Who hasn’t spotted a banana tree or a flowering hibiscus and caught themselves dreaming of places more tropical and inviting? Tropical plants seem to conjure up images of palm trees, sandy beaches and warm breezes. So why not bring a little bit of the tropics to your own garden this year?
What are Tropicals?
Plants that originate from warm climates and enjoy being outside over the summer are often referred to as tropicals. Although these plants are long-lived, they need to be brought indoors over winter as they are not cold hardy. Some choose to simply enjoy them for the season, whilst others overwinter plants and enjoy them for years to come. Most popular tropicals have showy displays of exquisite flowers, for instance Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Tibouchina and Bird-of-Paradise. Others delight with both beauty and sweet fragrance such as Jasmine, Gardenia and Angel’s Trumpet; and others still attract butterflies and hummingbirds into our gardens including Lantana, Shrimp Plant and Mandevilla.
Many tropical plants can be quite resilient once outside if placed in a suitable location. To reduce the need for watering repot plants into larger containers or plant directly into the ground. Fertilizing plants over the summer, deadheading and avoiding excessive drying will help ensure a continuous bloom. Be aware that plants can become stressed if the pot/roots heat repeatedly, something that is common when pots sit on hard surfaces, especially asphalt. Putting the right plant in the right place cannot be stressed enough! So if you have an area where the sun beats down relentlessly, choose a plant that thrives in those conditions. If you have a lack of sun, resist getting a sun-lover, instead find a plant that enjoys some shade. This will help ensure plants are healthy and resilient, and therefore better able to fend off any pest or disease attacks. And don’t forget to position plants to provide maximum enjoyment; keeping fragrant and pollinator plants close to seating areas, and highly aesthetic plants in high-visibility areas.
Overwintering is always the tricky part of tropical care and for this reason many choose to discard plants in autumn. Others cannot bring themselves to throw away these long-lived plants. If so, try to find a cool area that receives some natural light, and allow plants to go semi-dormant by scaling down the watering to the bare minimum, and not fertilizing. Plants might not look slightly, but they are alive, and come late spring when light and temperature levels increase, plants will leaf out again. Some plants can be kept as houseplants over winter in warmer temperatures and provide winter interest. Try to ensure plants are pest-free before bringing them inside. Inspect plants thoroughly, hose them down, and if necessary, treat them with an organic pesticide. Give the product time to take effect whilst outdoors, and then keep away from other plants and monitor closely when indoors.
At Pesche’s we offer a fantastic selection of quality, tropical plants sourced directly from Florida and California, so stop in today and be inspired!
Popular Sun Tropicals
- Angels’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)
- Citrus (Lemon/Orange/Mandarin/Lime)