A tropical retreat garden.

How to Create a Tropical Retreat in Your Garden

You don’t need to live in the tropics to create a lush, leafy, junglelike corner in which to hide away from the stresses of the world. Choose sculptural plants with dramatic leaves in shades of green.

When to plant: Spring.

At their best: Summer.

Time to complete: 4 hours.

You will need: Spade, well-rotted organic matter, mulch

Selection of plants to use: Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica, Phormium cookianum subsp. hookeri ‘Tricolor’, Polystichum setiferum, Arum lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica, Musa basjoo.

Choose the site

All these plants prefer a sunny site, but will tolerate light shade. They also need to be sheltered from strong winds, which could damage their foliage.

Prepare to plant

Clear the border of weeds and dig in organic matter over the site. Arrange the plants in a tiered jungle effect, then plant and water well. Mulch with bark to give the feel of a forest floor.


All of these plants are quite hardy, except Musa basjoo. In winter, surround it with chicken wire attached to stakes, and fill with hay. In mild areas, wrap it with garden fleece.