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25 Cold Hardy Tropical Plants to Create a Tropical Garden in Cold Climate

If you love the feel of the tropics but live in an area with low temperature, then grow these Cold Hardy Tropical Plants from this list!

Here are the best Cold Hardy Tropical Plants you can grow in your garden. The best thing about the plants we’ve listed is that most of them can be grown in containers too!

Create a tropical garden oasis on a balcony with these ideas here


Cold Hardy Tropical Plants

1. Bamboo

tropical landscape design
bamboos in tropical garden

Botanical Name: Bambusa vulgaris

USDA Zones: 7-10

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 10 F or -12 C

Bamboos grow best in warm climates. You can opt for several clumping varieties like Goldstripe, Chinese dwarf, Slender weavers, and Ghost bamboo for colder regions.

Here’s everything you need to know about growing bamboos

2. Colocasia

Botanical Name: Colocasia

USDA Zones: 8a-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 21 F or -6 C

You can grow it in moderately cold climates outdoors on the ground. Pink China is one of the best varieties, and you can also grow it in pots to move it around easily.

Check out our article on growing Colocasia here

3. Hibiscus

Hgtv

Botanical Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

USDA Zones: 8-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 28 F or -2 C

The reason behind the popularity of hibiscus is that they are easy to grow and successfully thrive in the tropics and cooler regions.

For colder regions, try growing Rose of Sheron. You can also grow varieties like Berry Awesome, Cranberry Crush, and Perfect Storm.

Here’s a list of different types of Hibiscus you can grow

4. Bird of Paradise

shutterstock/YasovskikhOlga

Botanical Name: Strelitzia reginae

USDA Zones: 8-12

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 24 F or -4 C

Bird of paradise grows best in subtropical and tropical climates, but if you want a variety that does better in colder regions, then go for Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia Mexicana). For regions with frost, it is best to grow this plant in a pot, this way, you can transfer it indoors in winters.

Check out our article on different types of Bird of Paradise here

5. Palms

tropical landscape design
palms in a tropical garden

Botanical Name: Arecaceae

USDA Zones: 7-10

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 20 F or -7 C

When you think about palms, you always imagine a lush tropical feel! Needle, Dwarf Palmetto, Chusan, Windmill, Kumaon, and Miniature Chusan Palm are the best varieties to grow in colder climates. You can see more suggestions here!

6. Canna

canna in tropical garden Botanical Name: Canna indica

USDA Zones: 7b-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 10 F or -12 C

Cannas can be grown in pots and on the ground easily, and they are probably the easiest tropical plants that you can grow. Peach Gigantum, Skyhawk, and Stuttgart are the best varieties for cold climates.

7. Hardy Banana

banana in tropical garden' Botanical Name: Musa basjoo

USDA Zones: 7-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 10 F or -12 C

Banana trees add a tropical touch to any garden. This cold-hardy banana cultivar called can be grown easily in colder climates without any worries.

Check out our article on growing Banana in pots here

8. Hostas

hosta-shade-garden Botanical Name: Hosta

USDA Zones: 5-9

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -25 F or -30 C

Hostas are great groundcover with the foliage that comes in a variety of shades. Abiqua Drinking Gourd, Dancing Queen, and Lakeside Shore Master are the top cold-hardy varieties. Discover more hosta varieties here!

Here’s everything you need to know about growing hostas 

9. Ferns

tropical landscape design Botanical Name: Tracheophyta

USDA Zones: 6-8

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -25 F or-31 C

Ferns can be a great addition to your garden to give it a tropical look. Some of the most cold-hardy ferns that you can grow are Western maidenhair fern, Lady fern, Christmas fern, Western sword fern, and Common polypody.

Check out our article on growing ferns here

10. African Lily

Agapanthus in garden

Botanical Name: Agapanthus africanus

USDA Zones: 7-10

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 17 F or -8 C

This beautiful and tough herbaceous perennial grows in the subtropics but it can be grown in temperates too. Introduce agapanthus in your garden to add a touch of blue-violet flowers and lush strap-like foliage!

11. Bougainvillea

Botanical Name: Bougainvillea

USDA Zones: 8-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 23 F or – 6 C

Bougainvillea is a very common sight in warm climates. It is a sturdy perennial with lovely paper-like flowers. However, bougainvillea is not as cold-hardy as agapanthus, but you can grow it in containers and move it inside in winters.

12. Yucca

cold hardy tropical plants

Botanical Name: Yucca

USDA Zones: 5-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -25 F or -30 C

Beaked Yucca (Yucca Rostrata) is the best cold hardy yucca that you can grow outside in cold climates. To overwinter it, protection from cold and moisture must be provided in the winters in the cooler zones.

