27 Exotic Flowers to Plant for a Garden that Feels Like a Tropical Paradise

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Exotic flowers can work magic in a landscape, by showcasing plants found in other parts of the world, you can show an appreciation for other cultures, biodiversity, and your mastery of the horticultural arts. From their bright colors, unique foliage, and fantastical natures, exotic flowers have a lot to offer.

27 Extravagantly Exotic Flowers to Plant for a Landscape that will Help You Find Inner Peace

Exotic Flowers

Most of the plants in this list of exotic flowers are native to the tropical areas of the world. If you live in a cool climate, that does not mean you are not able to grow them. Many can be treated as warm-weather annuals and enjoyed just as much in temperate climates as in their tropical homes.

1. Peacock Flower (Dietes Bicolor)

Peacock Flower

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Protection, physical strength, charm
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soils with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May to September

From its name, you might expect the peacock flower to be high-maintenance. However, it actually requires little upkeep and produces iris-like flowers to enjoy throughout the growing season. Images of these exotic flowers from South Africa show dramatic spots against snowy white petals that will add some contrast to your landscape.

2. Crimson Flag (Schizostylis Coccinea)

Crimson Flag

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Majesty, fun in the evening, blissful paradise
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Sandy loam-type soils, tolerates poor drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 9
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: August to October

If your landscape is yearning for bright pops of color in late fall, the crimson flag might be the perfect exotic flower to plant. Each stem can produce 14 cup-shaped flowers that catch the eye with their dazzling scarlet hue. Hailing from Zimbabwe’s marshes and riverbanks, these vivid flowers are well suited to soils that retain moisture.

3. Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile (Nymphaea Caerulea)

Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Long life, rejuvenation, sensual pleasure
  • 💧 Water needs: Wet
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Aquatic
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 12
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: July to September

In garden design, water features are easy to overlook. With these water lilies, you can channel all the exotic splendor of ancient Egypt. Brilliant blue petals are a great way to offer a cool counterbalance to warm colors found elsewhere in your garden. If situated next to a seating area, you can soak in their sweet fragrance.

4. Cape Sundew (Drosera Capensis)

Cape Sundew

Photo by Pixabay from pexels.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Serenity, soothing away pain, clear vision
  • 💧 Water needs: Wet
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Moist soil with good drainage, Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 9
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May to September

When the small nectar drops characteristic to sundew plants glisten in the sunlight, they look like tiny gemstones. As one of the most unique types of exotic flowers, cape sundew is a carnivorous plant that uses its nectar to trap insects. Because cape sundew can be demanding, it makes an excellent challenge for experienced gardeners.

5. Dewflower (Drosanthemum Micans)

Dewflower

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Singing, glamorous appearance, spiritual growth
  • 💧 Water needs: Dry to medium, tolerates brief drought
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Light soils with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 8 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: Blooms seasonally

Beyond its vivacious red-tipped yellow flower, the dewflower features flashy succulent foliage. If water conservation is a concern, this succulent flower offers a great balance between low water use and bright color. Pictures of these exotic flowers are not able to capture the magical glittering effect achieved when the foliage catches the sunlight.

6. Angel’s Fishing Rods (Dierama Pendulum)

Angel’s Fishing Rods

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Relaxation, weddings, appreciation of friends
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 9
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: June to August

As you can see in images of these exotic flowers, the drooping stems mimic the fishing rods they are named after. On each pendulous purple strand, bell-shaped flowers resemble a celestial catch. To use these heavenly flowers to their fullest potential in your landscape design, plant them next to a water feature.

7. Hibiscus Lanterne (Hibiscus Schizopetalus)

Hibiscus Lanterne

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Glory, Exquisite beauty, Momentary triumph
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: Blooms seasonally

If you are looking for show-stopping exotic flowers to plant, the hibiscus lanterne is the perfect way to add some drama to your landscape. Intricate pink-hued petals balance energy and romance to create the ideal floral focal point. A drooping staminal column adds some tropical flair and elegance to the overall effect.

8. Hardy Yellow Iceplant (Delosperma Nubigenum)

Hardy Yellow Iceplant

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Good luck, aloofness, clairvoyance
  • 💧 Water needs: Dry to medium, tolerates drought
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Sandy soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 6 to 8
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May to September

Known for its intense golden flowers that last all season, the hardy yellow iceplant is a great addition to any space. In the fall, attractive succulent foliage takes on a unique reddish hue. Because this is a mat-forming succulent, it can be used to amazing effect as a groundcover to beautify your garden’s bare spots.

