Tropical Landscaping Ideas
Tropical landscaping ideas are within the reach of many people... you'd be amazed at the plants that will survive in some of the colder regions. As long as your winter temperatures don't drop below 25º F, you can add many tropical plants in your yard.
For example, did you know that palm trees can survive as far north as England? Before you run out and buy yourself a palm tree however, take some time to plan your tropical landscape.
When you think of a tropical landscape, what comes to mind? Lush greenery? Waterfalls? Big, colorful flowers? These can be incorporated into yards in many growing regions with no problem.
If you decide to add a water feature to add to that tropical atmosphere, plan how big you want it, and where it will go. You'll want to install that first before you start planting. If it is big enough, you may even want to add some fish.
Using Tropical Palm Trees
Now, back to that palm tree. Nothing says tropical like a palm tree. If you'd like to incorporate a palm into your tropical landscaping ideas, you'll need to decide which kind you want.
Palm trees come in many varieties and in many heights. Make sure you plan enough space for the palm tree as it grows. Palm trees need fertilizing several times per year. After the water feature, this should be the next thing that is installed in your yard, due to its size.
If you live in a cooler area of the world, here are a few cold hardy palms to choose from that may fit nicely into your tropical landscaping ideas no matter where you are: the Mazari palm is a shorter, full palm tree with lots of fan-shaped deeply-serrated leaves.
The Chinese Windmill palm has a growth habit more like a bush, although over time it can grow up to 40 feet. It has fan-shaped leaves that are divided almost to the center and they can reach up to 4 feet across.
The Miniature Chusan palm is a bit smaller, with stiff fan-shaped leaves.
The Dwarf Palmetto grows to about 10 feet at maturity, and resembles the Chinese Windmill palm.
The Needle palm has no trunk, and it resembles a shrub. It is a beautiful tropical looking specimen anywhere you put it.
Pathways and Plants
Plan for some pathways through your tropical paradise. Fill your path with crushed rock, beach sand, pebbles or crushed oyster shells. Around the pathways, fill in the spaces with bougainvillea (works well on a trellis), hostas, caladiums, ferns, bromeliads, philodendrons, scheffleras, citrus trees, banana trees, rubber trees and moss.
Add the occasional clump of canna lilies for their huge brightly colored flowers and large broad leaves.
Do you need more tropical landscaping ideas? Bamboo gives a tropical feeling to any garden. So does jasmine, bird of paradise, hibiscus and plumerias.
Sketch out a plan for yourself so you can figure out where to plant each specimen.
Be sure to mulch well after you've planted everything. Tropical plants need water, water and more water! Adding mulch will help them retain moisture around their roots for a longer period of time.
Tropical Landscape Plants Combinations
Let's talk groupings. Once you know how big each plant you've chosen gets, you can group them so everything is shown off to their best advantage while maintaining that lush tropical greenery by tucking in smaller plants around the larger ones.
For example, if you chose a Needle palm with its thin leaf sections, you may want to plant it next to something with broad leaves like a bird of paradise, or conversely, go with a bougainvillea as a nearby neighbor. The small rounded leaves and brightly colored flower bracts would make a nice contrast with the palm.
Plant the immediate vicinity with philodendron, hosta, and ferns for more textural interest in the areas close to the ground.
Plant some climbing jasmine vines around your waterfall. The shiny dark green leaves will set off your water feature nicely. Add some colorful caladiums around the base, or add a Ti plant or a croton for more color and variety.
Remember to put any plants that are not cold hardy in large pots so they can be moved to a protected area for the winter. Come spring, they can be moved back into place.
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