What is the Recipe For the “Tropical” Landscape?

Do you  love the look of a tropical landscape?  Is there a formula to create a lush tropical look?

Creating a tropical landscape  in the Tampa Bay area requires analysis of your light, your soil and your micro climates.  Studying what works well in the various zones that will exist on your property is the next step.  A great tropical landscape will contain the right plants that will thrive in your  sunny spots, shady spots, moist spots and dry spots.  For a list of potential candidates you might enjoy this article too.

Artist Teresa Berg's PalmsDid you know that palms, the ultimate in tropical look and feel can be used to change an area’s micro climate?  If that brutally sunny spot in your yard cooks everything placed there, it might be time for a palm grouping to cool that area down.  While palms are not typically considered a shade tree, a proper grouping can considerably change the light for a gentler effect on landscape plantings not to mention the tropical look you crave!  Palms can be mixed and matched for effect and to create the backdrop and cover for other tropicals to thrive.  Once your palm grouping is installed, you can begin to fill in with other desirable tropical plantings that enhance your palm background.

Do you have shade?  Some palms thrive in shade too.  So if you have a shady spot, you can use a palm like the adapatable Chinese fan to add a tropical feel as an understory palm.  The Chinese Fan Palm is a slow growing palm with a fairly large foot print. BIG glossy green fanlike fronds grace the Chinese Fan and add a fantastic backdrop for plants like variegated ginger,  caladiums, Ti plants, bromeliads and more.  Other shade loving tropicals include Split Leaf Philodendrons (which also will have a large footprint) Xanadu Philodendrons,  Crinum Lily, Canna lily, ferns, elephant ears,

For brighter areas, lush tropicals like Hibiscus, Crotons, White and Orange Bird of Paradise, Plumbago, Banana, European Fan Palms, Aboricola,  Confederate Jasmine, Gardenia and Iris can fill a bright area with texture color and scent.

When planning your tropical paradise, keep in mind that density is important for the effect.  One mammy croton growing lonely or spaced 5 feet from anything else in front of a fence won’t have the impact of a group of three combined with other filler plantings. Be sure to include some big leaf plants.  Tropical plantings require that big leaf for the tropical look!  Group and combine your colors and surround with filler plants of interesting texture, shape,height and color. It’s the combination of texture color and scent that creates the look you want!  Being in zone 9B affords us lots of tropical options.

pocketparadiseIf you have a swimming pool on your property, you have the perfect spot to benefit from some well placed tropicals.  Nothing works better as a pretty screen than a palm shrub pocket paradise like this one.

Come on by the nursery for more ideas and a guided tour of our 25 acres! We’ll help you find what works to make your property a fantastic tropical paradise!  Laurel Oaks Nursery is open Monday through Friday from 7 to 5, and Saturday from 8 to 4.  We have a fantastic selection of trees, shrubs, tropicals and palms and we love to show them off.  Tell us you saw this article and see you soon!




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