13. Mandevilla

shutterstock/MollyShannon

Botanical Name: Mandevilla

USDA Zones: 5a-9

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 35 F or 1C

Mandevilla is definitely not a cold-hardy plant, but you can overwinter it indoors by growing it in the container. The plant looks beautiful with its pink flowers!

14. Japanese Silver Grass

Botanical Name: Miscanthus sinensis

USDA Zones: 5-9

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -10 F or -23 C

Japanese silver grass grows well in temperate regions. It is a tropical-looking plant that can be a wonderful addition to your garden.

15. Umbrella Plant

Botanical Name: Darmera peltata

USDA Zones: 5-9

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 24 F or -4 C

It prefers cool summer climates USDA Zone 5-9. This plant requires a large space, and it grows well in shaded areas in average garden soil.

16. Pineapple Lily

wikimedia

Botanical Name: Eucomis

USDA Zones: 7-9

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 21 F or -6 C

This specimen will surely help you create a tropical lush look like a corner plant in your garden. It also grows beautiful, star-shaped flowers.

17. Passionflower

Botanical Name: Passiflora incarnata

USDA Zones: 5-10

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -10 F or -23 C

It is a great choice of plant to cover your windows or front doors with. You can easily grow it without worrying much about the cold weather, especially when you’re growing this in pots.

18. Cordyline

Botanical Name: Cordyline

USDA Zones: 8-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 15 F or -9 C

Cordyline is winter hardy and can very well take the colder temperatures without much difficulty, and stays lush most of the year. If you’re zone pusher, you can grow it down to zone 7.

19. Dinosaur Food

Botanical Name: Gunnera manicata

USDA Zones: 6-9b

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 14 F or -10 C

It is not the regular plant of choice for most tropical gardens but can easily survive low temperatures without any protection.

20. Soft Tree Fern

Botanical Name: Dicksonia antarctica

USDA Zones: 8-12

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 21 F or -6 C

Also popular as man fern, it looks more like a palm and adds a lush green tropical look to the yard. The plant can easily tolerate cold winters.

21. Eucalyptus

Botanical Name: Eucalyptus

USDA Zones: 7-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 0 F or -17 C

Usually most of the eucalyptus varieties grow in frost-free regions but there are some hardy cultivars that can grow down to USDA Zone 7.

22. Curve Leaf Yucca

Botanical Name: Yucca gloriosa var. tristis

USDA Zones: 7b-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -20F or -29C

The blue-green foliage of this variety looks quite well in backyard gardens. Its ability to survive extremely cold temperatures makes it one of the top picks on this list.

23. Rice Paper Plant

gardenscene

Botanical Name: Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

USDA Zones: 7b-10b

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 10 F or -12 C

The plant makes quite a bold statement with its large leaves. It performs best in colder climates and is also easy to maintain.

24. Coral Bells

justthegardener

Botanical Name: Heuchera

USDA Zones: 4-9

Minimum Cold Tolerance: -20 F or -28 C

It is one of the best plants to add a dash of color to your garden with a tropical vibe. Plum pudding, Palace purple, and Caramel are some of the best varieties you can grow.

25. Caladium

southernliving

Botanical Name: Caladium

USDA Zones: 9-11

Minimum Cold Tolerance: 28 F or -2 C

The fancy, variegated leaves of caladium offer the perfect blend of colors and a tropical flare. Grow them in pots so you can move them to a warm spot if it gets too cold. Like elephant ears and canna lilies, you can grow these as annuals down to USDA Zone 5!

5 COMMENTS

  1. thanks for your info on hardy tropical plants I live in a zone 6 and have a pretty cool yard. I want to add more plant to it is set up as a tiki bar atmosphere. ant help would be appreciated.

    • Can you please share with me what kind cold hardy tropical plants are doing good in your backyard. because I’m also from zone 6
      Thank you!

    • I would also love to know what types of plants you are growing. I am zone 6b and want to put plants around my pool and yard for a tropical feel.

  2. I’m looking for something with large leaves, anywhere from umbrella plant size to elephant ears, that can take full all day sun. It doesn’t need to be cold tolerant as I’d treat it like an annual. I live on the zone 6/7 line. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  3. Fantastic information on cold hardy plants for the tropical look.
    I live in Tasmania, Aust. and have a garden of exotics….tree ferns, rhododendrons, camellias and the like. I am about to add a tropical feel, hopefully.
    Thankyou so very much for such an extensive list of plants for me to choose from.
    Happy gardening 😊

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