What are the best tropical flowers for temperate gardens? If you're asking that question, you must be planning something great for your yard!
I have recently developed a love of gardening, but I don’t want a typical English cottage garden or a picture perfect manicured lawn. I may not live in a tropical climate, but that’s not to say that my garden has to be boring. Here are 10 of the best tropical flowers for temperate gardens that can really bring some life to your garden.
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Known for their bright flowers and huge leaves, cannas are a tropical plant that can do very well in non-tropical climates, making them one of the best tropical flowers for temperate gardens. They can grow in most countries around the world, but they need at least 6-8 hours of sunshine each day during the summer months. Cannas like full sun and moist soil, and are also suited to clay conditions. If you get a frost, you can simply remove the rhizomes and keep them in a warmer area, ready for planting again in the spring. They usually grow to between 2 and 7 feet tall, depending on the variety, so make sure you purchase a type that suits the size that you want them to reach.
The vivid purples and blues of the Japanese iris will add an abundance of colour to any garden. They like plenty of sunlight and water, but can still do well with less of each. The iris is a symbolic flower of Japan, being the subject of many famous poems.
Although most people believe that growing a banana tree is very difficult, it isn’t too tricky if you live in the right climate. They thrive in temperatures from 26 to 30 degrees Centigrade, and temperatures have to drop below 14 degrees for them to stop growing. Banana trees should not be exposed to extreme weather conditions (whether hot or cold), and they require plenty of water and minerals. If you have the right conditions for a banana plant, then give it a go because you could soon be enjoying your own homegrown bananas!
There are several different types of hibiscus, so you can choose one best suited to the climate in which it will be growing. For warmer climates, there are varieties native to tropical Asia, although hardier varieties are available. All types, however, require plenty of bright, direct sunlight for the colourful, glossy 6-inch flowers to bloom best.
These beautiful flowers can grow to a height of up to 30 feet, but will often reach around 6 feet in one season, especially if kept in a container. They come in a variety of colours (yellow, white, pink and peach) and grow best in moist soil in indirect, but bright sunlight. Be careful if you have young children or pets, however, because all parts of this plant are poisonous.
Although their exotic appearance may suggest otherwise, bromeliads are actually quite easy to grow. There is a wide range of different types of bromeliad, from the pineapple to many forms of moss, but they are characterized by a rosette of leaves in a cup shape that retains water, and many are vibrantly colourful. They need light and warmth, and don’t like to be kept in pots that are too large, or to be overwatered.
There are many varieties of jasmine, but the pure yellow or spotless white of the Arabian Jasmine will make any garden stand out. In addition to the colour they will bring, they will add beautiful fragrance to your garden. You will need to stake your jasmine on a trellis because it grows in vines, and can grow to be 15 feet tall.
Caladiums are known by many different names, including Elephant Ear, Heart of Jesus and Angel Wings, because of their shape. The two main colours are red with green edges, and white. Native to South America, these plants do not cope particularly well in the winter cold, so it is advisable to bring them indoors during the winter months. You can dig up the tubers during the autumn and store them over the winter, ready to plant again come spring.
These plants are native to the southwestern USA, Central America, Mexico and South America, so depending on where you live, you may not have any trouble with Mandevilla at all. Mandevilla will fill your garden with vines abundant with bright, trumpet-shaped flowers and they come in a variety of colours: red, rose, white and pink. In colder areas, you can plant your Mandevilla in a pot and store it in a cool, dark place during the winter. With an occasional watering, it should survive the winter, ready to bring vibrant colour back to your garden when the warmer weather returns.
Lobelia Cardinalis, or cardinal flowers, are native to the Americas. They like shady, cool and moist spots, but have all the colour and flair of beautiful tropical flowers. Although they are short-lived, they are a perennial flower that produces spectacular red flowers.
You probably won’t find these tropical flowers and plants at your local garden centre, but you’ll certainly find them online or at specialist nurseries.
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