Bold colors and unusual shapes make tropical flowers unique.
Tropical flowers are often called "exotic" and never fail to provide a unique wow, given their colors, shapes, and textures. In this post, Exotic Tropical Flowers Ideal for Giving, we dive into and profile some of our favorites.
Often bold in color, it is not usual to see tropical flowers in vibrant reds, yellows, oranges, greens, pinks, and white. But the color is only one aspect that makes these blooms dazzle. As you will quickly see from our profiles, the shape of these exotic flowers is often unusual, unlike the more traditional or standard flower arrangements that rely on roses, tulips, peonies, and dahlias. From the Bird of Paradise to the Anthurium, ginger to the orchid, it is easy to see why "exotic" is associated with tropical flowers.
Colorful, unique blooms that thrive in heat
The exotic shapes and bold colors make tropical flower arrangements popular for gift-giving - ideal for fun, festive celebrations, be it a special birthday, to cheer someone up who is feeling ill, or to thank someone. Next time you think of sending flowers, review our assortment of custom-designed tropical arrangements.
Tropical flowers are long-lasting and tolerate warm temperatures and humidity, making them ideal for summer. Unlike roses or tulips, tropical blooms do not like cold temperatures. They can turn brown or black if refrigerated, so arrangements with tropical flowers should not be stored in coolers or below 60 degrees.
In the following profile of our top exotic tropical flowers, we showcase a tropical arrangement to show you how each colorful "flower" looks in an arrangement. These contemporary tropical florals are available on our website and in our Hillcrest flower and plant shop. We will gladly make a custom tropical arrangement for you. Call us during regular business hours at 619-544-0504 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you find this profile of exotic flowers fun and interesting.
1. Lobster Claw (Heliconia rostrata)
Lobster Claw (Heliconia rostrata)Heliconia, or Lobster Claw, is a plant related to bananas, cannas, and gingers and has around 200 species that grow in tropical regions of the globe. The part of the heliconia used in flower arrangements is not a "flower" per se but a series of colorful pointed leaf structures known as bracts. The heliconia's flowers are inside the bracts and resemble lobster claws, thus the common name. The bracts grow in red, orange, yellow, and green shades, displaying a golden yellow or green tipping on the edge.
Heliconia is native to Central and South America, with about 100 individual species and each species having many hybrids. The significant number of variations means the "flower" or bract styles can vary. The heliconia leaves look similar to banana leaves: glossy, oval, and paddle-shaped. Individual plants can grow up to 15 feet tall. Generally green in color, some are tinged slightly with color when young. The leaves and stems can also be colored or patterned.
2. Anthurium (herbaceous epiphytes)
Anthuriums, also called the "flamingo flower" or "Hawaiian heart," are native to tropical regions of America from Mexico to northern Argentina and Uruguay. In Greek, the name Anthurium means tail flower. The Anthurium is an open, heart-shaped spathe and grows in various colors from red, wine, and white to green.
Though the Anthurium resembles a flower bloom, it is a spathe or shield-like leaf. It protects a spike of miniature flowers known as the spadix, which surrounds a fleshy axis enclosed in the spathe, characteristic of the arums. Like other tropicals, they have long-lasting flowers, making them popular as hostesses or hospitality gifts.
Anthurium is also a popular houseplant because it is low maintenance and can have months of blooms. Ensuring well-drained soil prevents stems and roots from rotting, so pick a pot for your Anthurium planting with a drain hole and saucer.
3. Ginger (Zingiberaceae)
The ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, an exotic flower that includes 52 genera and more than 1300 species and grows throughout tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia. Some more common genus names include Alpinia, Costus, and Hedychium. Several species of Alpinia are cultivated as ornamentals, while the Hedychium produces blooms used in garlands and floral arrangements. The red-colored ginger is used regularly in tropical arrangements.
Flowering gingers sold as garden plants reach an average height between four and five feet tall. Ginger spreads and emerges from the thick fleshy root-like structures known as rhizomes with leaves that are usually lance-shaped or oblong and deep glossy Green. The ginger flowers vary significantly from one genus to another. Below is an image of a bright yellow Maraca ginger, and a hot pink ginger can be seen in the back of the picture.
4. Maraca Ginger (Zingiber spectabilis)
The Maraca Ginger, often referred to as the beehive or pinecone ginger because of its ornamental shape, is a popular addition to tropical arrangements. Beehive ginger is fragrant and makes an excellent cut flower, with the bracts holding both colors and conditions for a week or more once cut. It is a gourd-like structure filled with pebbles, and its scientific name is Zingiber spectabilis. Maraca ginger is cherished for its medicinal properties, making it fashionable for sprains, indigestion, stomach pains, and toothaches. The milk in the cone has been an ingredient in commercial shampoos and hair care products for centuries.
The Maraca ginger is believed to have originated in India and can reach 7 feet in height, with long narrow leaves arranged oppositely on the stems. About mid-way thru summer, separate stalks grow out of the ground with green cone-shaped bracts that resemble, you guessed it, beehives or pinecones. While initially green, the bracts turn red over several weeks; then, small creamy yellow flowers appear on the cones.
5. Mokara Orchid (Vandaceous genera)
Mokara Orchids belong to the Vandaceous genera and are human-made tropical orchids not found in nature. It was created in Singapore in 1969 and originated from cross-breeding orchids of the genera Ascocentrum, Arachnis, and Vanda. Dozens and dozens of other types have been made since then.