9. Queensland Lily (Crinum)

Queensland Lily

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Protection from sickness, relief from pain, long memory
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 8 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: July to August

Queensland lilies sport impressive striped blossoms that can impress even in pictures of these exotic flowers. If worked with once established, these flowers will remember and might not bloom for a few years. If you live in a warmer climate, you might be able to enjoy an abundant colony of these exotic large-flowered lilies.

10. Cat’s Tail (Bulbine frutescens)

Cat’s Tail

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Healing pain, youthful rambunctiousness, dexterity
  • 💧 Water needs: Dry to medium, tolerates drought
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soil with good drainage, tolerates poor soils
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: April to June

To soak in constant orange flowers in late spring and early summer, deadhead this succulent groundcover. Besides deadheading, there is very little maintenance to these types of exotic flowers. Because of its ability to thrive in low-water environments, this African flower is ideal for low-water environments and gardens where water conservation is a priority.

11. Cape Fuchsia (Phygelius ‘Blacher’ Cherry Ripe)

Cape Fuchsia

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Safety through life’s storms, friendliness, abundance
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May to September

With intense cherry-red flowers that last from spring until fall, cape fuchsia makes a great addition to many landscapes. Because of its short height and unique flowers, cape fuchsia is best planted in borders. If you live in a cooler climate, treat these exotic flowers as annuals.

12. Everlasting Flower (Helichrysum Bellum)

Everlasting Flower

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: A sunny disposition, physical beauty, wealth
  • 💧 Water needs: Dry to medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Gritty soil with good drainage, tolerates poor soil
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: June to August

Papery petals make the everlasting flower an excellent choice for gardeners who enjoy creating dried flower arrangements. Because these flowers are accustomed to living at high elevations in Lesotho, they are well suited for high-altitude gardens. Able to thrive in gravelly conditions, the everlasting flower can bring exotic beauty to challenging parts of your landscape.

13. Umzwatsi (Mackaya Bella)

Umzwatsi

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Fiery temper, beautiful appearance, gratitude
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May to September

To develop dimension and create visual interest, delicate purple veins contrast with lilac-to-white petals. Umzwatsi is a bushy evergreen shrub that looks great when used as a border or an informal hedge. From its floppy flowers to its wavy-edged foliage, umzwatsi can help your garden feel like an exotic paradise.

14. Philippine Waxflower (Etlingera Elatior)

Philippine Waxflower

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Fiery nature, good listeners, vulnerability
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage, Prefers consistently moist soil
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 12
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: All year

If you live somewhere warm enough for these types of exotic flowers, you can enjoy their breathtaking blooms. Unfortunately, this radiant plant will not bloom in colder climates. Full of flashy red and vibrant yellow Philippine waxflower is a great opportunity to show off gardening prowess.

15. Marvel of Peru (Mirabilis Jalapa)

Marvel of Peru

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Love’s first flames, shyness, perfect love
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium, tolerates boggy conditions
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soil with good drainage, tolerates a wide range of soil types
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: June until frost

Featuring colorful blooms and heart-shaped foliage, images of these exotic flowers show how much beauty they can bring to a space. One plant can produce multicolored flowers in an attractive dappled pattern. With its ability to adapt to many environments, the marvel of Peru can illuminate a rain garden with vibrant tropical colors.

16. Star of Persia (Allium Cristophii)

Star of Persia

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Long life, spicy personality, artistic creativity
  • 💧 Water needs: Dry to medium, tolerates drought
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Sandy soil with excellent drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 4 to 8
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May

Native to the ancient Persian Empire, the star of Persia showcases a spherical cluster of star-shaped flowers. Made up of 100 individual flowers, each 12-inch orb seems to float above the landscape on a bare stem. Pair these memorable flowers with fluffy, cloud-like wildflowers for a magical effect.

17. Falling Stars (Crocosmia ‘Emberglow’)

Falling Stars

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Solid resolve, sweet fragrance, laughter
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 5 to 9
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: July to August

Legendary in the commercial floral industry for their dramatic flair, falling stars showcase bright orange blooms that invigorate a space. These South African flowers stand 36 inches tall and look best when clustered in groups of 12 or more. The ‘Emberglow’ variety is an attractive burnt orange that adds a little fire to your garden.

18. Devil’s Trumpet (Datura Metel)

Devil’s Trumpet

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Mischievous charms, soothing pain, clearing the air
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile loam-type soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: July until frost

Despite their devious name, these types of exotic flowers have a lot to offer a landscape design. Because they release an enchanting fragrance, these long-blooming flowers offer more than meets the eye. With four colors and multiple bi-color patterns available, devil’s trumpet has a lot of visual and olfactory potential.

19. Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

Jasmine

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Celestial joy, feminine sweetness, cheerful friendliness
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: April to September

Although invisible in pictures of these exotic flowers, jasmine is renowned for its attractive and powerful fragrance. A solitary jasmine plant is enough to fill a landscape with its sweet scent. Because of its long bloom, jasmine’s white flowers also provide a charming visual element to a landscape design.

20. Firecracker Flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis)

Firecracker Flower

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Good hair days, spiritual guidance, masculine handsomeness
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Light-textured fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: Flowers freely

Native to Sri Lanka and India, firecracker flower is unforgettable. Glossy leaves and floppy flowers are a match made in paradise. Bright blossoms in hues of apricot and salmon are a great way to bring life into your garden’s shady areas. Firecracker flower makes a fantastic groundcover that produces vibrant blooms all year long.

21. Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)

Parrot’s Beak

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Loving marriage, mysterious wisdom, spiritual truth
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soil with excellent drainage, prefers light-textured soil
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 12
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: May to July

Unique beak-shaped flowers might give this exotic flower its name, but they are not the only reason to plant this vining plant. If you live in a frost-free climate, parrot’s beak can be grown as a perennial. Otherwise, the cool gray-green foliage and eye-catching flowers can be enjoyed as a warm-weather annual.

22. Calla Lily (Zantedeschia Rehmannii)

Calla Lily

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Harmonious marriage, magnificent beauty, successful pregnancy
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 8 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: July to September

For many gardeners, calla lilies are familiar floral friends. It might be surprising to learn that these graceful blooms are native to the exotic South African landscape. This variety of calla lily provides elegant pink flowers through the summer and adds a sense of stylish adventure to any bulb garden or cut flower bouquet.

23. Sensitive Neptunia (Neptunia Oleracea)

Sensitive Neptunia

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Revitalization, Shyness, Abundance
  • 💧 Water needs: Wet
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Aquatic
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: June to September

These yellow puffball-shaped flowers might seem lackluster at first glance, but sensitive neptunia has a lot more to offer your landscape. Like its cousin the sensitive mimosa, sensitive neptunia’s leaves curl when touched. This aquatic plant grows quickly and can turn even unsightly water features into botanical wonderlands.

24. Stiff Bottlebrush (Callistemon Rigidus)

Stiff Bottlebrush

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Sensual pleasure, male virility, fertility
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: June to August

With an abundance of exotic red flowers, this Australian shrub cultivates an air of mystery in any landscape design. These unique shrubs make a splash when used as either a specimen or a hedge. If your garden is in a frost-free climate, you will be able to enjoy crimson sprays of flowers throughout the year.

25. Tall Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos Flavidus

Tall Kangaroo Paw

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Abundance, an open heart, happiness
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Average soils with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 9 to 11
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: April to August

A tall kangaroo paw’s distinctive flowers are perfect for adding rugged Australian adventure to a landscape. Because these herbaceous perennials can grow up to 72 inches tall, tall kangaroo paw flowers make amazing focal points. If the reddish-pink blooms shown here are not right, you can also find these in a green and black combination.

26. Gladiolus (Gladiolus)

Gladiolus

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Bonds of friendship, strength, generous abundance
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile humus-rich soil with good drainage
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 7 to 10
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun
  • 🌱 Blooming season: August to September

Gladiolus flowers are flashy and make a bold statement in any landscape. Available in a wide variety of colors, these South African flowers bring unique beauty to garden beds and borders. To lengthen the blooming season and enjoy a constant colorful display, plant gladiolus corms in two-week intervals.

27. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae)

Bird of Paradise

Photo from depositphotos.com
  • 🔮 Symbolism: Regal gravitas, fidelity, magnificent beauty
  • 💧 Water needs: Medium, tolerates drought
  • 🪴 Soil needs: Fertile loam-type soils with good drainage, tolerates a wide range of soils
  • 🌍 Growing zones: 10 to 12
  • ☀️ Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • 🌱 Blooming season: Blooms seasonally

Among the many types of exotic flowers, bird of paradise blooms are iconic. With vibrant color and aggressive energy, this flower brings faraway jungles into your landscape. An intriguing floral structure charges this architectural flower with a sense of the fantastic. Even if you live in a cool climate, you can enjoy their extravagance during summer.

27 Exhilarating Exotic Flowers to Plant for a Breath of Botanical Fresh Air

There are many reasons to include an exotic flower or four in your landscape design. Many of these flowers offer a breath of fresh air and can rejuvenate a tired space. Vibrant colors and sculptural floral structures can be a great way to start conversations.

If you are not sure where to start, select the plants that speak to your spirit the most. Another strategy is to showcase an area of the world like Australia, Africa, or South America in your garden. Experimenting with new flowers is a thrilling adventure, and you might learn a little about your botanical style on this gardening journey.