Panama is home to an enormous variety of beautiful and unique flowers. The rich volcanic soil in the country provides the perfect fertile ground for flowers of all kinds to grow.
So much so that more than 10,000 species of native plants in Panama can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It is quite simply a flower lover’s heaven.
With so much color and variety on offer, it’s not hard to see why so many people want to learn more about Panamanian flowers, or even try to add some of the spectacular native flowers to their garden.
Whether you love all things plants and want to broaden your horizon, or simply want to see if you can add Central American vibrancy to your yard, there is something for you here.
Despite the extensive amount of incredible flowers found in Panama, in this guide we take a closer look at the most popular and unique flowers native to the country.
We’ll take a look at their characteristics and any uses they may have. If this sounds like something up your alley, make sure you keep reading.
Commonly known as the Flower of The Holy Spirit, the peristeria elata was declared the national flower of Panama in 1980.
This delicate species of orchid also found in Venezuela and Ecuador grows up to 12 cm high with four leaves that can reach 15 cm wide and 1m in length.
Beautifully white flowers with small purple spots emerge from the bulb in bunches of 5-12 flowers. Needing temperatures of 60-70 degrees to grow the peristeria makes a lovely gift.
You will probably recognize the heliconia. Heliconias are one of the most impressive, showy tropical flowers that have a very distinctive appearance.
Sometimes called “lobster claws” as a result of the brightly colored claw-like flowers, the heliconia plant needs plenty of sun and water to grow.
The claw-like bracts of the heliconia hang in clusters that can be red, pink, green, yellow, and red in color.
The white starflower is a small bulbous perennial that produces a delightfully sweet scent. Blooming in mid to late spring the fragile blooms sit on top of onion-scented foliage and lush green leaves.
The flower on this plant is star-shaped and silvery-white in color with a tiny yellow center. White star flowers are typically used to add a sweet, yet grassy flavor to culinary dishes.
Most varieties of bromeliad are short-stemmed epiphytes. Usually living in trees or on cacti, they can also grow on the ground. Similar to the lily, the decorative flowers on the bromeliad plant have three parts.
The only difference between the two is the contrasting petals and sepals the bromeliad has as well as a sharper spiky petal. They can be found in red, pink, and orange.
Some bromeliads even produce fruits like pineapple. Growing a bromeliad flower depends a lot on the variety of plant. Some are easy to grow, while others are impossible.
Hot lips is a forest flower that boasts vibrant red flowers that, as you might have guessed, are shaped like a pair of juicy red lips.
A relative of the coffee plant, inside the red lips you will find a smaller white flower that attracts stunning butterflies and the elusive hummingbird.
You can grow your own hot lips by planting them in full sun and by offering them greenhouse protection in the winter.
Poor Man’s Umbrella
Part of the rhubarb family, the poor man’s umbrella flower grows on a broad-leafed forest plant that grows on the ground. It gets its name from the large umbrella-shaped leaves that cover a wide area.
The flower on this plant is pretty strange. It can only be described as a long, pointy red-colored brush. Growing up to 7 feet tall and wide, weighing almost 28lbs you probably shouldn’t plant this one in your garden.
Panama is famous for its coffee so it’s no surprise to see the coffee plant on our list. Grown on an evergreen shrub the coffee plant produces divine fragrant flowers white and pink in color.
Inside these small flowers, the “coffee cherry” is found. The coffee cherry can be purple, yellow, red, orange, blue, or black in color. It is in the center of this cherry where the coffee beans are found.
Roses are used as a symbol of love and affection all around the world and Panama is no different despite this distinctive flower looking quite unique. Panama rose is a fairly small evergreen shrub that has glossy light green leaves.
The plant produces clusters of tiny rose bush flowers that are bright pink and red in color. Occasionally the flowers will also bloom in yellow. To grow a rose for your partner, place the plant in light shade, with well-drained soil, compost, or manure.
Trumpet Floral Tree
As you can probably already guess, the flowers on this tropical shrub or small tree are shaped like a trumpet. The highly fragrant flowers can be pastel pink, red, white, yellow, or orange in color.
