The Best Tropical Plants For Full Sun – A Care Guide For Exotic Plants

The Best Tropical Plants for Full Sun are native to areas with frost-free, temperate, and humid climates. These include regions like South and Central America, Asia, and Africa amongst others. Tropical plants are exotic and beautiful, and they can give your garden an eye-catching overall look. However, affording them the proper care and maintenance are essential in keeping them thriving.

There are many sun-loving, easy-to-grow tropical perennials available. Planting them in your garden is not only simple, but it also attracts a variety of hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators which are quite beneficial to the ecosystem. This is because many tropical plants have large, showy flowers that nectar-seeking insects and birds adore.

Choosing the best ones allows you to create a lush garden sanctuary even in cooler climates. Choose a variety of leaf shapes and sizes, such as long, strappy leaves, paddle-shaped leaves, and round leaves. Plants with contrasting foliage colors are also ideal, as are those with large, bright blooms. Raised beds planted with the best tropical plants are another effective way of creating a leafy enclave, as the added height creates the illusion of a green canopy.

What Are Sun-Loving Tropical Plants?

Many of these plants are drought-tolerant and hardy, making them the best tropical plants for full sun. This is due to the fact that they prefer hot, humid climates to grow their best. Sun-loving tropical plants have bright flowers with exotic colors such as orange and purple which are quite common. However, these plants can also tolerate cooler climates if properly maintained.

 best tropical plants for full sun

Therefore, by selecting the best tropical plants, you can create a lush, green garden oasis even in cooler climates. Large, bold leaves, vibrant colors, and unusually shaped flowers can be used to create a tropical-inspired garden. Other sun-tolerant plants are content to provide year-round interest in the garden. The key is to provide them with enough light and to water, feed, and mulch them as needed.

You’ll want to mimic tropical climate conditions to enhance plant care. Ideally, you should move your container-grown flowers outside when overnight temperatures stay stable and do not fall below 50°F. More importantly, you should ensure that you are not in danger of freezing them. This would obviously depend on the climate in your region.

Tropical Plants for Full Sun and Heat – Our Recommendations

Some tropical plants are picky about where they grow, whereas others will grow almost anywhere. Checking the USDA hardiness zone of the plant and comparing it to your location when selecting them is vital for their health and growth. Seeing that there are hundreds of them to choose from, below are a few that we recommend.

Best Tropical Plants for Full Sun:

1. The Stunning Angel’s Trumpets (Brugmansia)

Angel’s trumpets grow quickly and can reach heights of up to 20 feet with a spread of up to 8 feet, depending on the variety. In USDA zones 7 through 11, they grow as perennial flowers. These hardy plants are also considered annuals in cooler climates.

 sun loving tropical plants

2. The Glorious Elephant Ears (Colocasia)

Elephant ears have large, bold green stunning leaves with a vein pattern that makes them an excellent focal point in the yard. This easy-to-grow foliage plant adds interest all season through, and can even be grown indoors as a houseplant.

3. The Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus)

With their plate-sized flowers, these large herbaceous plants add a tropical feel to the garden. In the summer and fall, they produce stunning blooms in red, pink, and white, attracting hummingbirds to the yard. These bloomers thrive in sunny locations and grow steadily in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9.

 tropical garden plants full sun

4. The Exotic Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind tropical flower with a flair for the exotic, the bird of paradise is ideal. It has large, textured leaves and flowers that look like birds. From spring to fall, it produces blooms in shades of orange, white, and yellow. These low-maintenance plants are resistant to deer and thrive in USDA zones 10 and 11.

5. The Colorful Crocosmia

Crocosmia comes in several varieties, all of which are among the most colorful flowers you can grow. Flowers in fiery scarlet, red, orange, and yellow bloom continuously from mid-summer to fall, above decorative clumps of erect, sword-shaped leaves. This is a simple plant that grows quickly and returns year after year. It serves as a genuinely striking appearance in the garden and as cut flowers in a stunning summer bouquet.

 tropical outdoor plants full sun

6. The Attractive Calla Lily

Calla lilies have wide leaves like most tropicals, but they also have their signature spiral bloom form that is popular in cut flower arrangements. Callas are available in a variety of colors, including reds, yellows, and oranges, as well as classic white, purple, and pink. Some have speckled leaves that look great in the garden even when the plants aren’t in bloom. These plants are hardy in USDA zones 8-10 and make excellent container annuals in other regions.

