One of the greatest problems with traveling to a tropical destination is the fact that this voyage never lasts long enough. Sure, these 10 days often come out as some of as the time of your life, however, once you get back you might quickly be overwhelmed by all your old chores, obligations and responsibilities. Therefore, one has to ask a question, is traveling to a tropical location really able to recharge your batteries and (if this is so) for how long does this effect last?
On the other hand, what if you were able to recreate this tropical atmosphere in your own garden? In that way, you would be able to take a mini-vacation every single day for as much and as long as you like. Moreover, you would be surprised to find out just how little effort, research and dedication this project actually takes. In order to shed some light on this topic. Here are five tropical plants you can easily grow in your home garden.
When you first start out with this project of growing tropical plants in your garden, you want to begin with something simple, something that’s not effort intensive or requires too much work. For this, bromeliads are the most obvious first choice. You should start by making a compost, which is a skill worth learning seeing as how you will need it for most (if not all of the plants listed below). Here, you can use food leftovers (apart from dairy or meat), shredded newspapers, leaves, woodchips and even materials such as eggshells. You want your compost planted a couple of inches below the soil.
Once you have this out of the way, you need to make sure that the soil is of the right texture, seeing as how you want it to be well-draining. In order to improve drainage, you can mix the soil with sand. In this way, its quality type will become much closer to that of the bromeliad’s native region. When you start covering the bromeliad, make sure to do so only until the base of the plant. As for the location in your garden where the bromeliad should be planted, you want to find a spot with some partial shade.
As for the watering, this only has to be done once or twice a week, however, when it comes to fertilizing the soil, during the period of active growth, you need to fertilize every month. Nonetheless, the fertilizer itself should probably be diluted so that its strength is cut in half. Needless to say, during the colder part of the year, you can lay low with fertilizer a bit. As you can see, all you need for this to work is a general purpose fertilizer and some compost, making your job substantially easier.
Another tropical plant you should take into consideration is hibiscus, yet, here you will have a decision to make from the very start – should you plant it from hibiscus cuttings or from seed. For tropical hibiscus, it is usually a preferred option to grow it from cutting. Apart from this being an easier and more reliable method, it also provides some uniformity within your garden, due to the fact that the next hibiscus will turn out to be the exact copy of the parent plant. The process of cutting is fairly simple and it needs to be done from the hibiscus that is yet to mature. Afterward, you need to dip the bottom of the cutting into a rooting hormone in order to further enhance the way in which it behaves in the new environment.
The next issue you need to worry about is the protection of the plant, which can be quite tricky. On the one hand, you need to create the barrier around the cutting but on the other hand, you don’t want this barrier to touch the leaves. Most commonly, this is done with a plastic bag, yet, there are other methods to pull this off, as well. If you intend to replant them to a different location (or pot) later on, you might want to wait for at least 8 weeks until you are to do so.
In a situation where you already have too much shrubbery in your backyard and not a lot of light is reaching the ground, you need something that can thrive and prosper in these conditions. The most obvious solution to this problem is to plant cordylines and in this way, complement your garden. The reason why cordylines perform great in these conditions is due to the fact that they’re native to Hawaii, where they are forced to grow under the palm trees. Needless to say, this combination might be simply perfect for your garden, as well, however, you first need to pick the type and learn a thing or two about growing them in the first place.
As for the type, cordyline Rubra, Negra or Kalawai are all popular choices but the one you pick needs to be chosen based on the type of your backyard layout and your plans and aspiration regarding the end-results of your gardening project. All in all, you have about 15 species to choose from. When it comes to the planting itself, you can apply pretty much the same strategy as with hibiscus, the advantage here being the fact that you can simply cut one plant in three pieces and distribute them separately. Another thing you need to know is the fact that cordyline performs incredibly well during the drought. Instead of dying out, they simply stop growing and carry this on as soon as the drought is over.
Once you feel competent enough to tackle something a bit more difficult, you might want to think about ficus. Apart from growing it in your garden, you can also try growing ficus indoors. For this, however, you will have to pick the spot that’s not in the draft and that it is not in the room that falls below about 60 degrees F. Still, since we’re still on the topic of enriching your garden, one of the choices you can make is to start off your ficus growing process indoors and, once you make an estimate it’s too big for the place, you can just replant it outside. Indoors, you need to mist on a regular basis, seeing as how humidity is one of the most important factors for the proper growth of this plant. Outside, on the other hand, moderate watering will do the trick.
When planting your ficus outside, you need to pick the right spot. Here, it is incredibly important that you find a location that isn’t overexposed to sun rays all year long. Apart from this, you need to ensure that it has enough space to grow. Some of you probably wonder just how much can a pot plant grow and the answer to this question is – you would be surprised.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the efficiency of growing a ficus, it would probably be for the best if you could keep it in a container. This would allow you to keep it in your garden for the most part of the year and then transport it back in for the duration of winter. In this way, you will help this amazing garden plant to grow to its full potential.
One of the most iconic tropical plants is the so-called Elephant’s Ear. The process of planting them is fairly simple. They prefer rich soil, which is why you use compost (something we’ve already discussed) and mix up the soil with sand so that it retains moisture for longer.
Now that we have these standard requirements out of the way, it is vital that you learn of the most important thing regarding this plant, which is the fact that it requires an incredible amount of light in order to thrive and prosper. Therefore, you need to place it in a spot that will provide them with the full sun exposure for as long as possible. In fact, it might even be a good idea to invest a bit in a proper outdoor lighting in order to maximize this effect.
Taking care of an Elephant Ear plant isn’t complicated either. All you have to do is administer a dose of a slow-release fertilizer to the soil periodically and water it during the dry part of the year. Keep in mind, however, that as a tropical plant, elephant’s ear might not be able to survive a harsh winter outdoors. That being said, keeping it in a container, just like with ficus, might be a great idea.
The list goes on and on and, those interested in adding some more variety to their garden might consider adding anthurium, dumb cane or even peace lilies to their garden. If there’s one thing you could have learned from this post, it is that, although they are harder to maintain than the plants of your native regions, creating a tropical garden really doesn’t take that much work. Especially when you take into consideration all the benefits that you stand to get from creating a small personal oasis on your own property.