The Garden Plant
Tropical Plants

Great Tropical Plants for Indoor and Outdoor Gardens

I live in South Florida, about 25 miles from the primary source of Tropical Plants in America. Going to the grow farms in Homestead you will see acres for as far as the eye can see of just Bouganvilla’s. Go to the next farm and see Ficus Benjamin Trees and Bushes at different stages of growth for as far as the eye can see.

Tropical Plant for sale

I remember going to a cactus grower and seeing some of the tallest, healthiest cactuses I have ever seen. There were plants there that would cost thousands to be purchased and placed in an office lobby in New York City. During that visit to the cactus grower, the prices were low. You could get a 5 foot tall San Pedro cactus with two stalks in the grow pot for 45-50 bucks. The further that plant had to travel north, the more that plant would cost. To get that plant to Atlanta and in-home or office would cost the final user close to 600.00 USD.

Tropical plants
Tropical Plants in the garden

That being said, it’s interesting to see the inflation that happens to your home plants from the source to its final installed location. I remember working homes and offices in Atlanta, and how much customers were paying for 5-foot Raphis Palms. But being in South Florida and seeing Raphis’, Ming Aerlas and other luxury plants used as hedges in front of people’s homes.

 Tropical Plants Care

Topicals plants for the home are relatively easy to care for down here in South Florida. But growing and maintaining tropicals in your home and porches in the North or even places as far south as Atlanta can be tough. What you’re going to need to have optimally healthy Tropical plants indoors is a South facing windows. Almost anyone with south-facing windows can grow Tropicals indoors. East and west-facing windows will do, most of the time, but the plant will need more attention from their owners. These plants should not sit in direct sunlight all day, Four or five hours of direct light and then indirect light will be best for your indoor and outdoor tropicals. This is how these plants live in the wild-lots of canopy light. Plants should be watered every 10 to 14 days. 10 if it’s a hot sun, 14 if there were rainy days mixed into the sun.

Tropical Plants for the House

Over my years of landscaping indoors and out, I have always incorporated Tropical plants in my indoor and outdoor scapes. When I lived in areas that weren’t the best for growing tropical plants, I would leave the Plants in their grow pots and dig a hole and place the grow pot in it. I would then pull the plant indoors during winter months. Now that I live in South Florida, it’s fun and almost weird to be able to work with tropical plants in your outdoor landscape.

The thing to know about landscaping in Zone 11 is once the plant gets in the ground and water in the plants don’t die, almost the opposite, plants in South Florida grow at prehistoric rates. You can plant a tropical and come back in a year, and that plant will be 2-3-4 times the size it was. I had never seen plants grow like this, but I understand why. First, the condition is perfect for growth. Plants in tropical settings get washed from the rain, making for very clear photosynthesis. That along with the intense sun and the ocean breeze and you have plants growing at a tremendous rate.

tropical plant
Tropical Plant sin the Home


Tropical Plants for the Garden

Tropical plants that I like in outdoors landscapes include; variegated Arbicolas, variegated Reflexas, both of these plants never die, just place them and forget them. I love Adinda Palms, Birds of Paradise, Raphis Palms, Sago Palms, Madagasgar Palms, and Bouganvillas. Both of these last two Palms are guarded with spikes throughout their bodies. They are excellent specimens in the landscapes. Another plant that you see a lot in South Florida landscapes is the Pencil cactus’, a plant I see used as hedges all of the time.

Flowering Tropical Plants

Tropical flowering Orchids are also being introduced back into the outdoor landscape in South Florida. When we first moved here, you would rarely see Orchids in public outdoor settings. But cities and private citizens have begun a push to reintroduce Phalenopis Orchids to the trees around town. The city of Miami Beach just planted over a thousand orchids in North Beach.
Flowering tropicals like Yellow Mandevilles, Hibiscus, Angel Trumpets, Gardenias, and Plumeria, are excellent garden plants when placed in the right light.

Tropical Plants Outdoors

Tips on staging outdoor or indoor landscapes; I start my landscape with the Specimen or feature plant this plant usually has height and looks out over the plants, this plant is usually the eye-catcher or most expensive plant in the garden. In front of your specimen plant should be a filler of plants that are shorter than the specimen plant. if your Specimen in 4 or 5 feet tall your filler is 2 or 3 feet tall, so you have no problem still seeing your specimen, for your next row of plants should be a spiller plant something low to the ground that runs or clumps and flowers. Landscapes can be set up as a pyramid, The specimen at the top, 2 filler in front of that plant and 3 spillers in front of the fillers creating a pyramid shape.

Plants should be planted with about 1 inch of the top of the plant above the soil not pushed all of the way, into the ground. What’s interesting is this is also the way to stage plants indoors, The tallest plants in the back, the next tallest in front of them and the shortest plants in front of them all. This is the way your eye travels through the landscape whether indoors or out.


Brent Richard Dixon

Are you wanting to start a garden but don't know where to begin? Our gardening tips for beginners are perfect for new gardener.

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