They hang from the branches in the summer months. In your garden ensure they have plenty of sun, moist, well-drained soil, and enough space to grow.
This hugely popular perennial plant can be seen in many homes all across Panama. The reason for this is not only its beauty but also how easy it is to care for. This flower can survive easily in shaded gardens, requiring little watering.
The large clusters of pinky-red delicate flowers of the begonia add tropical color to any yard. If you live somewhere cooler but still want to bring Panamanian beauty and tropical vibes to your home, the begonia is a great choice.
Also referred to as false bird-of-paradise, the parrot beak flower is a perennial herb found not only in South America but also in the Caribbean.
This flower is easily recognizable thanks to its exotic beak-like flowers that bloom in pairs in the summer months.
Complete with silver needle-like leaves, this evergreen plant is certain to bring color to your yard. To grow the plant, find a sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil. Water the plant regularly but ensure it is never too wet or too dry.
The hibiscus plant is grown for its large bell-shaped flower that comes in many different colors. Growing in red, yellow, white, and orange, a hibiscus flower has four or five soft, delicate petals and a vibrant protruding filament where the anther sits.
In some cultures, the hibiscus plant is interestingly used as a drink to treat dry coughs and cancers.
Another beautiful orchid flower found in Panama is the bamboo orchid. The flowers on the bamboo orchid plant are purple, white, and red with purple or yellow lips.
Each flower only lasts three or four days, maturing at approximately three or four inches wide. The plant gets its name from the bamboo-like foliage. This flower isn’t actually native to Panama, instead originating in Southeast Asia.
The costus curvibracteatus tropical perennial plant is native to Panama and Costa Rica. Belonging to the spiral ginger family, it is usually referred to by the name orange tulip ginger.
The flower on this plant looks like a bright orange pinecone sitting atop a single stem. Aside from its brilliant color, this flower is also grown to add a sweet, nutritious taste to food.
Elephant Ear Vine
This perennial woody climbing vine grows up to 10m tall. Typically used as a garden decoration the vine has in some locations been recorded as an invasive species.
The fast-growing vine has large, hairy leaves that are shaped like a heart and trumpet-shaped flowers that come in pink and white. The lovely flowers grow to 5 cm in diameter.
As nice as this plant looks, we don’t recommend you plant it unless you have the time to keep it under control.
There are actually over 400 types of annual, perennial bellflower that make up the Campanula family. Panama has a large selection of different varieties.
The bellflower has a characteristically bell-shaped flower that makes the perfect garden ornamental piece or a pretty addition to a bouquet. They come in many different colors including, red, blue, pink, and yellow.
Creeping beggarweed is a broadleaf perennial that flowers all year round in tropical climates. In subtropical climates, it will only bloom in the summer. The flower is only small, but it looks cute and charming.
They are usually pink and purple in color. It does not grow well in wet poorly drained landscapes so you may need to keep it in a greenhouse if you don’t live somewhere warm and dry.
This is an annual plant that grows to 24 inches in height. The true color of the raspberry-shaped flowers is magenta, but when cultivated colors can vary. The flower also comes in purple, white, lilac, red, and pink.
Each solitary flower is only small in size, made up of tiny layers of vibrant petals. The flower can be preserved and used to make tea full of health benefits or simply placed in a flower bed to add color.
Panama is bursting at the seams with vibrant blooms that vary massively in shape, size, conditions needed to grow, and their uses.
As you can see from our list plants in Panama are mostly tropical, coming with unique, vibrant colors that make any garden look better. However, that’s not all Panamanian flowers are good for.
Aside from looking amazing, a lot of the flowers have other uses. Some are good for making tea and coffee, whilst others can even be used to treat illnesses.
Hopefully, our list has broadened your knowledge and maybe given you some inspiration about tropical flowers you can find in Panama or even add to your garden.
A lot of the flowers on our list can be grown in your yard so why not dive a little deeper now you’ve read our list and see how to successfully grow some of these wonderful Panamanian flowers.