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I Love Enormous Foliage, Bright Colors Of Tropical Plants

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My interest in tropical plants came from the fact that I was tired of growing the same old thing that everyone else was.

I wanted my garden to be unique, something that people would like at in amazement.

With the addition of my greenhouse, my dream has started becoming a reality. However, even without a greenhouse, it is possible to grow a wide range of tropicals and exotic plants. My goal is to provide you with the gardening information that you might otherwise have trouble finding so that everyone can enjoy these tropical beauties whether is be in their home, office or garden.

 

What makes us want to grow plants uncommon to our area? Vivid colors, unique foliage or flowers, the challenge of growing them? 

What makes us want to grow plants uncommon to our area?

Vivid colors, unique foliage or flowers, the challenge of growing them?

The answer to that question is as unique and varied as each of us.

Where To Buy Tropical Plants

Tropical plants and flowers seem to be readily available these days.

No longer do you have to mail order these beauties when discount houses such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart readily stock them.

Lowe’s is another great choice for unique tropicals.

Whether it’s orchids, bromeliads, bananas, bird-of-paradise or other tropicals that you favor, there is a large selection of them available at prices from $1.00 up to about $20.00, depending on the size and variety you choose.

Whether it’s orchids, bromeliads, bananas, bird-of-paradise or other tropicals that you favor, there is a large selection available. 

 

Light Requirements

The problem with many of these plants, according to some people, is they require a large amount of light in order to prosper.

Whether it is because of the varied foliage colors, that will fade to green without proper light, or due to their flowers, the light requirement can be easily satisfied even without a greenhouse.

Grow lights are one great choice.

Fixtures can be purchased for as little as $6.00, or if you prefer a fancier set-up there is more than one option here.

Grow lights are available in both fluorescent bulbs as well as regular household light bulbs ready to put into any lamp you already own.

 

Keeping Plants Warm In Winter

Tropicals don’t have huge water requirements or need special heating during the winter months either.

Normal watering and temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit will keep them perfectly happy.

Some tropicals will take temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit with no noticeable damage.

During an unexpected cold spell this year, my greenhouse dropped to 20 degrees Fahrenheit and with the exception that I lost all of my foliage, the roots on my tropicals are fine and forming new growth, so these beauties are quite hardy too.

I use two small ceramic heaters with adjustable thermostats in my small greenhouse.

A square fan securely hung on the ceiling in one corner helps to circulate the heat and send the hot air that accumulates on the ceiling back down to the floor of the greenhouse.

Some tropicals will take temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit with no noticeable damage. 

 

Watering

During the summer months, tropicals are gorgeous tucked among your annuals and perennials, although keeping them in pots will require frequent watering.

The summer months are the one time that I feel like I am watering my tropicals on a daily basis to keep them from wilting, but again, I keep them potted instead of lowering them into the ground.

I find it’s easier come fall to pick up a pot than to dig up a plant.

I prefer to use a 2-gallon watering can with a nozzle I can remove.

I find that using the nozzle is not necessary for watering plants in large containers and is better saved for those times when I use the watering can for seedlings or transplants.

 

Overwintering

Another great way to overwinter your large tropicals, if you prefer not to have the whole plant, is to take cuttings and root them so that they will be ready come spring for another season.

Plumeria, Brugmansia and other large tropicals with semi-woody or woody stems are prefect for taking cuttings from in late summer or early fall.  

I start cuttings by dipping the ends of the cut plant in rooting hormone and then sticking it into perlite that I had already wet.

I keep the perlite slightly moist throughout the winter and come spring I find most of the cuttings I start are nicely rooted and ready to be planted.

Other tropical plants such as gingers and bananas can have their foliage cut way back leaving you to store just the rhizome.

Putting the rhizome into a paper bag and putting it in a closet where it stays above freezing is an ideal way to overwinter these types of plants.

Another great way to overwinter your large tropicals, if you prefer not to have the whole plant, is to take cuttings and root them.

Trading Plants

Another great idea is to trade either your cuttings from your tropicals or your plant plant, if you prefer not to overwinter them.

There are many groups on Facebook that trade plants or swap seeds. Be sure to look into the laws governing doing this before you begin.

You can also buy and sell plants on eBay.

Just register and go down to miscellanous and look under gardening.

This is also a great place to buy some unusual plants relatively cheaply.

So, with spring coming soon, let this be the year you branch out and try those exotic looking tropicals you’ve always wanted to.

After all, what do you have to lose?

 

 

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