Create a Tropical Garden in Any State
You don’t have to live in the tropics to have a tropical themed garden or flowerbed. You may not be able to grow the same exact plants that you could in South America, but you can imitate the theme and get some beautiful results.
If you ask people what kinds of plants they think are in a tropical garden, they are not very likely to name anything specific beyond “palm tree”. But, if you ask for some words describing what a tropical garden looks like, then you are likely to get replies like lush, wet, bright flowers, full, flowing, fluorescent accents, big leaves and cascading vines.
So you don’t actually need tropical plants to give a garden a tropical feel. Bromeliads come to mind. Some are actually pineapple shaped. They have thick, green leaves and brightly colored centers. They’re easy to grow in a variety of climates. They are available in small or giant varieties.
Ask a local nursery about which bromeliads will grow best in your climate. Then determine whether you will want them in the sun or shade, certain varieties can grow in either. They even come in terrestrial or saxicolous. Terrestrials grow from the ground and saxicolous varieties grow on rocks, like a moss. Bromeliads have a wide variety of growing conditions which make them an easy-to-care-for choice. Because of the bright colors and size, they make a great addition or centerpiece to a tropical themed garden.
Anything with large or interesting leaves is a good addition. Elephant ears are popular, as are ferns or plants with leaves that hang down. Leaves that hang low give the illusion of weight and humidity, adding to the wet, tropical theme. Interesting leaves make plants look exotic, even if they are quite common for your area.
The other element that you need to fill is flowers and blooms. Large flowers are always good. Bright colors are a must. Reds, oranges and everything in between are a great start. Bright pinks are probably most popular. To give your garden the soothing feel of a tropical paradise, make sure that you include purples, blues and whites.
Not all of your blooms need to be large. Cascading flowers and white blooms have a lot of pop and presence without being large. Tubular flowers look unique, and often grow on vines. Vines also add to the tropical theme, while red tubulars attract hummingbirds. You can even use existing shrubs for filler and plant a tropical themed garden around your existing landscape. Use an automatic watering system to keep your garden looking wet and lush. An automatic, programmable hose reel will make frequent light watering easy.