Growing temperate plants in a tropical climate.

Okay I better make some initial qualifiers here so please bear with me a little.

I am aware of legal and actual ethical considerations regarding introducing non indigenous flora to a new region or country. I am aware that even with the best will in the world, without stringent controls there is a risk of introducing viruses and pathogenic organisms along with your intended product.

I don’t intend to do anything illegal or put the local environment at risk.

Now I said the foregoing because I know the microscopic analysis and pedantry that this board can deliver.

I also know that I sometimes don’t make the best decisions so I am welcoming the microscopic analysis and board pedantry in critiquing my evolving plans for my soon to be semi retirement plans to enjoy my free time!

If I can twitter on a bit longer without losing you I will say that although I am just typical Eurotrash I live in Philippines and love my life here and consider it home.

I miss very little about the UK and never even bother to read any news about that part of the world apart from checking on the (non) progress of my home town football team (Tony Mowbray please leave now!)

What I do miss though is Temperate climate fruit and flowers!

Yap plain and simply that. Sure I love Rambutan, Mangosteen, Pineapple and Mangoes (hate Jackfruit and Durien) but I really really miss Gooseberries, Blackberries, Elder Berries, Logan Berries and Kumquat, Black Currants, Red Currants. Also I miss English Cottage garden flowers like Lupin, Delphinium, Clematis, Hollyhocks, Primroses, Violets and climbing roses. Trees I miss so thinking that maybe I can plant a pear tree for perry cider.

And now it happens that I have a parcel of land that I can try to grow things.

I am opening a roadside resto with one of my Pinay friends, the deal is that she runs the resto and the extra land I can try recreate a garden and hopefully recreate a little bit of English countryside.

Accepting that I will fulfill all legal requirements as regards importing seeds, etc and make full disclosure at every required stage.

What can go wrong? What will adapt? What will succumb to the tropical environment and what is the basic flaw in my idea?

Okay if you read through this then here is a short fanfic youtube video in tribute of a man who died 7 years ago this week and was was the founder of the most influential British band in history.

Shine on Syd

What can go wrong, you’ve pretty much laid out. Species can be invasive.


You certainly aren’t the first person to want to grow those crops in tropical locales.
Any that can be adapted to the climate and daylength probably already have been.
A trip to the main nursery might be a really productive day.

If you have to breed the plants yourself, the process is slow but straightforward.
Start a bunch from seed, take the best survivors, breed, repeat. Once you get a good line, start cloning.
Elevation can help a bit, growing up on a mountain might be easier than in a valley.

Then there’s indoor gardening.
If you have the space and resources, an indoor garden allows you to control temps and day length as you like.
You can’t grow trees that way, but flowers would be quite possible.

Of your list, Kumquat should do OK in the tropics - although they are amongst the hardiest of citrus (OK, *Fortunella[/i), I don’t believe they absolutely require a period of winter dormancy.

Blackberries - there are tropical species of Rubus that might serve as adequate substitutes.

I think you may find that the gooseberries and currants will grow, but the fruit, if produced, will mature too quickly and rot or be tasteless.

I feel for the OP, seeing that some years ago I moved to southeast Texas after having lived in temperate climes all my life, and wanted to grow a lot of the plants I knew and enjoyed there in my new home.

I succeeded to some extent (also incorporating plants that were native to and thrived in my new location). Overall, though, I wish I’d accepted climatic limitations more and concentrated almost exclusively on things adapted to warm humid climes.

There should be garden clubs or university horticulture departments in the OP’s area that can advise on temperate zone plants adapted to tropical growing (at least part of the year). But I’d enjoy the tropical stuff as much as possible.

Also: I doubt highly that non-tropical fruits, lilacs, delphiniums and other northern denizens are going to invade tropical areas. A more realistic threat are heat-tolerant plants from tropical/subtropical zones remote from the OP’s location.

Blackberry and elderberry are potential weeds in tropical climates. They are hard to control because birds can spread the seeds. Gooseberries and currants need colder winters to fruit properly. There is a kind of tropical blueberry you can get that might work for you.

