If you want to add some colour, you can't go past Sun Patiens, New Guinea Impatiens and Waterfall Begonias.

Never before have we had such a long spell of hot and dry weather in summer. Although the rain has come now, Tauranga has felt like the true tropical location this summer with record high temperatures.

We are lucky that we can grow many things that other areas of the country cannot to create the subtropical garden effect.

To create a touch of the tropics, try to get a layered effect with taller palms.

Palms make a very good foil for other plantings. Or use green glossy foliage plants such as Pseudopanax leatus, pukas, Australian frangipanis, Scheflerra and the like and then under plant with lower growers.

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Hibiscus and HibiQis are perfect for those hot sunny spots as are dwarf Australian frangipanis and the tropical frangipani. Vireya rhododendrons also create a lovely middle planting. These can flower up to four times a year and are good for pots as well. They come in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange, coral and white. Some are fragrant too.

Add some colour and layered planting for a subtropical feel. Photo / Supplied
Add some colour and layered planting for a subtropical feel. Photo / Supplied

Green glossy leaved plants such as Ligularia reformis, known as the tractor seat plant, is a great filler. Hen and chicken ferns, hostas and clivias for the shady spots work well. If you want to add some colour, you can't go past Sun Patiens, New Guinea Impatiens and Waterfall Begonias.

Bromeliads provide colour, texture and form and make excellent contrast against the rich green leaves of other subtropical plants.

For low groundcover I like to use Pratia, Mondo Grass, Heuchera and Ajuga. It is all about trying to get the soil covered and creating a lovely carpet.

Plant bougainvilleas for the pergolas and fence lines or mandevilleas. They are good in a pot with a frame for support.

Fragrance is key in a tropical garden. Tropical frangipanis are a treat or go for gardenias which grow well here as do Star jasmine, which can be used as both a climber or groundcover. Stephanotis is another lovely fragrant climber.

If you are looking for some inspiration, come out and see us at Decor Gardenworld and have a chat to one of the team, they are here to help.