The Tiki Torch & the Exotic Tropical Garden

26 Nov


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When we think of a tiki torch our mind travels to exotic islands. Indeed, it has been their form of lighting for many years. No wonder so many people use them for outdoor decoration as much as solar garden lights. The torch provides the tropical feel while at the same time adding a wonderful touch to our garden decor.

Tiki torches are very popular with beach themed weddings. Sometimes you might need the torches for just that special occasion or decorating an event in particular. Easy and light to transport, you don’t need any type of electricity near the area so you are basically free to place them anywhere you please. They are also cheap to buy, which makes them even more attractive when thinking of our garden decoration.

A tiki torch consists of a base follows by a pole and flame-bearer at the very top. A wick absorbs oil at the bearer making it burn for quite a long time.


Materials – When it comes to materials, a favorite is the inexpensive bamboo tiki torch. While this hand-make look provides your garden with the island vibe and feel, you can also find them in ceramic, metal, glass, mosaic, stainless steel, brass or copper, but they will be more expensive. Tiki torch wicks are made of fiberglass or cotton and they work by being dipped in the chosen fuel.

Tiki Torch Fuel – Fuel types range from natural or propane gas to paraffin oil and electricity. Use citronella tiki torches if you want to repel the insects in your garden and add the same time let out nice fragrances. Gas tiki torches will burn non-stop, and are great for more windy areas –they don’t go out that easily – but you are compromising on the general ambience as they don’t have the glow and warmth bamboo ones do.

Add the Tropical Touch with a Tiki Torch - courtesy of sxc.hu

Add the Tropical Touch with a Tiki Torch – courtesy of sxc.hu

If you want your tiki torch for a special event or just to last you that summer, bamboo tiki torches are the ones to go for. For a more durable torch you should purchase metal ones. Ceramic torches are very delicate when it comes to handling – they can break easily – .

Safety – Be careful and never light your tiki torch indoors. When lighting them, be aware of what is around them and also of children being near you. Electric torches are safe for indoors, and although the look is not even close to the real thing, you can have peace of mind if there are children and pets around it.

Sizes and styles – Also think of sizes when buying the torches. Some of them can be attached to your decking rails, so there is no need to make holes on the grass. 15” to 20” ones are perfect to add around the pool and along the paths. Table tops are also available. Common higher torches look great scattered around the garden or patio.

Here is a summary on the different types of tiki torches:

Bamboo Tiki Torch – It will last about ten to twelve hours depending on the size of the fuel bearer. They don’t release burning bits of paper unlike wood torches.

Metal torches – Great for windy conditions and no release of burning bits of paper. They can be filled with gas or oil and will last you for as long as you keep refilling/substituting the fuel.

Electric torches – Hassle-free; light for as long as they are switched on, great if there are any pets or children around, can be used indoors.


An nice alternative for garden lighting is the solar tiki torch. They are quite new in the market but becoming increasingly popular. You can grab one for as little as $20, although they go up in price up to a few hundred. Cheap models tend to “glow in a more red” sort of color and are great to just add a touch of light here and there, while the more expensive ones give out a more white glow. The obvious advantages are the no-danger factor, no oil or gas that you would need to replace every so often, no switch-flipping and the fact that you just bury them and forget. They should last you a bit longer than the 5 to 10 hours it says on the package, but the light does dim considerably. But the main difference between the cheaper versions and more expensive ones lies really in the color of the glow. Be aware that in winter a solar tiki torch won’t be able to take much energy in due to the few hours of sunlight.

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