Tropical Plants

Course CodeBHT234
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Explore Different Tropical Plants

  • Learn where and how to grow tropical plants
  • Create a tropical garden or grow them as indoor plants
  • Propagate, breed, collect topicals - indulge a passion or start a business
  • Discover: how to landscape with tropical plants and how to use colour and texture

Learning about tropical plants may be a passion for some who start this course, and for others a necessity. Whatever your initial motivation though, it is only by encountering and exploring a lot of different plants on a level you hadn't entered before, that you will begin to see possibilities to grow and use those plants - as a hobbyist, a gardening professional, nurseryman or horticulturist.


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Tropical Plants
    • What does the term "tropical" mean
    • What tropical plants grow where you live?
    • Plant names/classification (scientific & common)
    • Species, hybrids, varieties and cultivars
    • Growing Tropical Plants in different climates; tropical, sub tropical, arid and temperate
    • Climatic Variations; seasons, mountains, savannahs, rainforest, coastal
    • Gardening for Warm Climates and Microclimates
    • Good and Bad News about Tropical Gardening
    • Heat Traps, Warming a Garden, Greenhouses
  2. Plant Cultural Practices
    • Common Gardening Problems
    • Understanding soils, naming a soil, texture, pH, fertility, nutrition, feeding
    • Water and Plant Growth
    • Water deficiency and excess symptoms
    • Water Dynamics in a Soil
    • Planting and Plant Establishment Methods
    • Light Requirements
    • Mulches
    • Tree Guards
    • Weeds
    • Propagation - cutting, seed, propagating media
    • Potting Mixes, Potting up, Caring for young plants
    • Pruning etc.
  3. Tropical Annuals, Perennials, Bulbous Plants, Bamboos & Lawns
    • Bamboos, Grasses and Grass Like Plants
    • Landscaping with Bamboos
    • Review of Bamboo species
    • Review of other herbaceous tropicals, including: Achmines, Agapanthus, Alocasia, Amorphophallus,Aristea, Babiana, Boophone, Brunsvigia, Caladium, Calaqthea, Calostemma,Clivia, Calocasia, Crinum, Crocosmia, Cyrtanthus, Dierama, Eucharis, Eucomis, Gladiolus, Gloriosa, Zephranthes, Hippeastrum, Hymenocallis, and many others
    • Lawns
    • Turf Varieties for Warm and Hot Areas
  4. Ornamental Gingers and Heliconias (and related plants)
    • Introduction
    • Zingerbales; Musaceae (bananas), Strelitziaceae (bird of paradise), Lowiaceae, Heliconiaceae (heliconias), Zingiberaceae (gingers), Costaceae (costus), Cannaceae (cannas), Marantaceae (prayer plants
    • Gingers
    • Heliconia
    • Costus
    • Canna
    • Strelitzia
  5. Cordylines, Palms & Cycads
    • Types of Palms; self cleaning, cleaning, solitary or clumping, fan or pinnate, etc
    • Palm Propagation
    • Review of many cultivated Palm Genera
    • Cordylines
  6. Climbers, Shrubs and Trees
    • Review of many cultivated Tree and Shrub Genera
    • Cultural Requirements
    • Review of many selected species characteristics
    • Conifers; culture, genera, species
    • Climbers; Allamanda, Antigonon, Aristolochia, Beaumontia, Bignonia, Bougainvillea, Campses, Ceropegia, Cissus, Clematis, Clerodendrum, Clitoria, Clytostoma, Combretum, Congea, Ficus, Hoya, Ipomea, Manettia, Mucuna, Pandorea, Philodendron, Scindapsis, Stephanotus, Thunbergia, Trachelospermum.
  7. Orchids, Ferns, Aroids and Bromeliads
    • Orchid introduction
    • Growing Orchids
    • Epiphytes
    • Orchid Genera
    • Bromeliads
    • Growing Ferns
    • Types of Ferns; Fern Classification and families
    • Fern Culture
    • Aroids
  8. Tropical Herbs, Vegetables and Fruit Bearing Plants
    • Growing Methods; organic, no dig, permaculture, Container Growing, Hydroponics, etc
    • Culture of Selected Vegetables in tropical and sub tropic conditions
    • Bush tucker
    • Tea and Coffee
    • Tropical Fruit trees
  9. Growing Tropical Plants outside the Tropics
    • Growing tropicals indoors
    • Growing in different climates and conditions.
  10. Landscaping with Tropical Plants
    • Use of colour & texture
    • Plant selection
    • Planting a courtyard
    • Preparing sketch plans.


