List of Tropical Plants, Trees and Shrubs for The Tampa Bay Area


Tropical Art by Watercolor Artist Nadine Ramelb

As a companion to our article “What is the recipe for the tropical landscape” we thought we’d provide a list of tropical plantings that usually do well in our zone 9B area.  Keep in mind that a severe cold snap can cause damage or even kill some tropical plants, but for many, the risk is worth it.  Here’s a list of potential candidates for tropical plantings. to help your decision making process.

Popular Landscape Shrubs With A Tropical Feel

Sun and shade, soil and drainage will play a large part in the plants you choose.  With density, you can create microclimates to protect the shade lovers with the sun lovers.  Combine big leaves with small leaves too.. When you think about it, there are many big leaf plants in tropical landscapes.

Sunny Tropical

Sunny Tropical Look

  • Hibiscus (full sun part sun)
  • Bird of Paradise (full sun or dappled)
  • Helioconia (part sun-shady)
  • Crotons (full sun to part shade)
  • Ixora (full sun to part Shade)
  • Cordyline (part sun dappled for best)
  • Arboricola (full sun to dappled)
  • Loropetalum (full sun)
  • Viburnum (any but deep shade)
  • Ligustrum (any but deep shade)
  • Oleander (sun)
  • Philodendron (prefers some shade)
  • Duranta (sun to dappled)
  • Crinum Lily (prefers some shade)
  • Iris (sun to dappled)
  • Macho Fern (sun with some shade)
  • Cardboard Palm (sun to some shade)
  • Coontie (versatile)
  • Thryallis (sun part shade)



  • Pittisporum (sun- part shade)
  • Bougainvillea (sun)
  • Bromeliad(depends on variety)
  • Agave (sun)
  • Yucca (sun)
  • Canna lily (sun with moisture to part shade)
  • Gardenia (sun-part shade)
  • Ginger (shady dappled)
  • Caladiums (shady and dappled)
  • Elephant ear (shady)
  • Jatropha (sun)

This list could go on obviously, but hopefully there are some plant ideas here worth further exploration. Google is a great place to research plants.  When you do a plant search on Google, always click on “images” on the search page for a plethora of photos. Tropical landscape ideas also abound on Pinterest.  If you haven’t discovered Pinterest yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  Use the search function for any term related to gardens or landscaping and you’ll be entertained (and inspired) for hours!

Laurel Oaks Nursery, located conveniently on Race Track Road in Odessa, would be proud to help you design and install your own version of a tropical paradise at your property!  Stop by and mention this article and we’ll hop in a golf-cart and give you a tour of our 25 acre paradise!  You can make an appointment with one of our design staff for an onsite visit to your property as well.  Get your advice first hand from experienced landscape designers at Laurel Oaks!  SPA_5820







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