nocturnum (Night Blooming Jessamine) *available spring through fall

  • Cordyline (some)

  • Cyathea cooperi (Australian Tree Fern)

  • Dicksonia Antarctica (Tasmanian Tree Fern)

  • Hibiscus species *available spring through fall

  • Plumbago *available spring through fall

  • Plumeria species (Frangipani) *available spring through fall

  • Podocarpus elongatus (Icee Blue® Yellowwood)

  • Podocarpus gracillior (Fern Podocarpus)

a banana tree

Abutilon species (Flowering Maple) *Available spring through fall

a tree in a forest

Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' (Bamboo) *available early Spring through Fall

a tree in front of water

Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' (Bamboo) *available early Spring through Fall

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Brunfelsia pauciflora (Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow) *Available spring through fall

a purple flower in a garden

Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush) *Available spring through fall

a close up of a flower garden

Canna (Canna Lily) *Available spring through fall

a vase of flowers on a plant

Ceasalpinia pulcherrima (Mexican Bird of Paradise) *Available late spring through fall

a close up of a green plant

Cestrum nocturnum (Night Blooming Jessamine) *Available spring through fall

a palm tree

Cordyline

a green plant in a forest

Cyathea cooperi (Australian Tree Fern)

a green plant in a garden

Dicksonia Antarctica (Tasmanian Tree Fern)

a close up of a flower

Hibiscus *available Spring through Fall

a close up of a flower

Plumbago *Available spring through fall

close up of white flower

Plumeria species (Frangipani) *Available spring through fall

a plant in a garden

Podocarpus elongatus (Icee Blue® Yellowwood)

a close up of a green plant

Podocarpus gracilior (Fern Podocarpus)

Vines for a tropical look

A rainforest would not be complete without wandering vines, growing up trees, over fences, or arbors. These evergreen plants will make your garden a tropical destination year-round, and feature flowers for color or fragrance throughout the year.

  • Bignonia species (Crossvine) *available spring through fall
  • Bougainvillea species *available spring through fall
  • Campsis radicans (Trumpet Creeper)
  • Distictus buccinatora 'Rivers' (Royal Trumpet Vine)
  • Ficus pumila (Creeping Fig)
  • Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) *available winter through spring
  • Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine) *available late winter through spring
  • Jasminum sambac (Arabian Jasmine) *available spring through fall
  • Mandevilla species *available spring through fall
  • Pandorea jasminoides (Pink Bower Vine)
  • Stephanotis floribunda (Madagascar jasmine)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)
a close up of a flower

Bignonia species (Crossvine) *Available spring through fall

a close up of a flower garden

Bougainvillea *available Spring through Fall

a close up of a flower garden

Campsis radicans (Trumpet Creeper)

a purple flower on a plant

Distictus buccinatora 'Rivers' (Royal Trumpet Vine)

a group of green plants

Ficus pumila (Creeping Fig)

close up yellow flowers

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) *Available winter through spring

vine with pink/white flowers

Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine) *Available late winter through spring

a close up of white flowers

Jasminum sambac (Arabian Jasmine) *Available spring through fall

a close up of pink flowers

Mandevilla species *Available spring through fall

pink flowers with dark pink centers

Pandorea jasminoides (Pink Bower Vine)

close up of white star-shaped flowers

Stephanotis floribunda (Madagascar jasmine)

a close up of a flower garden

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)

Trees for a tropical look

Begin by choosing trees for upright evergreen structure-- Palms offer dappled shade and soothing movement growing to 40 feet or more, while Citrus trees are typically more compact, featuring fragrance and colorful edible fruit to complete your oasis experience.

  • Archontophoenix cunninghamiana (King palm)

  • Cassia leptophylla (Gold Medallion Tree) *available spring through fall

  • Citrus species (Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines, and more)

  • Syagrus romanzoffiana (Queen palm)

a beach with a palm tree

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana (King palm)

a close up of a tree

Cassia leptophylla (Gold Medallion Tree) *available spring through fall

a group of oranges hanging from a branch

Citrus species (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine, and more)

a group of palm trees next to a tree

Syagrus romanzoffiana (Queen palm)

Medium Shrubs 3 ft.to 5 ft. for a tropical look

Use these medium height shrubs to create an understory planting, using two to three varieties in alternating sequence. Perfume the air with the sweet-smelling blooms of Pittosporum 'Wheeler's Dwarf' and Gardenia. Add striking upright sculptural accents with Strelitzia reginae 'Bird of Paradise', Cordyline, and Phormium.

  • Asclepias species *available spring through fall
  • Cordyline species (some)
  • Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm)
  • Gardenia species
  • Phoenix roebelinii (Pygmy Date Palm)
  • Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax)
  • Pittosporum 'Wheeler's Dwarf' (Dwarf Mock Orange)
  • Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise)
shrub with orange flowers

Asclepias species *Available spring through fall

shrub with dark purple leaves

Cordyline

a palm tree

Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm)

a close up of white flowers

Gardenia species

palm tree

Phoenix roebelini (Pygmy Date Palm)

large yellow-green shrub with spiky leaves

Phormium tenax

green shrub with white flowers

Pittosporum 'Wheeler's Dwarf' (Dwarf Mock Orange)

a close up of shrub with orange and blue flowers

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise)

Low Shrubs 2 ft. to 3 ft. for a tropical look

Create a dense jungle-inspired border filled with touchable plants like Ferns and Acacia. Be sure to leave a little room to accent your forest floor with colorful blooming perennials and annuals throughout the seasons.

  • Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'
  • Asparagus Meyeri (Foxtail Fern)
  • Asplenium bulbiferum (Mother Fern)
  • Asplenium hybrid 'Austral Gem™' (Bird's Nest Fern)
  • Clivia miniata (Kaffir Lily) *available late winter through fall
  • Pittosporum 'Cream De Mint™' (Variegated Dwarf Mock Orange)
  • Rumohra adiantiformis (Leather Leaf Fern)
green shrub

Acacia cognata ‘Cousin Itt’

close up of green shrub

Asparagus Meyeri (Foxtail Fern)

close up of green leaves

Asplenium bulbiferum (Mother Fern)

a green plant

Asplenium hybrid ‘Austral Gem™’ (Bird's Nest Fern)

a close up of orange flowers

Clivia miniata (Kaffir Lily) *Available late winter through fall

a close up of a green shrub

Pittosporum ‘Cream De Mint™‘ (Variegated Dwarf Mock Orange)

close up of green leaves

Rumohra adiantiformis (Leather Leaf Fern)

We can plan & plant your dream garden

Armstrong Home Landscape Design

Let us create a beautiful unique landscape in your home, based on your needs and preferences. A local Armstrong landscape designer will walk your landscape with you discussing your lifestyle while assessing the existing garden conditions. Then, they'll create a custom hand-drawn landscape design diagram & plant list, which we can bring to life with Armstrong certified installers. Receive a $399 design rebate credited to your invoice when you purchase $3,000 of plants and materials from your design.

a plant in a garden

Lifetime Guarantee on All Trees and Shrubs

We are committed to your gardening success and strive to be your preferred nursery. In living our commitment to Gardening without Guesswork we guarantee all of outdoor trees and shrubs for life.