Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / General Tiki

Tropical Gardens with Hardy Plants

Pages: 1 2 3 4 158 replies

Not sure how much to post that would be helpful but I'll throw out another website, this from a SoCal grower, who I spent a lot of time on their website early on. Great photos and articles. The owner is a former president of the Palm Society of Southern California. Do check out the pictorial presentation on lush and tropical plants on the site for ideas on how to bring color into your landscaping. And of course don't forget planning for your tiki and garden satutes amid your plants. LED low-voltage lighting is available in many price ranges to accent your pieces. http://www.junglemusic.net/?fullweb=1

With southern California having mountains, ocean and inland areas, numerous growing regions are represented, and one can find relevant palm selections at these southern nurseries even for those of us living further north in colder zones. The palms in our landscaping, including the Mule palms pictured above, all came from a palm nursery in the SF South Bay area: http://www.alltropicalpalms.com ; but you'll find palm nurseries in both northern and southern California and they'll be able to help you with what grows best in your particular area. The temps in my area have run from 113F tops one year to 25F a few years back. Wanting low maintenance, we planted palms for our Zone (pinnate and fan for variety) but added less cold tolerant birds of paradise and SunPatiens, for a tropical feel for example, that need frost cover protection when we get to a certain point. A pain, but so worth seeing flowering plants once the temps warm up. Some gardeners like to push zones and can be successful but it will be more work and you can plan your landscaping with overhead canopy to help in that regard.

For newbies I'd recommend you learn your USDA zone and your Sunset Magazine zone to aid in selecting appropriate plants. Sunset Magazine zones are more area specific taking into account rainfall, elevation, ocean influence, etc. Your specific temps/frost likelihood will also be influenced by elements like canopy, structures and elevation dips. Walls will help retain heat, terrain dips will channel cold air to the lowest spots.

BTW many palms can handle a more clay environment so don't let that deter you from looking.

[ Edited by: Polly_Nesia 2016-06-10 19:05 ]

[ Edited by: Polly_Nesia 2016-06-10 20:34 ]

Spike, since you're coastal socal and don't want a lot of palm height take a look at the areca palm for near your pond area.
http://www.junglemusic.net/Areca_Palm/The_Areca_Palm.html and http://www.junglemusic.net/The_Areca_Palm/The_Areca_Palm.html

More great info. Thanks!

Always very interested in this subject; our spot in Ohio is 6b now – apparently they adjusted the zones about 4 years ago due to sustained warming. We just used arborvitae as a natural fence for our pool area (not tropical, but it is green) and the rest is surrounded by loads of daylilies, hostas and an assortment of tropical-looking potted plants (palm, fern, canna, coleus) that I have scattered around. With the Japanese maples and Chinese dogwoods (which seem to hold spring blooms forever) the effect is pretty good.

I also bring out 6 large potted hibiscus that I keep alive in the basement every winter – I just water them and leave a full light spectrum bulb on 24/7 down there. After I cut them back, they drop about 90 percent of their leaves, but often still bloom. Once I put them back out on the pool deck after the last frost, they snap back and usually look pretty good in about 3-1/2 weeks; I’ve had them for about 6 years now.

If I could add a couple hardy tropical perennials that would survive the winter I might. Have considered hardy bamboo in the past – but really have no place to put it now, and its potential invasiveness scares me, anyway.

On 2016-06-16 05:51, AkronTiki wrote:
Always very interested in this subject; our spot in Ohio is 6b now – apparently they adjusted the zones about 4 years ago due to sustained warming. We just used arborvitae as a natural fence for our pool area (not tropical, but it is green) and the rest is surrounded by loads of daylilies, hostas and an assortment of tropical-looking potted plants (palm, fern, canna, coleus) that I have scattered around. With the Japanese maples and Chinese dogwoods (which seem to hold spring blooms forever) the effect is pretty good.

