Tropical Plants for Your Garden

Get a slice of the tropics by incorporating tropical plants in your Utah landscape project.  Exotic, bold showy and quite different from Utah landscaping staples, tropical add an extra punch to your garden. Tropical plants are usually marked by oversized, lush leaves and brightly-colored flowers.

Surprisingly, some tropicals can thrive in your backyard, especially with Utah’s mild winters and warm summers. These plants can serve as constant reminders of the tropical paradise you went to for your vacation.

Here are some tips to help you get the tropical landscape of your dreams:

–  Make a plan. As with all things landscaping, draft a plan as to how you’d want the tropical plants to fit in with the existing landscape. When planning the placement of your tropical plants, take note that tropical gardens are usually characterized by plant density, where plants overlap and present a lush combination. Plant in layers or sloped ground to highlight tropical plants even when they are densely planted together. Consider your budget and the available space when drafting your plan.

–  Choose the right tropical plants. Even with mild frosts, some hardy tropical plants will still survive, especially if you take care to winterize these plants. When choosing your tropicals, take note of the amount of sun required, as well as the plants’ water consumption levels.

–  Work with the soil. To help your tropical plants thieve, use mulch while ensuring that the soil is efficiently drained of water.

–  Consider a container garden. Instead of planting your tropicals directly into the soil, consider planting them in containers so that it’s easier to transport them indoors come wintertime. You can still enjoy that tropical vibe inside your home.

–  Consider adding a pond. Fountains or ponds (especially with koi inside!) can complete the tropical feel. You can surround this body of water with more tropical greenery.

Tropical plants to choose from

–  Palm trees. Nothing says “tropical” than palm trees. There are a variety of palm trees (such as Majestic palm trees and Queen palm trees) that can be selected based on how they will thrive in your light and cold conditions. If space is an issue, you can consider Lady Palm trees that gown only up to a maximum of eight feet. Palms are slow-growing so you may need to ask your Utah landscaper to transplant a full-grown palm.

–  Bamboo. Another popular tropical plant is the bamboo. Believe it or not, bamboo is actually a grass, but it can grow up to 12 to 14 feet high and can serve as backdrop or barriers.

–  Birds of Paradise. This flamboyant tropical plant features flowers that look like red, blue and orange birds taking wing.

–  Tapioca plant. This comes in vivid colors (red, green or yellow) and make for excellent foliage. This grows quickly, especially with lots of sun and water (this prefers moist soil). Tapioca plants can grow up to four to five feet and can make for excellent backdrops.

–  Canna lily. This sports green and bronze-colored leaves with brilliant red, orange or yellow flowers. Plant these on borders or backdrops as this can grow to up to ten feet.

–  Hibiscus. Red, oranges, whites, pinks and yellows provide a swathe of color and is the quintessential tropical plant. This annual plant thrives with lots of light, heat and moisture.

–  Bougainvillea. The main feature of this plant is its brightly colored flowers. The colors can range from fuchsia pink, red, white to purple. The bougainvillea is highly tolerant to drought and can be trained to grow in trellises or arbors.

–  Crotons. This provides patches of colors – an attractive mix of orange, green and sometimes red.

–  Bromeliads. Red, orange, purple, blue flowers draw the eye to these beauties. Take note that various bromeliads may require different amounts of light.

If you need help, you can go to one of Salt Lake City’s best landscaping companies, All States Landscaping. Their landscaping experts can help you plan your dream tropical paradise and execute it just the way you want it.