Image by Kheng Cheng TOH
By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Tropical gardening is not much different than any other types of gardening. Plants still share the same basic needs—healthy soil, water, and proper fertilization. With tropical gardening, however, you don’t have to worry about overwintering your plants since these climates remain warm year round.
Gardening in a Tropical Climate
Zones 9-11 (and higher) are considered ideal for growing tropic gardens. Conditions here usually include warm, humid weather (even lots of moisture). Winters are mild with little to no threat of freezing temperatures to contend with.
Popular plants found in this garden may include tropical (or tender) bulbs like:
You’ll find other tender plants within these gardens too, such as the following:
Many common houseplants actually originate from these parts, thriving in these “jungle-like” conditions outdoors. For example, when gardening in the tropics, you might come across or use plants like:
Gardening in a tropical climate is not much different than anywhere else. The plants may simply require a little extra TLC (tender loving care) in areas outside tropical zones.
Tips for Tropics Gardening
Whether you live in a tropical climate (and many of us do not) or simply want to grow tropical-like plants, there are a few things you can do to help ensure the success of your tropic gardens.
- First, always make sure that your plants are grown in healthy, well-draining soil, preferably enriched with organic matter and moist. Healthy soil creates healthy plants regardless of your location.
- Do not go fertilizer crazy, especially when it comes to nitrogen. This will actually inhibit flowering and increase foliage growth. Instead, opt for something with more phosphorus. Even better, try using some manure tea to fertilize these plants.
- Another helpful trick is to use containers whenever possible. This allows you to easily move plants around, especially if unsavory weather (like severe storms, hurricane winds, etc.) is imminent and threatens their livelihood.
- Finally, if you live outside of a tropical-like zone (and many of us do), you can still enjoy these gardens. However, you’ll have to bring them indoors for winter or in some cases grow them inside year round. With this in mind, they will need lots of humidity so the use of a humidifier or water-filled trays of pebbles may be helpful. Daily misting also helps provide extra humidity, especially when plants are grouped together.