  • Explain the nature and scope of tropical plants
  • Discuss cultural characteristics that are often peculiar to tropical plants
  • Describe the taxonomy and culture of a range of soft wooded tropical plants including annuals, perennials and bulbs.
  • Describe the taxonomy and culture of Heliconias and Gingers..
  • Describe the taxonomy and culture of Palms and Palm like tropicals.
  • Describe the taxonomy and culture of climber, tree and shrub tropical plants.
  • Describe the taxonomy and culture of Orchids, Ferns and Bromeliads.
  • Describe the taxonomy and culture of Herbs, Vegetables and Fruits in tropical conditions.

What Are Tropical Plants?

Tropical climates are found in South-East Asia, much of India, northern Australia, Central America, the Caribbean, Northern parts of South America, many of the Pacific islands and perhaps the central half of the African continent. Tropical areas in general have the highest average temperature levels, the longest frost-free growing seasons, and the greatest amount of light (intensity and duration), compared to other regions on the planet.

Tropical gardens can vary from dry and desert-like, to coastal, to dense, lush and leafy environs resembling the dynamic workings of a rainforest. Many different garden effects are possible using tropical plants. You can also, on a small scale, transform a garden into a microclimate using tropical plants that are not normally found in your locality.

Bamboos, Grasses and Grass Like Plants

These plants are generally very hardy, particularly once established. They can add a different mood to a garden through the typically soft, narrow foliage, contrasting with the broader leaves of most other tropical garden plants. Bamboos are particularly notorious. While the vigour of bamboos can be a threat, it also makes them fast growing and relatively easy to care for. Often a bamboo will survive as a tub plant where all else fails.

Gingers and Heliconias

Heliconias, Gingers, Bananas, Calatheas, Cannas, and various other leafy herbaceous plants all belong to the same botanical order.
This broad group of plants comes mostly from the tropics, or sub tropics, but some can be grown outside into temperate zones of the world.

Cannas are grown as summer bedding plants in areas prone to heavy snow over winter (but they must be lifted and protected over the colder months. Certain gingers will also grow well in mild temperate climates. Bananas have been grown successfully (with some protection) in southern England and southern Australia.

Vegetables, Fruits and Other Food Plants

There are hundreds of different food plants which can be grown at home, ranging from fruits and vegetables to herbs, nuts, berries, vines and even aboriginal (bush tucker) foods. The challenge is to choose the right combination to suit your family.

Other Tropical

There's a lot  more to learn..... If you want to explore this subject seriously; think about taking this very unique course.

Who Will Benefit From This Course? 

  • For graduates living in tropical and sub tropical climates, this new gained knowledge will increase their capacity to grow plants in the outside landscape.
  • For graduates from cooler climates, you will discover plants you may never have encountered before, to grow in greenhouses, or inside houses. Knowledge will also be expanded for even plants you may have been aware of.
Graduates may use this course as a stepping stone toward:
  • Building a better plant collection
  • Breeding new cultivars
  • Becoming an interior plantscapers
  • Working in a plant nursery or garden
  • Developing extra skills as a gardener or horticulturist
  • Developing your own business (eg. consulting, education, media, plant production, cut flower production)
This is a great course for the beginner or the professional gardener, nurseryman, landscaper or plants person.




Click box below on left hand side -follow instructions.




More from ACS