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10 Tropical plants that grow outside the tropics

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Bring a touch of the tropics to your home

If you love tropical plants but don't live near the tropics, we've got 10 tropicals that can grow outside the warm, balmy locale. The following plants can thrive indoors or outdoors, given the right conditions.

Tropical plants crave warmer climates and don't do well in areas where the winter season dips into frigid temperatures. You can always grow tropical plants indoors in a warm sunny place, making sure that you keep the soil well-drained to avoid root rot. But some tropical plants can survive outdoors if you are able to recreate tropical-like conditions.

1

Mocha latte Hawaiian ti plant

As if the name isn't enough to draw you in, this exotic tropical plant boasts wide, lush leaves that are striped in green, cream and mocha colors. Easy to grow, the ti plant (a member of the Cordyline genus) will do well in indoor containers in a bright space with indirect lighting. You can also plant the tropical plant outdoors in a partially sunny area.

2

Bird of paradise

The Strelitzia reginae species of bird of paradise plants can be grown in any area that is sunny and warm. It is a popular indoor tropical plant that will flower several times a year once established (which will take over two years) and in the right soil. Plant in a full-sun to partially shady area and keep it sheltered from the cold and frost.

3

Peace lily

A member of the Spathiphyllum genus (it is not a true lily), the peace lily is a flowering plant that is easy to grow indoors in a sunny room. As a bonus, this tropical also filters out harmful indoor air pollutants.

4

Rose of Sharon

The rose of Sharon is a type of hibiscus plant that can be grown outdoors in areas with a warm climate or indoors in an area where this tropical beauty can get eight to 12 hours of light each day. The flowers are short lived, but the plant's shoots stay green for a long time and can be added to bouquets.

5

Oyster plant

Native to the Mediterranean, the oyster plant, also called bear's breeches, is part of the Acanthas genus. It grows easily outdoors in bushy, drier, warm areas and is tolerant of shade and drought.

6

Peacock plant

The peacock plant is a member of the Calathea genus, which thrives in warmer, humid temperatures but not in full sun exposure. You can plant this lush tropical in pots to keep indoors — situated in indirect sunlight — until outdoor temps in your area are over 60 degrees F.

7

Torch ginger

Ginger isn't just for spicing up your food and drink — the ornamental variety of ginger is a stunning way to add color to your home. Torch ginger, a member of the Etlingera genus, boasts gorgeous red-pink colors and will thrive in temperatures over 65 degrees F in partial shade.

8

Needle palm

One of the most cold-hardy palms in the world, the needle palm is the sole member of the Rhapidophyllum genus. This tropical plant is prized for its ability to endure frigid temperatures and can be grown outdoors.

9

King sago

Also known as the sago palm, this hardy tropical is another plant that can withstand colder temperatures. The king sago is a member of the Cycas genus and can be grown outdoors or in pots for indoor foliage.

10

Maypop

The maypop, a member of the Passiflora or passionflower genus, is a hardy climbing vine with striking lavender-to-purple flowers. This tropical plant can recover after being subjected to below-zero temperatures and prefers full sun to partial shade and a moist to slightly dry soil.

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