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Activity Feed Forums Growing a tropical & exotic style garden Q&A Brand new tropical gardener.

  • Brand new tropical gardener.

    Posted by Christopher on September 26, 2023 at 11:01 am

    I’m on about 6 acres in rural Ireland, and am planning on planting out around 3 acres to make a tropical garden.

    I’ve got a few sculpture plants in already bamboo’s, eucalyptus etc

    I’m attaching a video for some context and please any feedback on plants you’d put in or tips and tricks I’m all ears!

    I’m currently having problems sourcing plants and unsure what I should be growing from seed vs not…

    I also have a collection of plants I’ve aquired over the summer ( gunnera, eucalyptus etc) that I’m not sure if I should put in the ground now or overwinter in the polytunnel??

    Please help 🙂

    NinjaTeaDrinker replied 6 months, 2 weeks ago 7 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Christopher

    September 26, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Posting a quick video so as it’s easier to convey the scale of what I have to plant…

    I’m a bit overwhelemed if I’m honest everyone talks about LOTS of packed folliage and I’m not sure how to acheive that at this kind of scale…

  • Reggie

    September 26, 2023 at 11:18 pm

    You have a lot of land! I’d suggest getting things in the ground whilst it’s still warm so the roots can get down. Some paulownia would be good to get some height and then pollard it each year. Also catalpa bignonoides Aurea. Gunnera around your ponds seems a great idea. Stuff that can be easily divided makes sense in general like big grasses. Buy canna from garden centres/Homebase type shops once they look tatty and are discounted. This spring bought canna Musifolia online and from bare roots in April they’re now 3m tall and pupping ready to be divided.

  • Christopher

    September 27, 2023 at 12:06 am

    The grasses are a great idea!! I’ve been eyeing up:




    Do you have any experience growing them?

  • Christopher

    September 27, 2023 at 12:18 am

    Which paulownia?

    • Craig

      September 27, 2023 at 9:15 am

      Paulownia tomentosa is one of the hardiest and its easy to grow from seed. 👍

  • Craig

    September 28, 2023 at 8:23 am

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen this video already Christopher but it might help get you started 👍

    How to create a TROPICAL garden | 10 EASY TIPS

  • Jason

    September 28, 2023 at 8:45 am

    If it were designing this, I would start small for now, as someone said get the obvious plants in the ground. Such as the gunnera around the pond.

    Then start with the areas you think you’de want to use as seating, point of interest or focal points. Then figure out the routes to those areas (twisting paths) and start planting from there outward.

    You certainly don’t have to spend a huge amount on tropical plants up front. Plants such as Tithonia, helianthus, Ricinus and seed grown Dahlia coccinea can take up large amounts of space for relatively small cost. Great potted choices would be some of the large ornamental rheum, larger Euphorbia such as mellifera and perhaps Rhus typhinia and grasses such as Arundo and Miscanthus. They’ll all give you large size for relatively small price to get things rolling.

    Then you can move onto the more ‘tropical’ once you

    With such a large plot, it’s going to be a bit of trail and error. But by breaking the garden into ‘rooms’ (arid/jungle) you can at least start to develop the areas and grow them as you gain plants.

    Plus you may need to plant some kind of in-garden hedging/barriers to break things up and to also reduce exposure. With such a large garden the wind would be your worse enemy. That’ll also give you scope to pack in plants and create that full look. Otherwise you’ll end up planting a true jungle and cost would spiral unnecessarily.


  • SteveB

    September 28, 2023 at 9:27 am

    Hi there, a friend of mine lives out in the country and has a huge garden planted with tropical.

    What I liked was that he was able to plant out large and I mean large beds of Musa Basjoo and canna Musafolia he mulches with straw and manure for the winter.

    Tetrapanax was another plant he has in abundance, and of course Tree Ferns.

    Fatsia types could be another filler.

    When those are established you could then position some real feature plants.

    I’m in Cornwall this week and have seen huge Gunnera and Bamboo growing along a stream at Penberth see attached pic

    Knifophia Northiae another option for big filler and evergreen interest.

    Good luck👍

  • greatnorthernexotic

    September 28, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    First thing I would do is to divide your large space into smaller rooms. This will make managing planting and themes much easier in the years to come, but will also dramatically improve the microclimates you’re planting in to. The exotic garden at Great Dixter is surrounded by a big thick yew hedge and is a great example of this. Take a look also at East Ruston Old Vicarage. Their plot was originally very exposed and they created warmer microclimates by planting a shelter belter around the whole area.

  • Christopher

    September 28, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    Yeah I’ve done the dividing thing now by putting the paths in this year which has left me with more manageable area!! Thank you all for your feedback a lot of it I’ve been doing naturally now. I’m completely open though to any further suggestions:)

  • NinjaTeaDrinker

    September 28, 2023 at 9:13 pm stumbled across this chap last night on YouTube. He’s covered a huge area of land with tropical looking plants and tells you how he achieved it. He’s also off-grid on the land too! (with internet lol)

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