We’re off to Indonesia soon to introduce the wee fella to his daddy’s side of the family, and a recent Skype call with family over there got me thinking about tropical plants. 

It might seem like a world away, but with some know how you can bring the tropics to your own garden. 

Good soil preparation and plant selection is key, but many jungle plants perform well in our temperate climate. 

Tropical jungles are a tangle of species, fiercely competing for space and light. 

Dense planting of large leaved species will help you achieve this effect in your own garden, with taller species creating a dense canopy, sheltering the under planting and smaller species below. 

Lots of plants create a lot of leaf fall, and a constant supply of humus makes a rich, fertile, moist but free draining soil. 

So adding plenty of organic matter to your soil, such as well rotted manure or garden compost, is essential to keep the plants happy. 

A garden exposed to the elements isn’t really conducive to growing these types of plants but if you’ve got a sheltered spot, this could be your opportunity to create something really unique. 

When you think of jungle plants, bold leaf shapes, vivid colours and tropical flowers spring to mind. 

There is quite a list of tropical (and tropical looking) plants that fit this bill and many of them are fully hardy down to temperatures of -20C. 

Gunnera manicata is a bold, architectural plant with enormous rhubarb like leaves held on prickly stems. 

It’s big plant and needs a lot of space but it really gives the wow factor! 

Fatsia japonica, Trachycarpus fortunei and Cordyline australis will all lend their height in the creation of a canopy and their bold leaf shapes tick the ‘tropical feel’ box. 

A layer of underplanting consisting of hostas, ferns and rodgersias provide contrast and interest in foliage form and texture. 

Once you’ve painted your canvas green with bold foliage plants, think about adding a few drops of vivid colours courtesy of tropical flowers.

The hot red flowers and bright green leaves of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ will add heat to your borders.

And if you’re happy to do a little extra work, use dahlias, cannas and zantedeschias to really push the tropical theme. 

These three are half hardy so they should be lifted in autumn and overwintered under glass before planting out after the last risk of frost in late spring/early summer.

But it’s worth the effort to enjoy a piece of paradise in your own garden.