14 Stunning Tropical Flowers to Grow Inside or Outside

Bright Colors That Transport You to Hawaii

Anthurium tropical flower with red spikes in middle of white bracts and surrounded by leaves

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Tropical flowers bring more to your garden: more color, more fragrance, more size, and even more butterflies. Some of the least expensive and most beautiful are members of the hibiscus family and orchid family. Bromeliads (air plants) are not only beautiful but are also low-maintenance in warmer locations. If you live in a cooler climate you'll need a plan for keeping your tropical plants healthy in the winter, and in many cases, these plants are at best tender container perennials that must be brought indoors or treated as seasonal annuals and discarded at the end of the season.

Here are the 14 types of tropical flowers you can use to enhance your garden or use to arrange a tropical bouquet.

  • 01 of 14

    Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

    Blooming yellow hibiscus in a pot.

    Bsheridan1959 / Getty Images

    The tropical hibiscus brings a flamenco vibe to the patio and container garden even for beginners. When it comes to the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, if you provide ample sunshine and generous water, you will receive nonstop blooms up to eight inches in diameter throughout the growing season. Like many tropical flowers, the brilliant colors of the hibiscus are a beacon to butterflies. The yellow hibiscus is also the official state flower of Hawaii. You can choose varieties that complement any color scheme, as the blooms come in hot shades like yellow, orange, and red, as well as cool tones like pink, white, and purple.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 11 depending on the variety
    • Flower Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, red, pink, white, purple, and multicolor
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, slightly acidic soil
    • Mature Size: 4 to 10 feet tall, 3 to 6 feet wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 02 of 14

    Bromeliad (Aechmea or Guzmania genera of the Bromeliaceae family)


    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The Bromeliaceae family is large and diverse, including plants like pineapples and the gray, curly Spanish moss popular in craft displays. Despite their unusual appearance, bromeliads are surprisingly unfussy tropical plants that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures from near-freezing to triple digits. Humidity is an important element of watering, as bromeliad leaves have special scales that absorb water from the air. Use an airy orchid mix to pot your bromeliads, as many grow as epiphytes in nature. Repot any offshoots that form after flowering, as the parent plant will usually decline as the flower withers. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 10 (though some varieties can withstand freezing temperatures)
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink, red, orange, and yellow depending on variety
    • Light: Bright to filtered light
    • Soil Needs: Airy orchid mix
    • Mature Size: Varies by genera and species, often 18 inches tall
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 03 of 14

    Clivia (Clivia miniata)

    Clivia miniata (Natal lily), umbel of orange flowers, yellow at center with prominent stamen

    Ruben Magos/Getty Images

    Clivia miniata, sometimes called natal lily, is coveted by many gardeners as a tough houseplant that thrives in low-light areas. Not only will clivia grow in your previously barren north-facing windowsill, it likes to be on the dry side, grows best with minimal fertilizer, and is happiest when root bound in a crowded pot. It is the perfect tropical plant for those with a slightly brownish thumb. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: Yellow to orange to nearly red
    • Light: Dappled; partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich well-draining soil
    • Mature Size: 2 feet tall, 2 to 3 feet wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 04 of 14

    Chenille Plant (Acalypha hispida)

    chenille plant

    The Spruce / Autumn Wood

    The chenille plant will grow for any gardener given ample water and sunlight. Also known as red-hot cattail, Acalypha hispida may need supplementary lighting with a grow light to successfully overwinter. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 10
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red
    • Light: Full sun outdoors, indoors high levels of light
    • Soil Needs: Sand, clay, loam
    • Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide in tropical climates; much smaller when grown in containers and indoors
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Orchid (Orchidaceae)

    cymbidium orchids

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The orchid family (Orchidaceae) contains hundreds of genera and tens of thousands of species, so if you have not experienced success yet with these tropical plants, give it another try. Choosing the right growing medium is critical for orchids, which do not grow well in standing water. A chunky, bark-based growing mix for orchids will give your plant a healthy start. Choose a pot with many drainage holes to further ensure that you will not overwater it. Add filtered light, a humid environment (bathroom or kitchen window), and moderate temperatures to get and keep your orchid going.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Many depending on variety
    • Light: Filtered light
    • Soil Needs: Chunky, bark-based growing mix
    • Mature Size: Depends on species
    • Deer Resistant: No
  • 06 of 14

    Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

    Close-up of Poet's jasmine flowers (Jasminum officinale)

    C. Dani/Getty Images

    Jasmine adds fragrance and height to any garden, producing flowers from late spring through early fall. It is a slender but vigorous vine that gardeners can keep inbounds with frequent pruning. Humidity is just as important as watering is for healthy plants. While indoors (especially during cold winters), give jasmine bright but indirect light and a cool location. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink, white, ivory, or yellow
    • Light: Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining fertile soil
    • Mature Size: 20 feet tall
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 07 of 14

    Ginger (Zingiber neglectum)

