These Philodendron relatives in the aroid family have huge leaves that give a true tropical look. They are quite hardy, and can resprout from a large tuber, even after freezing to the ground. (Photo from http://briansbotanicals.net/)
Aloes come in every shape and size, from small little rosettes, to large trees of twenty feet or more. Generally the smaller species are the most hardy, but some smaller treelike forms can grow in our area.
Bananas in Sacramento? Absolutely. These herbaceous "trees" can grow fifteen feet tall in one season. In a mild winter, the stems may survive to bloom the following spring, in which case you may get a small supply of fruit.
Begonias are a variable group of plants. The rhizomatous group displays beautiful leaves and can survive winters in protected shady spots in your garden. Cane types have "angel wing" shaped leaves, and sport umbels of red, pink, or white flowers during the warm season. Tuberous types have large flashy flowers.
Tropical appearing as orchids, these pineapple relatives thrive in our hot summers, as long as you remember to keep them filled with water. The water can also moderate the temperature in winter, helping these to survive a light frost. While some tolerate full sun, most prefer dappled shade with short periods of direct sun.
Beautiful leaves, and odd, yet colorful flowers make these a great addition to the tropical looking garden. Even though they die back after summer, they resprout even better the next spring.
(Photo from http://briansbotanicals.net/)
Another big leaved relative of Philodendron. These are perfect to place around your pond, and come back yearly, even if they suffer a killing frost.
The common sago palm, Cycas revoluta, is not a palm at all, but a cycad, a primitive seed-bearing plant that has been around since the age of dinosaurs. There are many other species available from online specialists. These can get quite pricey.
Relatives of the familiar Christmas cactus, these are gangly "jungle cacti" with short lasting, but spectacular flowers. If kept on the dry side during winter, they do well outdoors in areas of dappled shade. In summer they thrive with moist soil.
There are many different genera of gingers, but the easiest to grow are the Hedychiums. These rhizomatous plants can get quite big, and take over your garden if you aren't careful. Some have wonderfully scented flowers; others are scentless.
Members of the Protea family, cousins of Macadamia nuts, believe it or not, these amazing flowers can thrive in a dry garden, with good sun. They take several degrees of frost. Can get a bit straggly, but worth the effort!
Swiss cheese plant outside in Sacramento? If situated properly you can grow these outdoors. Since they like it shady, they can grow under the protection of a broad leaved evergreen tree. With time, and a series of mild winters, these will begin to climb.
With so many species and hybrids of the passion flower, there is surely one suitable for almost any garden. Just be careful, as these can spread. Once you plant one you will never be rid of it. It's probably best to grow these in large pots with a small trellis.
Also called Philodendron selloum, this is another aroid family plant that lends a major tropical air to your garden. There are some specimens growing in Sacramento under just the right conditions to become huge! A smaller hybrid, called 'Hope' has a similar look, but takes much less space.
Staghorn ferns are epiphytes, meaning that they grow upon other plants, which they use for support. Platycerium have two types of leaves: base leaves, or fronds, which help support the plant on a tree trunk, and fertile, spore bearing fronds, which are the familiar "staghorn" shape. While these have water storage ability, they still benefit from good moisture. I water them daily in the summer. Keep them shady.