Even if you live in a cool, temperate place, you can work at maintaining a tropical garden. You have to do plenty of research and maintenance to provide the plants a modified climate that is close to their natural climate as possible. Tropical plants are very beautiful and unique, and growing them is very rewarding. The following rules will help your garden to succeed.
Plan! You need to plan before anything else. Planning is always important in gardening, but it is extra important for tropical gardens.
Location, location, location – A tropical garden needs to be in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. Also, the area should be highly visible, since you likely want your plants to be seen and to be a focal point in your yard.
Soil – The whole area should be tilled to get rid of any debris. You should then add sand and compost for fertilization. The soil needs plenty of nutrients. After you finish planting, you should place dark mulch on top to help the soil retain moisture.
Irrigation – Tropical plants need a lot of moisture, so you should water them daily. You can do this with an underground soaker hose irrigation system, and by watering them by hand. You must have great drainage though, because over watering the tropical plants is very bad for them.
Layering – For viewing purposes, the tallest plants should be in the back, medium sized plants in the middle, and smallest plants should be up front. This will also help you to access the back more easily, since you can reach over the smaller plants.
Winterizing — You must bring plants in your tropical landscape design indoors for the winter. To make this as easy as possible, you should keep them in pots. You can dig up the pots in the late fall, clean them off, and take them indoors. The inside of your home will look great in the winter months! You can replant the pots in the spring. You should till the soil and add compost again each spring.
After everything is planned and set up, you can buy the plants. The following list includes plenty of colorful, unique options:
- Banana trees (get the dwarf variety unless you want huge trees).
- Elephant ears (a wide variety of colors and sizes available).
- Purple-heart (Secrecia).
- Croton (will need to take indoors during the winter).
- Kalanchoe (come in a variety of colors).
- Ornamental grasses (Cardinal Lobelia, New Zealand Flax, Miscanthus Cabaret).
- Carpet Geraniums.
- Bamboo (Golden Goddess).
- Cannas (many colors to choose from).
- Ginger plants.