Shade Loving Tropical Plants

Updated April 17, 2017

When you imagine the tropics, you think of sunshine and tons of greenery. However, not all tropical enjoy full sun, in fact, there are many varieties of plants that flourish in the shade. Having information on shade-loving tropical plants will help you decide what plants will do well in your shaded garden.

Calathea Loesneri

Calathea loesneri is a tropical flowering plant from South America. It is native to the countries of Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador. A full-shade plant, the Calathea loesneri grows an average of one to two feet tall and produces white and violet blooms that resemble the lotus blossom. Leaves are oval and slightly variegated. Plant in quality, well-draining soil. Provide at least one cup of water per day; the plant prefers moist soil. The Calathea loesneri blooms from July through October and is hardy in United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) zones 9 through 11. The Calathea loesneri is commonly used as a houseplant, according to the Tropical Flower Farm website.


Caladium is a tropical shade plant originally native to South America. Growing up to 30 inches in height, caladiums are popular perennials. Plant in full to partial shade; provide quality, well-draining soil. The leaves of caladiums vary in colour, from light pink and red to deep green and white. Being a tropical plant, caladiums prefer moist soil. Water every other day, providing about one cup of water per plant, during each watering session. It is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11, according to North Carolina State University.

Hawaiian Ti Plant

Hawaiian Ti Plant, scientifically referred to as Cordyline fruticosa, is a tropical, evergreen shrub native to Asia and Hawaii, suggests Floridata. The plant grows to a height of 30 inches and features green and pink leaves up to six inches long. The plant is a full to partial shade species and is ideal for planting under trees. Plant in quality, well-draining soil. During summer months, the soil needs to be kept constantly moist, so water daily. Provide at least two cups of water per plant, during each watering session. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11.

Costus Pictus

The spiral ginger, Costus pictus, is a shade plant originating in Central America. Yellow, ornate blooms and long, deep-green leaves characterise the plant. The plant can reach a height of eight feet tall. Plant in quality, well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist. Water every other day; by placing a hose at the base of the plant, and letting the water run over the root area for thirty seconds. It is hardy in USDA zones 11 through 12.

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About the Author

Nicholas Ramos was born in Washington, D.C. He is currently a journalism major in Georgia and plans to specialize in law. Ramos has been writing since 2009, specializing in fashion, travel and health.