Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Plants for Balinese style Gardens

The main Balinese Garden page gives an overview of this and similar tropical style gardens, in addition to more information about accessories (staues, thatched huts etc) and where to buy them. It also has an extensive collection of links to other websites providing information and ideas.

This page continues the discussion about plants and planting started on that page.

The term "Balinese" here refers to a contemporary tropical garden style inspired by the gardens of Bali, but not necessarily authenic replicas. You can use a wide variety of tropical (or tropical-looking) plant material without being limited to those popular with the Balinese.

The good news is that if you live in Qld, you may already have many of the basics in your backyard, like palms and frangipani.

Most gardens in Queensland will have a some tropical species such as palms, hibiscus, and frangipani. Many others could be incorporated into the desgn, giving a look of instant maturity as well as saving money. Supplement these with some additions from nurseries (see Where to buy).

Around the base of your trees and shrubs, mass planting of groundcovers create swathes of colour and texture in a casual yet controlled manner.

Dot bold accent plants, in the ground or in decorative containers, around the garden to create focal points. Spiky "architectural" plants are favourites for this purpose. e.g Bismarkia palm (while young), oversized bromeliads, Furcraea.

Modern interpretations of the Balinese garden style tend to emphasise foliage for ease of maintenace and year-round interest. If splashes of colour are what you want, there are many species with vivid foliage colours. Flowers add additional interest.

Plant Suggestions

Almost any plant with a tropical look can be used if they suit the site in other respects (size, climate etc). Here are some suggestions:

Coleus (Solenostemon)
and many more...

Regional Variations

With a good foundation of tropical plants, you could easily give the garden a different "flavour" (e.g. Thai, South Pacific, Central America) with appropriate accessories, especially statues and other ornamentation.

Having said that, a little research into your region of interest may suggest signature plants can help develop your theme further. e.g. orchids for a Thai theme.

Extra uses for plants

However, consider some at least some flowering plants to provide floral decorations or offerings for your statues, altars or water features. You may wish to incorporate flowers into table displays (although foliage can of course be used also) for a special occasion or just want to be able to pick a blossom to put behind your ear as you stroll through the garden. If you're creating a Hawaiian or Pacific Island theme, you might like to select flowers suitable for making leis.

Fortunately, there are many easy-to-grow flowering trees and shrubs which can provide flowers and provide screening or shade as well. As you go along, you may want to add some ornamental gingers and heliconias (which also have tropical-look foliage), orchids or other flowering species.

Shade and privacy are very important considerations in most gardens, especially if you're planning to use the garden for entertaining or other activities. As you you plan your major plantings, you may wish to evaluate where screening and shading are most important. Of course you must also take proximity to foundations, utilities etc into account also.

You might also like to incorporate some tropical fruit trees , herbs and spices characteristic of the region, especially if you like to cook or make exotic-looking cocktails.

(If you like the idea of creating your own bit of tropical paradise at home, there are more thoughts and ideas here: Tropilocus.)

Pruning Idea

You may wish to retain bushier trees and shrubs on the periphery for privacy and the sense of an enclosed Balinese family compound. In and around the most used areas, however, you can makeover some existing shrubs and small trees by neatly pruning away low-hanging foliage and small lower branches.


This reveals the scultptural form and texture of the main trunks and major branches. It also creates lightly shaded living or gardening space underneath.

Quick Trick

Create massed plantings from cheap and fast growing plants like coleus, iresine, rhoeo, ornamental grasses, gingers, cannas. Bold grouping of single varieties is the key.

Over time supplement or replace with bromeliads, crotons etc.

Where to buy plants suitable for "Balinese" style gardens in Qld

The main Balinese Garden page has a directory of suppliers of various goods and services suitable for "Balinese" and other tropical style landscapes.

In Queensland, most general garden centres will probably have a good selection of suitable plants, especially in the tropical and subtropical parts of the state. If you're new to gardening, this would be a good place to start.

Eventually, you may wish to expand your collection to include a greater range of species or unusual varieties. In this case you may wish to explore some of the nurseries which specialise in particular plants. Click on the links in the list above to go to the relevant plant page to look for specialist nurseries.

Even if you don't need anything particularly unusual, many specialist nurseries supply by mail order or freight, which may be useful if you don't have a good garden centre nearby (check with the supplier regarding areas serviced)

If looking for very large sizes, try the Advanced Plants page.

NB: suppliers of Balinese statues, flags, huts etc to Qld plus some tropical plant nurseries will be listed here.

Other Information Online

JJ T1 Bromeliads Caves Beach, Bromeliad Garden Ideas for creating a Balinese look with bromeliads. Central Coast NSW Bromeliad Society
ASEAN National Flowers Association of Southeast Asian Nations

For more about overall design of "Balinese" and other tropical resort-style gardens, go to the main Balinese Garden page.

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