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How can I create an exotic-style garden?

The 'typical' British Garden has year-round interest with many hardy plants from a bygone Victorian era of plant hunters and renowned nurseries, such as Veitch, supplying hardy plants, including Rhododendron, Camellia, and Magnolia.

An Exotic style Garden doesn't have year-round interest but instead combines both the hardy specimen interest with tender exotics and careful selection can extend exotic garden growth until November in most UK gardens.

Exotic garden schemes make the most use of large leaf plants such as Tetrapanax papyrifer, Fatsia Japonica and Paulownia tomentosa. Exotic flowers can lift garden colour especially if large or plentiful like Brugmansia, Iochroma and Fuchsia.

Most tender subtropical plants can be grown outside after the last frost (April to May). Half-hardy specimens, for example some palms, banana (Musa basjoo) with its huge leaves and canna musifolia (one of the tallest canna) can be left outside with good mulch and little fleece.

Use architectural plants such as Phormium tenax, Luma apiculata, Gunnera, bamboo and hardy Schefflera as permanent structural planting and valuable for winter interest whist older victorian selections such as Rhododendron, Camelia and Magnolia supply early spectacular spring flowers.

In Spring select showy plants such as Agapanthus, Callistemon, honeysuckle and Passiflora caerulea for an exotic feel without the need for winter care.

In late Spring tender exotics can be planted outside either in the ground or in pots. Plants can include Brugmansia, Iochroma, Trozelia, Colocasia, Fuchsia sp., Echium, Ensete, Musshia, Roldana and solanum. For all available plants please refer to the website:

Over-winter your exotics in a frost-free environment, such as a cool greenhouse, conservatory or even a loft (!) with a night time minimum of 4°C (39°F). This is ideal for plants tolerant of low temperatures, but will not survive being frozen, such as tender plants including Brugmansia, Iochroma, Justicia, tender Fuchsia, young Echium, Roldana, Musshia, Solanum and Colocasia.

For all available plants to support your exotic looking garden please refer to main website:

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