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The wild side of your garden
Garden Path

The wild side of your garden

by Faye Peterson 3 min. 06.05.2023
Cultivate your own jungle space in the garden this spring
Tropical rainforest plants and bushes like ferns, palms and philodendrons can be added to a more basic jungle garden.
Tropical rainforest plants and bushes like ferns, palms and philodendrons can be added to a more basic jungle garden.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Layered leaves, contrasting textures and unusual shapes feature strongly in a faux jungle landscape.  But, tropical planting schemes do not need tender plants.  Hardy specimens can be used to recreate a wild look in Luxembourg’s cooler climate.  

Large and Leafy

Foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa)

Sometimes referred to as the Princess or Empress tree.  Left to bloom it can grow between 8-10 metres high and produce scented, foxglove-esque flowers in spring.  For a jungle canopy without the blooms, pollard each autumn or winter by cutting back growth to the body, or trunk, of the plant. It will form a head of branches that encourages formation of large, prehistoric-looking leaves the following year.         

Brown Turkey Fig (Ficus)   

Suitable for a balcony or courtyard gardens.  These container loving plants suit sheltered, sunny areas.   Choose varieties like Brown Turkey or Brunswick that are known for their hardiness and fruit-bearing ability.   A compact tree that will add a little drama to any jungle display in your garden.   

Bold and Bushy


Go all-out Gondwana with this medium-size, evergreen shrub.  With palmate leaves, pollinator-friendly flowers and black fruits in autumn, this plant makes a great addition to indoor or outdoor spaces. Choose a variety like Japanese Fatsia and plant out now in a sheltered spot.  Water and fertilise regularly, covering the base with mulch or dead matter during wintertime to conserve and protect from the cold. 


A divisive addition to your jungle room. This plant's poisonous leaves hang from the end of its edible pink stalks. Many adore the taste of rhubarb and a number of culinary dishes are made from it. But, for every lover there's a hater, and countless people will give this plant a wide berth. Rhubarb normally produces full harvests after four years and remains productive for ten.

Tree Ferns

Technically not a tree, these slender trunked ferns were around long before dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Slow growing, hardy and disease resistant, they make a perfect addition to a jungle theme. Opt for robust varieties like Dicksonia antarctica that will tolerate cooler temperatures and plant now in a cool, sheltered spot and water regularly.  Come winter, use the dying fronds to cover the crown of the plant, where the stem meets the roots, for warmth and protection in addition to a layer of straw and decaying leaf matter.  

Low and Leafy

Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus')

A wild garden needs a wild-sounding plant and zebra grass is it. It is a deciduous ornamental with upright green blades of grass banded with horizontal ivory stripes. Plant in a sunny spot of well-drained soil between now and September. Cut back in winter or early spring before new shoots of growth appear. 

Japanese spurge (Pachysandra)

Pachysandra will provide a carpet of leaves and early summer flowers in your jungle den.  Shade loving with a propensity for acidic soil.  Plant between now and September for year round cover.     

No Mow May 

Want to dip your toe in the wild side?  Then No Mow May could be for you.  It’s a catchy title with real benefits for conservation, especially where wildflowers, pollinators and biodiversity is concerned. Allowing a small patch of grass to grow unchecked for one month offers real benefits to wildlife and, by default, humans too.  So, what are you waiting for? Go! Liberate your lawns!  


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