Creating a Tropical Garden Paradise

People who live in an area with a mild climate with plenty of moisture and sunshine can have fun creating a tropical garden paradise when landscaping. Check with your local plant store or landscaping professional before investing to see if you have the right conditions, and then browse among the lush tropical trees and plants to make the selections that will provide the lush, tranquil atmosphere you are looking for. Palm trees, tropical flowers and green, leafy plants are excellent choices to create a magical tropical garden.

Selecting Palm Trees

There are numerous types of palm trees available, so it is a good idea to use a variety of palms for an interesting visual effect. Palms range from tall and stately Royal Palms to miniature varieties like the slow growing robellini and pygmy date palms. The Mazari palm has fan-shaped leaves that add appeal to a tropical garden, and the Pindo palm is valued for its appearance and because it is so hardy. Think about how tall the palm is likely to grow when making your selection.


Adding Tropical Plants

Colorful flowering plants and plants with intriguing leaf shapes combine well with palm trees to create a tropical effect. Imagine a wall or a terrace dripping with red bougainvillea. This versatile plant can be trained to grow sideways over a doorway or garage to add a tropical feeling. Hibiscus, with its large, spectacular flowers in a variety of colors, is another staple of the tropics. Pair plants with varying leaf shapes to offset their differences and create a lush, natural look. For example, the round leafed bougainvillea can be placed near a narrow leaf plant such as the Needle Palm. Other good choices for a tropical garden are hoyas, banana plants, ferns and flowering birds of paradise.

Planting Cattleya Orchids

When you think of an orchid, you will probably envision a spectacular cattleya orchid because it is traditional for use in corsages, wedding bouquets and flower arrangements. Cattleya orchids are valued for their dramatic appearance, vibrant color and attractive fragrance. Of all the orchid varieties available, these large blooms are known as the “queen of orchids.”  Cattleyas are available in a range of sizes, shapes and colors. If you want your garden to bloom all year long, chose different varieties, since some bloom in the spring and others bloom in the late summer or fall season. These orchids prefer warm days and cool nights with full morning sun and shade in the middle of the day. They can, however, tolerate sporadic extremes in temperature. The Cattleya bicolor orchid has gold-green sepals and copper color petals. The narrow lip has a startling, contrasting purplish red color. Cattleya bicolors are fragrant and spread up to four inches across, with shoots that can reach a height of four feet.

Growing Moth Orchids

Phalaenopsis, commonly known as the moth orchid, is one of the easiest orchid plants to grow. Like other orchids, they thrive when daytime temperatures are warm and when they cool down at night. The flowers bloom for up to three months in the winter, but some last into the summer months. The phalaenopsis orchid plant may flower more than once in the same year. Moth orchids do well in indirect sun and a high humidity level. To encourage the plant to bloom again, wait until all the flowers drop off, and then cut the plant back halfway down the stem. They can be grown indoors as well as outdoors if humidity and temperature conditions are appropriate. Hybrid Phalaenopsis plants are available in colors ranging from red to pink, orange, lavender and white.

Your Natural Looking Tropical Garden

The whole point of creating a garden with a lush, tropical feeling is to make it look natural and tranquil. Instead of using straight lines, think of beds with curves accented with wood mulch and naturally colored wood chips to blend well with all your tropical trees, flowers and plants. Crushed stone and gravel can also serve the purpose of keeping moisture around the plants, and these materials are more durable than wood mulch and chips which have to be replaced frequently. Smooth pebbles are another attractive alternative for a tropical garden. To get around in your garden, put in some narrow, winding pathways. Simple dirt paths can give your garden the tropical feeling you are trying to achieve.

Tips for Planting a Tropical Garden

Keep in mind that tropical plants and trees need special conditions to do well. Find out which plants need moderate temperatures both day and night, and which ones can withstand a drop in temperatures. Surprisingly, some palm trees can thrive in a cooler climate if temperatures stay above 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  You may consider placing some of the more delicate tropical plants in planters that can be moved indoors on cooler nights. Most tropical plants need frequent watering along with direct sun for up to 6 hours each day. They may also need fertilizer to supply specific soil components.