Most of those flowers will not cope with the heat of the tropics. ‘Iceberg’ is a white rose that does OK. You can get it as a climber or a bush.

For pears you could try nashi pears.

^^^ agreed invasion by northern species is unlikely.
Also there might be ‘expatriate’ clubs where people from the UK have dealt with this previously.

aNewleaf for sure you are right about plants adapting to daylight hours. Although I said I live in Phils, currently I am working in Korea (Dong-Gu) I tried growing herbs and stuff on my balcony here but plants like coriander ( cilantro to you colonials ) grew about two straggly inches then immediately bolted to flowers and seeds just because of the temperature rise. Tomatoes did reasonably well but most other herbs were really ***ing disappointing

Weedy Yey! Great name subject combo! Apart from birds eating fruits and then potentially dispersing seeds ( which stupidly ) I hadn’t thought about, do you think its viable to grow plants which would normally happily live as a temperate climate perennial (sp) for example Delphiniums in a tropical climate as an annual or … I don’t know Bi-annual?

I don’t want to say’ never’, because with plants as soon as you say “this plant won’t grow here” someone will pop up who has been happily growing it for the last 5 years. But in general, I don’t think any of those flowers will grow in the tropics. Either it will be too hot for them, and they will bolt to seed, or fungal diseases will get them.

Sometimes you can grow things in the shade over winter, esp if you have a cool spot. But then they might not flower. Higher altitude would help.

You can get varieties of coriander that are slower to bolt. A balcony can be very hot, so make sure they get plenty of water and keep them in the shade if possible. Shading the actual pot will help to keep the roots cool.

I found a list in one of my books of annuals for tropical climates. Maybe there are some here that would appeal to you:

Busy Lizzie (Impatiens)
Begonias (prefers some shade)
Bells of Ireland (Molucella)
Candytuft (Iberis)
Cockscomb (Celosia)
Floss Flower (Ageratum)
Marigold (Tagetes, not Calendula)
Polyanthus (needs shade)
Spider-flower (Cleome)

Coreopsis, Celosia, Cleome, Ageratum and Impatiens can be invasive if the wind can blow the seeds somewhere like a vacant lot or the side of road. They are all considered weeds in North Queensland, which might have a similar climate, but I don’t know anything about weed problems in the Philippines. Nasturtiums can spread as well, but you can pull them out, as long as you don’t let them get out of hand.

At an elevation above 1 km asl, tropical countries has pine forests, some of which have perpetual fog, and where one can grow strawberries, lettuce, carrots and roses.

Yes Baguio to the north of Manila and Tagaytay to the south are higher and noticeably cooler.

Blackberries are grown on the mountainous areas of Costa Rica (relatively cool, very humid places), I don’t know how well they’d do in your location.

Interesting topic. Here’s some information on gardening clubs in the Philippines.

Some of them seem to be mostly interested in native plants–& in conservation. They’ll let you know what might be invasive. (The River Oaks Garden Club has a contract out on anybody who dares introduce kudzu to Houston.) And I’ll bet some of them are interested in “exotic” plants.

Mostly, a plant won’t become invasive if it doesn’t to well in the area. Here in Houston, you can plant hollyhocks or foxgloves in the fall, hoping they will have time to bloom before the heat kicks in & kills them. Some people invest in tulip bulbs & chill them before planting; they might bloom one season but will not naturalize. Lilacs will not bloom here. Somebody recently did develop a blueberry that bears fruit in Texas.

The Antique Rose Emporium was begun by rosarians looking for varieties that did well in Texas. Not quite tropical, but quite hot–sometimes wet but often dry as a bone.

I’ve actually planted and successfully grown 5 apple trees, 2 cherry and persimmon trees here in phils

Interesting. How did you get around the winter cold treatment requirement for the apple and cherry trees. They both need quite a few hours of cold temps to flower/fruit correctly. Maybe you planted some of the newer ultra low chill hour varieties ?


