Even if you cannot spend your days in the Caribbean, you can create a tropical garden that mirrors the tropical aura of the region’s flora. Bright and vibrant flowers, varying hues of leaves, dramatic textures and different sizes of shrubs and plants, are characteristics that anyone would love to add in their garden. The best tropical plants will contain most of these features and will thrive in extreme heat.
How to Create a Tropical Garden
To create an exotic, tropical garden you should first research the climate and soil in the area. Plants and shrubs that require heat and several hours of sunlight will ultimately thrive in these conditions and may suffer if climates are too cold. Additionally, the type of soil that you have will determine if your shrubs will do well. Some tropical foliage requires specific soil with specific draining properties, nutrients, and organic matter.
When you assess the area where you want to plant the garden, you should make a plan. This plan, which is one of the basic tools of landscape design, will help you to decide which shrubs and plants you should use and where they will be placed. The landscape plan should include desired heights and layers of plants as well as the types of plants (for example, shrubs, palms, flowering plants, grasses and trees). In addition, your plan should incorporate other feature such as sculptures, walkways, pathways, water features and patios.
The types of plants that you use in the tropical garden are very important. Flowering shrubs, plants and trees should be the highlight of the garden. However, they should be juxtaposed with non-flowering plants that have striking features such as large and unusual leaves. If layered correctly, using the right mix of foliage, the garden will be lush and thick.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
The hibiscus plant is one of the most recognisable tropical plants because of its colourful flowers and beautifully textured leaves. Other names for the plant are the “rose mallow”, “hardy hibiscus”, “rose of Sharon” and “tropical hibiscus”. The hibiscus is a hardy plant that can survive in harsh tropical conditions. Ideal temperatures are between 60 – 90 F or 16-32 C. The hibiscus will not survive in temperatures below 32 F or 0 C. Hibiscus shrubs can grow as tall as fifteen feet tall and can spread up to three feet wide. Flowers on the hibiscus plant are available in several colours including red, yellow, white, peach and purple. Butterflies and hummingbirds are frequent visitors to these shrubs.
Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
The Pride of Barbados, which is the national flower of Barbados, is a beautiful tropical shrub that is also known as peacock flowers, red bird-of-paradise and dwarf poincianas. The plant loves warm and hot climates and flourishes in full sun. The plant can easily be propagated from seeds and tolerates any type of soil. Also, depending on where it is planted, the shrub does not require any special care. In early stages, water the Pride of Barbados twice a week and then reduce frequency. The plant is drought resistant and the flowers bloom in tough weather conditions. The flowers of the shrub are primarily red and orange with bits of yellow. However, the yellow varieties of the plant are also called Pride of Barbados. The leaves are used to make tea and the young seeds in the green pods are eaten.
It is a low-maintenance versatile tropical plant will add colour and intrigue to any garden. The bougainvillea is a dazzling plant with many species that grow up to 30 feet. Bougainvillea enjoys warm climates and heat and blooms in the sun. It will not survive too long in temperatures under 32 F or 0 C. For a tropical garden, bougainvillea is useful as ground cover; climbers on trellises; plantings in pots and containers; bonsai plants; and plants in hanging baskets. Bougainvillea is a popular security hedge because of the long, sharp, thorns that protrude from the stems. The blooms are very colourful with pretty shades of white, red, pink, purple and orange. Wherever planted, bougainvillea should be monitored, because it can grow into cracks and underneath foundations.
Ixora (Ixora Coccinea)
One beautiful detail about the ixora plant is that it adds flair to your tropical garden The ixora is tropical shrub that requires basic care that blooms beautifully throughout the year. Also known as West Indian Jasmine or jungle flame, the plant is easily recognisable by its large clusters on tiny, colourful flowers. These flowers come in a variety of colours such as red, pink, orange and white, and combinations of these colours. Some varieties of the plant can grow up to 15 feet, and most species are drought tolerant and can be planted in coastal locations. In addition to being planted in a tropical garden, the ixora can be used as a hedge or planted in a container. The plant cannot tolerate cold, so it is best suited to zones that do not receive excessive cold. Ixora plants require well-drained soil that is slightly or moderately acidic.
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Gardening Know How: How to Care For Hibiscus Plants
Gardening Know How: Care Of Ixora Plant: How To Grow Ixora Shrubs
Garden Design: How to Grow Beautiful Bougainvillea
SF Gate: Caring for a Pride of Barbados Plant