© Bacchus Palms 2016
Rainforest gardens are peaceful, dark hideaways combining large, dark green leaves with splashes of colour provided by exotic flowers.
Ideally you’ll need some large trees to provide shelter before you begin. Alternatively you might consider a fast-growing bamboo and carefully selected trees if you’re beginning from scratch.
There are numerous tall palms suitable for rainforest gardens. Particularly attractive palms include the King palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), the Juçara palm (Euterpe edulis), the Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana), the Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) and the Norfolk Island Nikau (Rhopalostylis baueri).
Another tall (although somewhat slow growing) palm which can look excellent in deep shade is the Chinese Fan palm (Livistona chinensis).
Smaller palms worthy of consideration include the Cascade palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) and Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea microspadix), the Pigmy Date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) and the Sugarcane palm (Dypsis baronii). A slow growing but very worthy addition is the Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) which thrives in dark spots.
Of course no rainforest would be complete without a decent planting of ferns; both tree ferns and smaller under-plantings.
For big leaves and dramatic effect try Gunnera in damp locations and a healthy mixture of aroids.
Now it’s time for some colour. Not too much but choose from Vireya Rhododendrons, bromeliads, bright splashes of Clivia (particularly around the base of Nikau palms) and fiery New Guinea impatiens. For more subtle tastes you may prefer Cymbidium orchids.
Finally top your creation off with a bamboo wind chime.