Back in 2005, I was eating an apple (Fuji variety) bought from the supermarket and I was surprised that 2 of its seeds have already sprouted, so I planted them and today they’re already tall and bearing!.. During October 2014, I really wanted to plant an apple again but I haven’t stumbled any fruit that have seeds already sprouted inside, so I did a research about sprouting temperate fruit trees and I have read this Stratification method. I used the wet tissue-ziplock technique and tried it on Apples (4 Fuji, 4 Gala and 4 Washington varieties) and 9 Cherry seeds (I have no clue about the variety but it came from Brazil). I stocked the ziplock bags in the fridge during the 26th of October. The apples sprouted in December (Well not all at the same time but some sprouted week by week and all of them finished sprouting in the first week of January). The cherries sprouted in January and I transferred them all in a black plastic pot with a potting mix. Sadly all of the apples died in April except for the one that came from the Fuji fruit. The cherries are slow growers but they didn’t last long too (They recently died just a month after I made a reply in this post… How rude! :confused: )… I didn’t give up anyway so I tried the technique again. I stored the Apples (4 Gala, 4 Washington var.) in the 3rd of June 2015. They sprouted in August but some didn’t make it that far, I am now left with 3 Apples (plus the 2 mature ones from our old house so that makes them 5 in total). In October I stratified 3 Persimmon seeds (from the Japanese var.) and they sprouted late in January and they’re currently doing well.


A: Washington var. (8mos old) B: Gala var. (8mos) C: Fuji var. (1y)
I understand that the seeds do not grow true to their cultivars and they’re probably hybrid, I’m still naming them from the fruit they came from so I can note their differences.




*Japanese Persimmon

Sadly I currently have no pictures of the 2 bearing apples, I planted them in our old house in Guimaras, Philippines… I’m now living in Iloilo city (also in phils) studying in a university.

…By the way I’m also growing grapes :slight_smile:

I’d like to join the thread since i recently imported some plants and am ignorant of many temperate conditions these plants are exposed to, -i am a local and have not been anywhere abroad. Im here for your comments and suggestions.

i’m from Cebu and is temp has reached 37/40 C this year. And been buying seeds/bulbs/corms from UK, AU, Germany, USA and some countries. No phytosanitary certificates when they arrived, took the risk but i received all i purchased. All are declared, they all passed thru customs.

Gerbera seeds i bought from Spain grew while many did died. Liliums grew but stunned and i still have to check if the bulbs are still there. schedule became tight when mom got sick. Gladiola grew, flower but the corms are smaller. Calla Lily grew and flowered, just once, have to remove and plant somewhere else. all has to do with CEBU whether, very hot indeed and soil, its heavy clay and has not really amended it. Morning glory (pink) has grown, flowered and seeded so it can regrow -collected the seeds to plant more for the fence.

using the ziplock method, never successful. so i quit buying seeds and found out i can buy plants, 1-2 yr old. and just this quarter i have ordered plants from Belgium and UK. Belgium arrived about 20 days or more not less, it was express. The plants arrived well and alive. I have purchased WISTERIA, BLACK GRAPES and KIWI. Its almost a month since they’ve arrived. WISTERIA has leaves and hasn’t wilted, the KIWI too. While the grapes almost died, it has to do with the condition upon purchase but its very well alive.

My plants ordered from UK took more than a month to arrive. I was discouraged but lucky it just arrived last week 12/2/2016 and all are alive despite delay. I ordered PERUVIAN LILY, GRAPES(GRAFTED), PRUNUS NIPPONICA, LILAC, CLEMATIS YUKIKOMACHI. All alive and well considering they’re just a days old here with me.

Reading earlier post makes me cross my fingers on ordering these plants… all the more order OLD ENGLISH LAVENDER that is yet to arrive this month or next together with the climbing roses and PICEA Tree.

We have strawberries here in CEBU which i bought the plants locally in Danao and they’re bearing fruits. My bro brought some to Bohol for propagation since my uncle is a farmer and would like to try out & grow some there. Dont know which variety but i can show pix on my google account.

I do plan to buy grafted apples but it will be next year since i run out of funds!!! hehehe! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.