7. The Evergreen Ferns

Contrary to some beliefs, ferns do not need a lot of water or deep shade to survive. They will thrive in a sheltered area of the yard with damp or semi-arid composted soil and good drainage. Additionally, a layer of shredded leaf mulch will help retain moisture. Ferns can withstand up to 4 hours of direct sunlight per day in the morning, noon, or afternoon. They need less water than other varieties and thrive in sunny conditions.

For more information about outdoor tropical plants, here’s a great video. 

Tropical Garden Plants Full Sun – Soil Recommendations

When it comes to tropical outdoor plants full sun is a necessity. However, aside from that, these gorgeous plants require specialized soil to thrive. The majority of them grow in rainforest conditions which include a loose, porous medium made up of bark and light organic matter. This medium has good drainage which is essential for maintaining healthy roots.

In most cases, you can use any good potting mix that you can find at your local nursery. Peat moss is already present in general potting soil, so you can use it straight from the bag. Though tropical plants are diverse, they all prefer loose, acidic, well-drained, fertile soil rich that is rich in organic matter. Although common tropical plants, such as cannas and bananas will grow in any good soil, this mix will help them reach their full potential.

Keep in mind that they also require good drainage, especially when grown in containers where water cannot move as freely as it does in loose, rich jungle soils. This is because they suffer when their roots remain wet and soggy as poorly draining soil quickly deplete their health and beauty. Always choose planting containers with adequate drainage holes to allow excess water to exit.

When growing this plants, ensure that you keep decorative containers free of standing water if you use them as cache pots. Look for a lightweight, commercial potting mix labeled for containers when planting in pots. With the addition of earthworm castings for extra organic matter, you’ll have a mix that’s ideal for your tropical plants.

 tropical plants for full sun and heat

Tropical Plant Care Strategies

Although the best tropical plants for full sun are low maintenance, there are always a few basic elements needed to help them survive. These include an ample supply of air, light, water, and nutrients to be successful! Below are a few tropical plant care tips that can be beneficial in making you a successful gardener.

Tips for Tropical Sun-loving Plants:


Use a potting mix containing peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite to care for tropical plants. If planted in pots, choose pots with enough holes for good drainage.


Allow the plants to have at least 8 hours of bright indirect lighting. If you have indoor potted plants, leave them out in direct sunlight for a few hours. This will help them grow to their optimum potential.


Tropical plants should be watered once a week. Filtered water is often best for cacti, succulents, and other sensitive indoor plants. Use tap water only when you have no other choice.

Tips for Tropical Sun-loving Plants:


Tropical plants appreciate extra moisture. If you don’t mist these plants regularly, they’ll be happier if you leave them under a shower a few times a year to simulate a warm, refreshing rain, similar to what they’d get in their natural habitats.


This is the leading cause of houseplant extinction because overwatering will eventually cause root rot. Rotted roots frequently allow a pathogen into the plant, which can kill it.

Planting space

Pack plants close together to mimic how they would grow in nature by limiting the amount of space they have to grow in. However, they should not overpower each other.


The best tropical plants for full sun are an excellent choice for bright, sunny gardens. Their massive leaves, vibrant colors, and fantastic textures add dimension and interest to any garden setting. As mentioned in the blog above, there are a number of different types to choose from. They are exotic and beautiful and need little maintenance to thrive.

Planting space

Also keep in mind that having these plants in your garden will also attract a variety of hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Tropical plants are native to climates that are frost-free, temperate, and generally humid.

That means you can leave them outside in most other parts of the world when the weather is nice and bring them inside when the temperature drops. You can be confident that your garden will be colorful and bright all year long if you use a good soil mix and take proper care of these gorgeous bloomers. Click on the link for more information about exotic tropical plants.