A garden with exotic plants in it.

How to Get an Exotic Effect in Your Garden

Show-stopping plants with “wow” factor, tender Abyssinian bananas are ideal for terraces and patios, where they give welcome shade, and form a structural backdrop to other exotics. They must be kept in a warm area during winter, so bear this in mind before you buy.

When to start: Late spring.

At their best: Early summer to early autumn.

Time to complete: 1 hour.

You will need: Large pot, broken clay pot pieces, multi-purpose potting mix.

Selection of plants to use: Abyssinian banana – Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii’, Clerodendrum thomsoniae, Medinilla magnifica.

Plant your bananas

Widely available, Ensete are large perennials that grow very quickly in summer. They like a sunny spot, sheltered from strong winds that could tear their leaves. Line the base of a pot with broken clay pot pieces, and plant the Ensete in multi-purpose potting mix.

Feeding and care

To encourage the strongest, most luscious growth, water the plants regularly and feed every week using a liquid fertilizer. You can add to the display by under planting your Ensete with ferns, trailing bedding plants, or other exotics with attractive foliage.

Overwintering bananas

To make sure your Ensete survives the winter, bring the pots indoors before the first frosts. A plant mover (right) will make the task easier. Remove older leaves and keep the plant in a room, or heated greenhouse, at a minimum temperature of 45°F (7°C). Don’t water in the colder months but start again in spring.