Learning to grow tropical plants in container culture can be very rewarding, and you will find once you have a routine down, very effortless.
Getting in the routine is the hardest part, however you will be glad you did once you get the learning curve figured out.
If growing tropical bulbs outdoors in the summer is a bit of a challenge to you, you are not alone.
While the growing conditions for tropical plants or bulbs indoors require one set of rules, the growing conditions outdoors require yet another set of rules.
Everything from choosing the right soil to making sure your plants get enough water or fertilizer must be dealt with and adjusted to fit your particular growing environment.
Growing any plant in a pot can provide a bit of a challenge, even for the most experienced grower.
The good news is it can be successfully accomplished with a bit of knowledge.
Tropical Plants In Container Culture Need The Right Soil
Let’s begin by taking a look at the different choices available for the soil used for tropical plants in container culture.
While a heavier potting soil is great for holding water, what about those times of heavy rainfall?
Even with drainage holes, potting soil tends to retain water and thus causes root rot.
Even though tropical plants love water, eventually if they receive too much water the roots or bulb will rot.
If your heart is set on a specific potting soil, you can always cover or move your plants should the soil start holding too much water, but keep an eye on your plants.
Once the damage is done, it is too late.
Soil Options For Tropical Plants In Container Culture
Using a soilless mix to grow tropical plants in container culture in has its advantages.
Not only does it allow the roots plenty of room to grow, but it dries out fairly quickly, even with large amounts of rainfall.
The drawback to this type of mix is that you must water, sometimes daily.
Soil that is too wet can be just as damaging as soil that is too dry.
A great recipe for soil is to mix 1/2 potting soil, 1/4 vermiculite, and 1/4 perlite together and use it as both a seed starting mix and a potting soil.
This is the soil mixture I prefer to use for all of my tropical plants.
Over the years I have found as long as I water on a regular basis this soil mixture works well.
The Right Growing Conditions Are Essential For Tropical Plants In Container Culture
Your growing environment will affect your tropical plants in container culture and the amount of care that they need.
Although tropical plants are known for surviving in hot, dry conditions, once you take them from their native environment into your own, you must adjust the care they receive.
It is also a well known fact that well established plants can tolerate more than one that has been newly planted.
In the winter, most of us keep the same basic temperature in our houses, and of course, there is no wind.
Summer conditions include rain, wind, and sun, so we must condition the plants to stand up to these extremities after they have been used to calm conditions.
Providing shelter in the first few weeks they are outdoors, or even providing stakes so that the plants cannot fall over works fairly well.
Another must is to keep an eye on tropical plants in container culture.
It is best to check on them daily until you know just exactly what each plant needs to thrive.
Another idea is to make sure the tropical plants in container culture are showing signs of life and then immediately move the containers outside.
Keep Tropical Bulbs Dormant When Not Actively Growing
Keep tropical bulbs dormant in a cool, dark and dry place until you are ready to plant them in the container.
Many times bulbs will loose their initial leaves and have to re-grow them if they are moved from one condition to another during their growing period.
Sometimes it is just easier to allow the bulb to go dormant in the pot and store the whole thing over-winter withholding water until spring.
Fertilizer Is Essential For Tropical Plants In Container Culture
Another thought to consider is fertilizer.
In the ground, a plant can absorb many things, but in a pot it will quickly absorb its nutrients.
You can use a liquid fertilizer, a granule time released fertilizer or homemade compost.
The choice is completely up to your preferences and the time you have to tend to each individual plant.
By learning what each of the tropical plants and bulbs you are growing need to thrive, you will find they can look just as good as if they were in their native environment.