    Yellow Flowers Blooming on Kahili Ginger Plant

    Douglas Peebles/Getty Images

    As aromatic as they are beautiful, flowering ginger plants are an excellent alternative for gardeners who have little or no direct sun in their landscapes. However, as with most tropicals, hot and humid conditions are required for thriving plants. Zingiber types include the red bracts of the awapuhi, which is used in some premium shampoos. Zingiber neglectum 'Pagoda Jewel' looks like an alien life form but grows with ease in moist, well-draining soil. Bring your ginger plants indoors when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent leaf tips from browning. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red, pink, orange
    • Light: Filtered or partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Loamy
    • Mature Size: 4 to 5 feet tall, 1 to 2 feet wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 08 of 14

    Protea (Protea cynaroides)

    Pink protea flower

    Ngoc Minh & Julian Wass/Getty Images

    Looking like a cross between an artichoke and a thistle, protea flowers are a staple in tropical flower arrangements due to their very long-lasting cut blooms. This African native sports blossoms that are fuzzy, leathery, and quite drought-tolerant. Protea plants are more frost tolerant than most tropical flowers and can stay outdoors all year in zone 8. Plant proteas in a sandy potting mix and water once or twice a week. A half-day of sun is adequate to coax blooming in late winter through spring. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8
    • Color Varieties: Wide range
    • Light: Half day of sun
    • Soil Needs: Slightly acidic soil mixture
    • Mature Size: 6 to 26 feet tall depending on variety
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)


    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Anyone who has visited a Mediterranean country will conjure memories of their trip by cultivating this vigorous vine, which grows throughout sunny, dry climates. The vines demand a full day of sunshine, which means you should not plan on overwintering the plants in your home. However, the cheerful magenta or red bracts will appear quickly on new transplants you install in the spring. Bougainvillea blooming may taper off during summer but will peak in the fall, as it thrives when the length of day and night are equal or nearly so. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: Various depending on the variety
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Soil with plenty of humus and an acidic soil pH
    • Mature Size: 15 to 40 feet tall and wide
    • Deer Resistant: Sometimes
  • 10 of 14

    Anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum)

    Red anthurium flamingo flower

    Tim Graham/Getty Images

    Anthurium or flamingo flowers are most happy when their environment is humid bordering on muggy. The flowers are bracts that come in red, pink, white, and dramatic burgundy hues. The shiny surface of the bracts lends a lacquered appearance, which stands out in dappled sunlight conditions. Provide flamingo flowers with rich, moist soil and protect them from temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 or higher
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red, pink, white, burgundy
    • Light: Dappled (partial sun)
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist soil
    • Mature Size: 12 to 18 inches tall, 9 to 12 inches wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 11 of 14

    Medinilla (Medinilla magnifica)



    PatrikStedrak / Getty Images

    Medinilla magnifica, also known as pink maiden, is a departure from many tropical flowers in that it prefers a shady site in the garden. If you have successfully cared for an orchid, treat your medinilla the same way—it grows as an epiphyte in the wild. Pot it in orchid bark, water sparingly, and provide it with dappled sunlight and moderate temperatures. A daily misting will keep your medinilla going through the dry environs of a winter windowsill. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink
    • Light: Shade
    • Soil Needs: Orchid bark
    • Mature Size: 2 to 4 feet tall, 1- to 3-foot spread
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 12 of 14

    Penta (Pentas lanceolata)

    Penta flowers


    JudiParkinson / Getty Images

    There is nothing like a few pots of pink, purple, and red pentas to bring the butterflies and hummingbirds flocking to your deck or patio. Clusters of star-shaped flowers appear throughout the summer on 12-inch tall plants that want nothing more than full sun, well-drained soil, and average water. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8 to 10
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink, purple, red
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
    • Mature Size: 24 to 36 inches
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Canna (Canna indica)

    canna lily

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    The widespread availability and rapid growth habit of cannas make them one of the most popular tropical plants in home gardens. If you are plagued by soggy, boggy soil, make cannas a garden staple, as they will even grow in standing water. It is almost impossible to give these hungry giants too much sunshine or nutrients. A weekly shovel of compost or manure can help taller varieties like Phaison reach their potential.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red, orange, gold
    • Light: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich acidic soil amended with compost or manure
    • Mature Size: 1.5 to 10 feet tall, 1.5 to 6 feet wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 14 of 14

    Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia genus)

    Angel's trumpet

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Everyone should grow a Brugmansia at least once in their lifetime. The sight of hundreds of bell-shaped fragrant flowers in late summer will bring a smile to your face every day. A variegated cultivar like Snowbank will make plants interesting even out of bloom. Provide these shrubs with a large container, partial sun, and regular water. Prune hard in the fall when you bring it inside for the winter. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: White, peach, pink, orange, or yellow
    • Light: Partial sun
    • Soil Needs Acidic soil
    • Mature Size: 6 to 35 feet tall, 3 to 10 feet wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes

Learn More

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Is bougainvillea a deer-proof plant? USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.