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Exotic gardening is becoming increasingly popular as the climate warms up. More and more plants are able to survive European winters and a greater range of exotic plants are available in the garden.
Exotic gardens can describe a range of plants from the tropical and sub-tropical through to cacti and succulents. For the purposes of this guide I have separated out tropical gardens and will concentrate here on the plants which thrive in more arid conditions.
If you are searching for inspiration the Exotic Garden of Monaco is a fabulous exotic garden
Plants for an Exotic Garden
Tall Plants for an Exotic Garden
Trachycarpus fortunei - large hardy palm - essential for an exotic garden
Cordyline australis - this cordyline is a tree which can reach a height of 20 metres. A perfect plant to provide height in an exotic garden. This plant grows well in frost free areas of the country but is tender otherwise.
Medium Plants for a Tropical Garden
Phormium sp - long strappy leaves
Yucca sp - long spiky leaves
Agaves - excellent spiky succulents. May need sheltering over winter.
Small Plants for a Tropical Garden
Any cacti or succulents though most of these will need to be brought inside for the winter
Euphorbia rigida - a euphorbia which looks like a succulent
Flowering Plants for a Tropical Garden
Crocosmia sp - tall arching stems with flowers of bright orange, red or yellow
Kniphofia sp (red-hot poker) - strappy leaves and brightly coloured flower spikes
Canna lilies have huge tropical looking leaves and jewel-bright flowers.
Examples of Exotic Gardens in France
The Exotic Garden of Monaco (le Jardin Exotique de Monaco) and the Jardin Exotique de Roscoff are fabulous exotic gardens. The Chateau de Vendeuvre has a part of its gardens devoted to an exotic garden.