Why tropical gardens work well in small spaces.

Trying to grow a dream garden within the limitations of a tiny space has been a shared struggle for many gardener’s. The unforgiving space soon becomes cluttered with a jumble of plants and pots and you never quite achieve the final look to which you had originally aspired.

Tropical gardening may be the answer if you are looking for small garden ideas. By carefully selecting exotic plants for your own small tropical garden you can have an outdoor space with height, fragrance and colour that is alive with wildlife.

Adding height:

Tropical plants can grow enormous in one season, adding height, lush foliage and colour quickly. Tropical plants like Ricinus communis can be grown easily from seed and reach over 6ft by midsummer. Alternatively, try growing exotic evergreen trees such as Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat tree) for year round structure. Loquat trees have fantastic corrugated leaves the add a jungly look to any outdoor space.

Eriobotrya japonica leaf.
The corrugation of Eriobotrya japonica leaves in the Tiny Tropical garden.

Adding colour:

Plant colours don’t come much bolder than in those used for tropical styled gardens. Try planting Alstromeria in a sunny spot for exotic blooms all summer long. ‘Indian Summer‘ is the cultivar I grow in the tiny tropical garden. If you need colour in a shadey spot why not add a few Coleus plants. The array of leaf colours and markings is astounding and they can be propagated from seed and cuttings very easily.

Alstromeria 'Indian Summer' in the tiny tropical garden.
Alstromeria ‘Indian Summer’ planted with a red Coleus in the tiny tropical garden.

Adding fragrance:

One aspect of a garden that is too often forgotten is fragrance. When it comes to exotic plants you have a selection of some of the headiest scents available. Try Brugmansia for a mass of enormous trumpet flowers that release a very rich scent. If you enjoy your garden in the evening why not enrich the experiece by planting night scented plants like Nicotiana sylvestris. Nicotiana will fill your garden with a sweet scent as the sun is going down.

Nicotiana sylvestris in the tiny tropical garden.
Nicotiana sylvestris in the tiny tropical garden.

Encouraging wildlife:

Every garden should be doing its part towards supporting the local wildlife. It might come as a surprise to know that exotic plants can help pollinators just as much as native ones. Try growing Echium for one of the biggest flower spikes going. When in full bloom the flowers of Echiums are alive with the buzz off busy bees.