Mokara orchids are long-lasting and have starfish-shaped blooms and thin, almost wire-like stems holding 7-15 flowers per stem. With most varieties available year-round in stunning red, purple, pinks, yellows, burgundy, and orange, these flowers are hugely popular for wedding and event decor. Some breeds exhibit dotted petals, while others are solid or opaque.
Mokara orchids are relatively easy to care for and thrive inconsistent temperatures between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit in environments with at least 80% humidity. These orchids do not tolerate any disturbance or damage to their root system, making them unlikely to bloom and forcing them into decline for a season or more.
6. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
Bromeliad plants add an exotic touch to any arrangement and garden as they are hearty, long-lasting, and require minimal care. They are an excellent addition to any plant collection and add color and texture to any home or patio. Due to their shape and color, bromeliads work well in contemporary, modern, and tropical decor styles. They have adapted to withstand drought and should not be over-watered, or it can cause root rot.
Bromeliads can often be epiphytic, meaning they use the structure of other plants, like trees, to provide stability and structure. They are not parasitic and do not live off the other plant; they use it to assist in holding themselves up. There are 51 genera and more than 3400 known species of bromeliads, growing mainly in the tropical parts of Central and South America, although they are highly adaptable.
The foliage of a bromeliad usually grows in a rosette with patterns and a variety of bright colors but varies greatly and can be broad and flat or thin, spikey, or soft. Leaf colors range from green and gold to maroon, red, and yellow, while others can be spotted. The common pineapple plant is a bromeliad.
7. Ornamental Banana Bloom (Musa ornata)
Musa Ornata, the ornamental or flowering banana plant, is one of more than 50 banana species in the Musa genus. They are large, tropical evergreen perennials originating in southeast Asia. The blossoms grow on stems of up to 3-4 feet in length and arise from the center of the plant. The blooms are usually long, tapering buds that present upright, or they can also fold over in a draping manner, depending on the variety. Musa thrives in high temperatures and humid environments and produces flowers in mid-summer in a range of whites, purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows. The plant can grow up to 50 feet tall in the wild.
The banana bloom is usually available year-round in floral shops that showcase unique and unusual flowers. The Musa Ornata, in all its varieties, is grown commercially in Hawaii and South America for North American consumers.
Plus: Five exotic foliages for tropical arrangements
With every tropical arrangement comes a selection of foliage that also is tropical and compliments the look and feel of exotic tropical blooms. We also decided to share a few of these with you to give you a sense of what we combine to create our custom arrangements. Always soak your foliage correctly for several hours in water before you arrange it, even if it is cut fresh from your garden.
Split-leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)
Taken directly from the Monstera deliciosa plant native to Mexico and Panama, the tropical leaf is exotic in shape, with holes and ridges throughout the adult leaf. The foliage is a base element in our arrangements (to cover the edge of the container) and to create horizontal lines.
Song of India (Dracaena reflexa)
The Song of India plant is a species (Dracaena reflexa) that is also a popular houseplant. Like the monstera leaf, the action is also with the dracaena leaf. Glossy and wide, they can grow up to 1 ft long — various cultivars of this genus display different leaf variations. The dracaena serves as color contrast and textural interest in tropical arrangements.
Ti Leaf (cordyline fruticose)
The Ti leaf, known as the Hawaiian Good Luck plant, is a staple in floral shops with its smooth blade-shaped leaves that can measure about four inches wide and range from one to two feet long. Available in hues of green, orange, yellow, purple, pink, and red (depending on the variety), the Ti leaf is a crucial ingredient of Hawaiian leis. While the leaves are inedible, they are commonly used as wraps when preparing foods.
The leaves are versatile, and their shine and shape perfectly complement many tropical floral arrangements. The ti leaf is used to line the inside of clear glass vases and as vertical backdrops for bright, tropical flowers. They can be twisted and curled to add interest as well.
Majesty Palm (Ravenna rivularis)
As the name implies, they are the leaves of palm trees which can be any number of varieties depending on the store. Most tropical floral arrangements contain either a fan palm or an Areca palm, which has long, narrow fronds with multiple leaves extending from the main stem.
The palm leaf is a universal element for tropical arrangements due to its leafy green hue and fan-like shape. They are perfect building blocks in a large tropical arrangement and provide a great background to pinks, oranges, and yellows. Palm leaves can be part of a tropical bouquet as well.
Fig Leaf Palm (Fatsia japonica)
Fatsia japonica, commonly called the paper plant or fig leaf palm, is an evergreen shrub that produces large, glossy hand-shaped leaves that can be up to 16 inches across, although they come in various sizes. Architectural in shape, the Fatsia is native to southern Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. In the fall and winter, the Fatsia produces globe-shaped clusters of white flowers followed by small black fruits. There are also several variegated fatsias to choose from besides the solid Green. Fatsia serves as a background or base element in arrangements, mainly tropical florals.
Summer + Tropicals
Summer is a perfect season for tropical flowers and plants. Please take a look at our tropical flower arrangements, and don't hesitate to send a tropical arrangement as they are bright, colorful, and usually last an extended length of time. Plus, they are exotic and sure to create a conversation piece for whomever you send one.
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