Home -> Garden Landscape Ideas -> Shade Garden Landscape Ideas -> Anybody know of some good Tropical or Tropical-like plants that will grow well in California?

Anybody know of some good Tropical or Tropical-like plants that will grow well in California?

I am landscaping my Mother-in-laws yard and she wants a tropical design. I am not having much luck finding variations that will stay alive through the winter. She is not interested in pulling them up and bringing them inside for the winter. I am settling for some more marshy and deserty looking plants to help supliment. But it's still not Tropically enought. Can't plant trees either, so don't suggest that. Thanks! I live in the central valley...Stanislaus County.


  1. palm trees
  2. Where are you in California? That will help narrow down some ideas/suggestions I have but here are some I can think of off the top of my head: Canna Musa and Musella (hardy banana and ornamental banana-loves the leaves) Hibiscus (many different forms available) New Guinea Impatiens Passiflora (passion vine) Mandevilla laxa Mandevilla 'Alice du Pont' Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) Ferns Ipomoea (Sweet potato vine)-many foliage colors available Coleus - many foliage colors available and now varieties are sun tolerant! Manettia (Firecracker vine) Asarina barclaiana (vining snapdragon) Cobaea scandens (cup and saucer vine) Snapdragons Abutilon (Flowering maple) Tibouchina (Glory bush) Cestrum - a few species available Fuchsia Justicia - many forms available Iochroma - really cool flowers, kind of hard to find though Lantana - many forms available Heliotropium (Heliotrope) - so fragrant! Phormium (New Zealand Flax) - to add texture Yucca (Adam's Needle) Cordyline (Torbay, Cabbage or Cornish Palm) Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) Datura (Devil's Trumpet) Buddleia (butterfly bush) Kalanchoe Malva (Mallow) Mirabilis (four o'clocks) These are just a few I can think of. I'm just north of San Francisco and can grow all of these. There are a few that need frost protection but can go through the winter here. Best of luck to you! EDIT: Looks like you are in Zone 8 and I'm in Zone 8 too. I think all of these will do well for you. Your summer may be slightly warmer than mine but these will do okay if you have them in the right spot (sun plants in sun and shade plants in shade, etc). Happy Gardening.
  3. Here is a list of all the tropicals that are hardy http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/fruits_ornamentals_by_hardiness.htm
  4. Hmm. A hardy form of Hibiscus would be nice, and they come in tons of tropical looking colors!