Monday, March 07, 2011

Tropicals In Your Garden

Another trend noted at the Chicago Flower And Garden Show is the use of TROPICALS throughout the garden and in containers.

Elephant Ear

Along with tropicals go a variety of water features, ponds, container fountains and even walls of water.

This floating island of plants was eye catching but not very practical, looks like juniper, marigolds and snapdragons with stones encircling it.  I am not sure how they did this.

This is a wall of lighted water showers.

I am not sure where this dry ice effect is coming from!

Many of the plantings being used outside, we think of as houseplants.  This is a fern I have in my dining room (Bird's Nest).

Rex Begonias are old fashioned houseplants in my zone.

Rex Begonia
They do look beautiful in the outdoor landscape.

It does make sense that intense colors are back in the garden palette if tropicals are being used in just about every area.

Lots of Scheffleras to give height, Crotons and Algerian Ivy

Be careful how you combine your tropicals, some love full sun like the Crotons, sun coleus and ivy will work, but the Schefflera may burn.

Calla Lily, Rieger Begonias and Tulip and muscari, not plants that bloom at the same time, but I think you get the idea.  Use unusual combinations and create height.  Rieger Begonias will sun scorch.

Kale with Algerian Ivy
I use this ivy each year, when I can find it, beautiful all summer long.  It is expensive and also comes in a not as interesting solid green.

I grew Crotons and some succulents in my south side containers.  They require at least fifty degrees at night to survive and thrive.  They did hold up in the heat and I have wintered them over inside my house.  Tropicals are expensive but with more popularity they may come down in price for the consumer market.

Dracena, Mums, Rieger Begonia and Croton

Orchids in Containers

Orchids in Baskets

Do you recognize that spiller houseplant?

Succulents, Heuchera, Kale and Tulips
This would work if you stuck in a pot of later blooming tulips.

What I did notice is that the majority of containers used for the show had a lot of height and not width, closer to eye level so you did not have to look down to observe the plantings.

Succulents were used extensively in the window boxes on display.  This is a good idea since it is difficult to keep the windows boxes and hanging baskets irrigated during the summer heat.

Tropicals in outdoor window boxes

Bromeliads in garden beds

Succulents in garden beds

A Potting Party for charity with a variety of tropicals

Well, I think we get the message that what was inside will be outside this season, but the garden show is always state of the art in trends.  It doesn't mean we have to fill our gardens with tropical plants but it is kind of fun to try out a few of them, especially if we have the heat of last summer.

Take an idea and have fun!