Tropical Rainforest Plants

orchid, rainforest plants, tropical flowers

Tropical rainforest plants grow naturally in warm, humid, and rainy climates. They successfully grow indoors with careful consideration to their unique needs. Most of these species survive best at temperatures over 65F. Tropical plants can live outside in climate zones 10 and 11. Some endure winters in zone 9 with proper protection. In other areas these plants should be grown as container specimens, in greenhouses or as annuals.


Light is one of the growing requirements of all plants. For the best results, use an overhead light source. Tropical rainforest plants are native to an area where the days and nights are of equal length. In order for the plants to be at their best, the gardener must be able to mimic these conditions. Using grow lights can make the difference between scraggly vines and lush blooms.

Water and Moisture

Depending on where the plant grows naturally, it may need different water and moisture conditions to grow well. Some plants are adapted to heavy periods of rain followed by a short period of no rain. In order to get the best blooms, copy the natural cycles as much as possible.

In the house, the plants will do best with a relative humidity of 50 percent. This is hard to replicate in a home but can be done with a humidifier. A cool-vapor humidifier increases humidity easily. Another way to improve the humidity around rain forest plants is to group plants together, double pot them, or place them on trays of pebbles. Fill the trays to just below the bottom of the pots with water.

Utilize double potting by placing the plant's established clay pot inside a larger planter, then filling the space between the two with moist peat moss. After double potting, water the soil in the pot once. Water enough for the inner pot to overflow a little. From then on, water the peat moss around the inner pot. Be sure to use a porous pot as the inner planter.


Use soil mixtures that drain well. A homemade potting soil is made of one part perlite, one part peat moss and three parts compost. Adjust the richness of the soil to match the needs of the individual plants. For most tropicals this will mean increasing the amount of compost.

Types of Topical Rainforest Plants

There are many types of rainforest plants grown successfully in the indoor garden.

Tropical Rainforest Plants
Name Type Flower Propagation
Apricot Tomato Bush Yes Seed
Banana Plant Bush Yes Cuttings
Bolivian Puya Bush Yes Seed/Cuttings
Bougainvillea Vine Yes Cuttings
Coffee plant Tree Yes Cuttings
Emerald Ebony Tree Yes Cuttings
Forest Flame Shrub Yes Cuttings
Forest Lilac Tree Yes Seed
Lobster Claw Plant Yes Seeds
Miracle Fruit Bush Yes Seeds/Cuttings
Orchid Plant Yes Propagation
Philodendron Climber No Tip Cuttings
Pony Tail Palm Tree No Seeds
Sancoya Tree Yes Seeds
Tacca Chinensis Plant Yes Bulb Separation

Natural Air Filters

Tropical plants are especially good at filtering the air around them. Since these plants have higher transpiration rates than most other plants, they move the air more quickly. Generally, two large plants per 100 square feet of space do the best job at keeping indoor air clean. There are numerous experiments taking place that utilize plants in public buildings as natural air filters.

A Relaxing Hobby

Tropical houseplants of all kinds became very popular during the 19th century. The Victorians valued the lush growth, unusual colors, and striking flower forms as a way to add beauty to their homes. Botany, especially propagation of tropical plants, became a popular way to spend free time. Then, as now, growing and caring for plants of any type is a relaxing and enjoyable hobby. Rainforest plants are unusual, and add a touch of exotic panache to your home.


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Tropical Rainforest Plants