Exotic planting design

By combining plants with spiky, glossy or coarse textured foliage you can create dramatic planting schemes with an exotic, jungly feel.

Exotic style plants

Exotic style plants

We have created a striking planting plan for an area 1.5m deep x 2.5m long using bold structural plants to give year round interest. This low maintenance tonal colour scheme can be enhanced by the addition of colourful accent plants such as Dahlia, Canna and Crocosmia to give strong tropical impact.

Exotic style plants

Exotic style plants

Above: Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, Canna ‘Durban’, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Exotic style planting plan

Exotic style planting plan

Trachycarpus fortunei
A dramatic palm with coarse textured, fan shaped leaves. Originating from China the Chusan palm is hardy in most areas of the UK, excluding the cold more exposed far North. It’s slender trunk is covered in dark brown fibers and the cut stems of previous leaf stalks.

Euphorbia mellifera
A large impressive dome shaped Euphorbia with upright stems and whorls of bright green elongated leaves, each with a distinctive white stripe through the centre. In spring small bronze, wonderfully honey scented flowers are produced.

Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’
This neat small shrub has rounded glossy mid green leaves and creamy-white scented flowers in late spring and early summer. Slightly tender but reliable in warmer parts of the country. Useful structure in urban environments.

Bergenia ‘Eroica’
An easy to maintain, tolerant ground cover or edging plant. Large rounded, glossy dark green leaves turn brilliant rich burgundy in winter. In spring magenta flowers are sent up on erect red flushed stems.

Astelia chathamica
A bold architectural, clump forming perennial with arched silver, sword shaped leaves. Best grown in a partially shaded position with in reliably moist soil. May need some protection in more exposed areas as it is not fully hardy.

To see this style at it’s best visit the Exotic garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex where the late Christopher Lloyd, along with head gardener Fergus Garret, created a garden for tropical effect focusing on plants that flower from late summer into Autumn.