10+ Tropical Plants To Grow For A Jungle-Style Border

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Tropical plant designs are all about bold, striking foliage and showy flowers. You can create a jungle-like effect in your garden by planting in multiple layers. To add height and structure, bananas and bamboo are great options. Ferns are perfect for mid-level plants. Hostas make an excellent ground cover for low levels.

Bold Tropical Plants To Grow For Borders


Pachysandras are a wonderful evergreen groundcover. They can be used as a lush green carpet for your woodland borders. They are hardy and easy to cultivate.


Colocasias have large leaves, especially if they’re Colocasia fontanesii and Colocasia esculenta. However, the corms must be lifted and stored somewhere warm during winter. You can also grow them in large containers or pots.

Tree Ferns

Dicksonia antarctica and Dicksonia youngiae tree ferns, as shown here, provide the perfect plants for a jungle look. They add drama to any garden. Keep the crown and not the base of the tree ferns well hydrated in summer. Winter protects the crown with straw, horticultural fleece, or dead fronds.


The foxglove tree (Paulownia mentosa), if left unpruned, will grow quickly into a magnificent tree with beautiful spring flowers that look like foxgloves. It can be planted in a jungle border to produce dramatic, large leaves that will last through the summer, autumn, and fall.


Arisaemas are commonly known as cobra Lilies due to their unusually-shaped flowers. They can thrive in shaded areas of a jungle border. You can add drama to your garden by planting Arisaema concinnum, or Arisaema expendiculatum, which have dark-striped flowers.


Eucomis, also known as pineapple lilies or tuberous perennials, have broad leaves and beautiful spikes of flowers that bloom from mid-to late summer. These plants are ideal for planting under a tree in a jungle garden. They can be grown outside in warmer locations with a thick mulch layer for winter protection. They can also be lifted and stored frost-free.


Ginger lilies look great under a jungle border, and are similar to pineapple lilies. They are known for their exotic foliage and fragrant spikes of orange or yellow flowers. These cannas are great for growing and have many varieties..

Musa Lasiocarpa

This dwarf banana variety is also known as the Chinese yellow, or golden lotus banana. It has beautiful silvery green leaves and will quickly grow to produce a stunning golden flower that can last for many months. The plant can withstand light frosts, but its roots will need a winter mulch to protect them. Also, the stem will require wrapping in horticultural fleece (or another suitable material) to keep it warm. It can also be found with the names Ensete and Musella lasiocarpum.


Add two things to a jungle-border: striking, sword-like foliage and bright splashes from yellow, orange, or red flowers. These perennials are also great for a hot border.


Suitable for your jungle scheme’s ‘lower shelf’. For winter interest, some ferns are also evergreen. You don’t have the space for a border in the jungle style. Instead, use an exotic-looking container.

Schefflera brevipedunculata

The hardy schefflera produces beautiful panicles of exotic-looking foliage. It is an evergreen plant that will eventually become a small tree or shrub.

Setaria Palmifolia

Setaria palmifolia is commonly known as palm grass. It is not hardy but makes an excellent container plant. If it’s grown this way, it can be moved to a frost-free area over winter. It will thrive in moist soil and a warm place.

Tetrapanax Papyrifer

A well-known plant for exotic gardens and jungles. It has large leaves similar to fatsias but much larger. The leaves can withstand temperatures as low as -10°C but will brown if they are exposed to higher temperatures. It is easy to grow and it grows quickly.

Fatsia Japonica

An evergreen shrub with dramatic leaves, is a great choice for jungle borders and can also be in shady areas. Fatsia polycarpa is another option.

Ricinus Communis

Castor oil plant Ricinus comunis is an annual that is prized for its glossy, reddish-purple leaves. You can either start seeds early in the year or buy ready-to-go plants. The seeds and all parts of the plant can be toxic. Take care to keep them away from children.

Common Tropical Plants


Begonias such as “Madame Richard Galle ” are long-lasting, brightly colored flowers with interesting leaves. This complements the jungle look. The tubers can be lifted in autumn and stored somewhere warm during winter. Dahlias, tithonus and other plants are also good options.


The garden will be more tranquil and exotic if you grow jasmine or other scented plants. The scent will last longer if it was growing in a safe area. You might also consider Pittosporum Tobira, Choisya Aztec Pearl’, and Gardenia Kleim’s Hardy.


Bamboos can add height and greenery to jungle borders. There are many varieties available, including Phyllostachys Aureosulcata Lama Temple’. To show the stems, remove the lower leaves. If you are concerned about their spreading, choose more well-behaved fargesias or plant them in large containers.


Has striking foliage that make a great addition to a jungle-style design. There are many varieties, some variegated. Most people prefer shade, and you should also protect them from slugs.

Persicaria Microcephala

This persicaria is a hardy perennial and that can help edging exotic borders. The cultivar ‘Red Dragon’ offers lots of color. Its purple-red leaves contrast beautifully with the white summer flowers. Coreopsis and erigeron are also good choices for edging plants.

Creating a Microclimate

Tropical plants will enjoy a microclimate in a protected area. You can provide shelter from the wind by building, fencing, hedges and trees. Protect the plants from frost by preparing for winter.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.