About Us



Subtropica is owned and run by

Claire Leighton.

Claire has been an enthusiastic gardener all her life, and when the opportunity arose to run Subtropica Nursery, she seized it with both hands.

Since her recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome*(see below), Claire has been building the stock up and increasing the variety of subtropical edibles. She is always on the lookout for rare and unusual plants that can grow in NZ. If you have something we might be interested in, drop us an email.



We send our plants from Subtropica to you by courier

Claire enjoying a ride on Diva, with Rangi along for the walk.




Extensive orchards are attached to the nursery and run around the outside of a horse paddock. These brave plants have to battle a number of things for survival. Those that venture too close to the fences are trimmed by the horses.

There are the prevailing westerly winds, and the occasional cyclones that blast in from the north and east.

misi luki banana
tropical apricot




Many of the plants were originally planted into the mostly clay slopes, between patches of gorse (which have almost been eradicated in the orchards now).  As Subtropica is located in Northland there is the ever present kikuyu which threatens to engulf any plant which doesn’t grow fast enough.

Despite the abundant kikuyu and the gorse, the property is largely run organically. Roughly twice a year some of the gorse has to be sprayed or cut down and the stumps painted with Round up.




myoga ginger

pineapple growing in the nursery

Giant guava trees line one of the fencelines giving extensive shelter and produce enough fruit to satisfy the birds, the possums, and the humans. Subtropica is home to a number of varieties of banana trees. Cherimoyas and casimiroa trees are dotted into sheltered places in the orchards which provide delicious feasts of creamy fruit in season. An increasing number of different types of ginger plants grow in the orchards and home garden.  Rainbow Valley paw paws, Babacos, Pabachi add a sculptural element. Tucked away on a steep, west facing hill, surrounded by native bush, there are some of the more unusual plants like lychee, longan, and Jack fruit.


          Giant Red Guava                            White Brugmansia      Rainbow Valley Pawpaw    Ponderosa Lemon       Capuli Cherry              Abyssinian Banana


If you want to visit the nursery, you are welcome, but you must make an appointment . We don't keep set hours and visits are by appointments only. email info@subtropica.co.nz and make a day and time.


* Claire fully recovered from CFS after 16 years by learning the technique called the Lightning Process. This technique has proven very effective for CFS and Fibromyalgia and other conditions. You can look it up online- Click on website for practitioners for NZ : www.iancleary.com or Mel Abbott . Claire would be very happy to answer questions if you are interested to know more.


To contact us please Enter your details below or

Email: orders@subtropica.co.nz

Email Address *


Please note that plants are delivered within New Zealand only.
Email: orders@subtropica.co.nz
Address: Massey Road,RD2,
Waipu, Northland
New Zealand

Subtropica supplies edible and ornamental subtropical plants to New Zealand. We provide banana, avocado, casana, cherimoyas and unusual fruits that grow easily in our climate. Plants are grown organically without the use of chemical fertilisers or sprays.
Plants include Misi Luki, Australian Ladyfinger, avocado, Hass, Reed,casana, cherimoya, casimiroa, white sapote, papaya, pawpaw, Rainbow Valley pawpaw, persimmon, Fuyu, lucuma, Chilean guava, tropical guava, babaco, passionfruit, vanilla passionfruit, ligularis, amarind, macadamia, mulberry, tamarillo, orange tamarillo, yellow tamarillo, datura, brugmansia, sugar cane, canna, guava, ginger. We also stock Davidson's plum, fig, Ventura, monstera, myoga, banna grass, inga, pepino, turmeric, naranjilla, coffee, cardomom, stevia, cardamom, pomegranate, quadrangularis, tea, taro, kei apple, arrowroot, Chinese quince, Bolivian fuchsia, Surinam cherry, butia capitata, Japanese raisin, kava, lemon grass, Vietnamese mint, anui, Abyssinian banana, papyrus, rose apple, Andean walnut, citrus, grapefruit, orange, Vaniglia, lime, Kaffir lime,aloe vera, pitaya, wine palm.
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