Bring Home the Tropics with These 8 Great Tropical Houseplants:
A unique, colorful variety for warm climate gardens! Foliage adds bold texture to beds and borders. A stunning container accent for home or patio. Often multiplies and climbs by producing new pups. This tropical epiphyte thrives with humidity, often going two weeks without supplemental water.
Poperly selected and cared for, orchids can be among the showiest and most exotic of all garden or patio plants. There are many areas throughout the southern and central United States where temperatures for a good portion of the year are compatible with the needs of many orchids. Some coastal areas are nearly frost-free year round. In these areas, with some protection from excessive sun, wind and rain, lovely orchid plants can be successfully cultivated on the patio or as a part of the landscape. In frost-free areas, the plants can be left in place all year. Where frost or temperatures below 40 F threaten, plants can be brought into the home to be grown on windowsills, under lights or on an unheated patio where the coldest temperatures are avoided. The trick is in selecting plants that are already adapted to your particular area. First, though, consider some basic cultural needs of the plants.
- LIGHT - No flowering plant will do well in deepest shade, and orchids are no exception. Orchids generally come from environments where dappled light is the norm. The hotter the sun, the more midday shade is required. In humid or coastal areas, more sun can be given. The required amount of light will also dictate your selection of plants. If you can offer only one light situation, select only plants that can do well under those conditions.
- HUMIDITY - Most areas with satisfactory temperatures will have adequate humidity. Anywhere from 40 percent and up will do. Only in the deserts will it be unsatisfac tory. In such areas, grouping orchids with other plants can create a microclimate that will suit them.
- WATERING - This will depend greatly on your plant selection, and whether the plants are grown under cover. In general: Most orchids require at least some air circulation around their roots yet are intolerant of excessive moisture at the roots.
- TEMPERATURE - In most cases, you will be limited to whatever Mother Nature provides, eased only by the amount of shade you supply. Generally, there are many lovely orchids that will do well in the temperature range from 40 to 90 F. Your particular temperature conditions will influence your choice of plants.
- FERTILIZER - Fertilize regularly, at a low dosage of approximately one-half strength, with a fertilizer appropriate to the potting mix in which the plants are grown.
3. Staghorn Ferns
There are many varieties of staghorn ferns. Most varieties are relatively easy to care for. Provide low to medium light and moderate moisture. When grown outdoors, staghorn ferns should be located in partial shade or areas with low light. And when grown indoors, they do best with bright but indirect light. Typically grown in a wire basket or mounted on a piece of wood, they need a little piece of peat or compost that can be balled up and placed under the plant to then tie gently to wood base or basket. Water frequently, allowing the plant to dry out in between. For any additional tips including fertilizing, check with one of our knowledgable staff members
4. Elephant Ear Plant
The presence of even just one of these giant leafed plants scream tropical. Versatile by nature, the elephant ear plant (Colocasia) can be used around ponds, as a patio enclosure/screen or most commonly used as a focal point or accent piece – in or out of containers. There is nothing like seeing these cool specimens adorn balconies above. However, be careful to pull them inside in the cooler months when there are chances of frost. Once your elephant ear is established or seems content, it will require little attention.
5. Bird of Paradise
Highly valued for its large, exotic, colorful blooms in a bold blend of orange, blue, and white. Lends a tropical look to any landscape. A long-lasting flower for cut arrangements. Crowns of long stalks with large grey-green leaves provide year-round interest. Very useful as a specimen planting, especially on a patio or near a pool. Evergreen. Water regularly - weekly, or more often in extreme heat or containers.
6. Bird Nest Fern
Bird’s nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) are epiphytic ferns, which mean they typically grow on other things, like tree trunks which means they are easy to affix to planks of wood. Named after their appearance, the bird’s nest ferns grow well in medium to low and indirect light. The amount of light will directly affect how crinkly their leaves will become. More light, more crinkle, less light the flatter the leaves. Careful not to allow too much light or your bird’s nest fern’s leaves will yellow and ultimately die. They prefer moist but not wet soil. Overall, they are not as picky as some of their counterparts and will make a nice tropical addition to your home.
If you pay attention, Dracaena’s will tell you exactly what they need. Start them out by placing them in window that receives bright but filtered light. They also prefer moist soil but never soggy. Now just pay attention. If the leaves are yellowing or drooping, you are most likely over watering or your container has poor drainage.
8. Split-Leaf Philodendron
Split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa), also known as Swiss cheese plant, produces large, glossy green leaves. These trendy plants make excellent container-specimens for decorating a summer deck or indoor room. Select a spot for your split-leaf philodendron that will receive bright but indirect or filtered sunlight. Water when the top half of the soil in its container feels dry. Water slowly, refilling the pot one to two more times to ensure the soil is thoroughly moist, allowing the water to drain each time. Be sure to remove the excess water when done and - never allow the plant to stand in water.