Dig it!

Tropical Plants You Can Grow in the Midwest

We interrput this winter to bring you this message from Summer....

Living the midwest, we can all benefit from a taste of the tropics at this time of year. And here in Northwest Illinois, we've suffered through some pretty cold weather already. So, if like us, you aren't able to fly to the tropics, you can at least enjoy a taste of them at your own home.

Tropicals You Can Grow in the Midwest.png

Here's a list of 10 Tropical Plants you can enjoy outside all summer and then enjoy all winter long inside your home! We will also include some handy tips for overwintering your tropical plants.

10 Tropical Plants You Can Enjoy Indoors & Out

Elephant Ears - These huge, stunning foliage plants make the perfect "thriller" in summer containers or as a standalone, stand out, addition to any patio. Their giant, heart-shaped leaves can be purple, green, light or dark and depending on the variety can reach up to 3 feet tall. To overwinter elephant ears plant, digtropicalhibiscus.jpg up the corm, (like a bulb) and store it in a dark, cool spot, like your basement. For a look at different varieties you may find at our garden center in the spring and summer, click here.

Tropical Hibiscus - These tropical plants are one of the easiest to over winter. Just bring it inside! They come in a large variety of colors inlcuding blended varieties like the one to the right. Stick a bloom behind your ear and grab some Mai Tai's - just like Hawaii in your own back yard.


Star Jasmine - If you've ever traveled to Italy in the summer, or dream about it, this plant can transport you right to the shores of sunny Lake Como. The delicious sweet scent of the tiny white blooms is a treasure. Close your eyes and envision whiffs of jasmine drifting across your deck on warm summer evenings.  Bellisimo!

Canna - Cannas are as well known for the interesting banana type foliage as their beauitful blooms. Their talk stalky shape make them an unusual addition to any container. Once frost season kicks in, you can overwinter them easily. Once the first frost kills the folaige, dig up the tube-like bulbs and save them in a dark cold spot until the following growing season.

Gardenia - There's a poem that goes, "Gardenia girls are never safe, a secret love you can’t replace." So romantic and maybe, a little tragic? What's interesting is that so many of our customers become a litle well, obsessive, about these gorgeous plants. With good reason, of course. They're beautiful and their sweet scent is just as pretty.


Banana ( Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' ) - They're Big. They're Bold. And they are A LOT of fun!! The only reason you might not be able to bring them inside for the winter is their size. But these large leafy plants are often comfortable in indoor "homes" for years at a time.

Caladium - Here's the thing. Caladium are one the coolest foliage plants around, but you've got to understand they like it warm. Like, they really, really don't like the cold. Can you relate? If so, when you feel a chill and head indoors, bring them along. But despite their pickiness about the temp, the variety of colors you can find in Caladium make them pretty irresisitble. They can be used and treate as a houseplant in the off season.

Citrus - They look good, smell good and feed you? I could make a joke about that, but I won't. Let's just say citrus plants hit all the check marks for a great tropical plant.


Cordyline - These tall spiky plants are a bigger, bolder alternative to the standard green spike you see frequently surrounded by reg geraniums in "classic" annuals pots. If that is a look you've used year after year, try mixing things up this year by planting a cordyline instead. These plants actually have their own International Society. Check it out here.

Remember, even though it is cold, spring is coming and it will be here sooner than you expect. But until then, we will keep posting these little reminders of the warm summer days and the beautiful plants we get enjoy throughout the days to come.






Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Subscribe to Blog