I also bring out 6 large potted hibiscus that I keep alive in the basement every winter – I just water them and leave a full light spectrum bulb on 24/7 down there. After I cut them back, they drop about 90 percent of their leaves, but often still bloom. Once I put them back out on the pool deck after the last frost, they snap back and usually look pretty good in about 3-1/2 weeks; I’ve had them for about 6 years now.

If I could add a couple hardy tropical perennials that would survive the winter I might. Have considered hardy bamboo in the past – but really have no place to put it now, and its potential invasiveness scares me, anyway.

I had the same concern regarding bamboo after having to destroy a tract of it at my parents' house. I planted some miniature, variegated bamboo at my home- cannot recall the name. To control it, I first planted it in a metal wash bin. Then I placed the wash bin in a wood half barrel that went into the ground, but with the top just above ground level. That has contained it thus far by I watch it like a hawk.

We planted Bambusa textilis var. gracilis bamboo in 08/2013 for a privacy hedge in a section of our yard. It's a clumping bamboo, not running so the culms come up close to the original plants and can be easily removed when just shoots. We added a liner to the fence wall side of the bed before planting just for extra piece of mind but many told us it was unnecessary. After researching clumping bamboo for our area, I liked this variety for it's upright nature, thinner culms (easier to cut when mature), and estimated height of 20 feet in our area. I'd say some of the older grouping of culms are about that now. The nursery's website said it's lowest temp was 5F, so definitely hardy for our area. Other than some pruning of errant culms on occasion and feeding during the spring to fall season, it's pretty maintenance free. We're not quite there yet with full privacy screening from the 2-story house behind us, but getting there. Here's some photos. Last photo was 01/2016.

The planting area here is only 5 feet from fence to fireplace (less when you consider the stepping stones) and one of the reasons I selected a narrow culm bamboo. As you can tell we have this on a drip with the rest of our landscaping. Mulch helps hold the moisture in the ground during our hot summer/fall days. Seems to tolerate the heat pretty well and when the leaves look curled we give it some extra water with a watering can, but this hasn't been a water hog at all.

This was a photo from 12/2015. It's grown and filled out quite a bit more since the weather has gotten warmer. Some fertilizer helps green it up and encourages growth. Love that it is evergreen and always provides privacy. Our fence btw is around 5 feet so you can judge the height. I will mention that you can top bamboo and it won't grow any taller if you prefer a hedge- rather than natural-look.

Some close ups of the culm/leaf structure. The mature culms for this variety should be around 1-1/4 inches.

This is the north SFBay nursery we bought our bamboo from: http://westcountybamboo.com . If you click on the" Bamboo" tab it will take you to the species/varieties they carry. More importantly it will give you info on whether it's a clumped or runner, height, cane dia., lowest temp, lighting requirements and pricing. Very helpful if you are researching specific requirements.

Another great site for bamboo research is the American Bamboo Society. They have a more extensive list of species listed for various areas of the country and what I found really great was if you found a variety you wanted to find locally, they have a "Sources" button there that will help you find it. That's how I came to find the nursery we purchased from. Here's that "Species" webpage, and do check out all the other info they make available such as care, etc: http://www.bamboo.org/BambooSourceList/BambooPlants.php?G=All&M=1&Button=FIND&U=I&S=1 .

I will mention that you should be very careful to get the full name of the bamboo you decide on and ask for it because some are variations with different traits and you don't want to be surprised down the road as it matures. For example there's a difference in mature height, cane diameter and lowest temp. between Bambusa textilis, Bambusa textilis gracilis and Bambusa textilis var. gracilis.

Bamboo scares me because of everything that I've heard about it getting out of control... but I would love to be able to plant it around the perimeter of my back yard fence...

Poly_Nesia, I just read your post about bamboo on the other page. Looks like a good solution to my concerns. Thanks for sharing the info!
And thanks for the palm suggestion too!


Spike
http://www.facebook.com/thehulagirls
http://www.thehulagirlsmusic.com

[ Edited by: Luckydesigns 2016-06-17 11:16 ]

Folks, a couple of years ago we bought about $10,000 worth of mature (12-15' tall) bamboo from this place:

http://beautifulbamboo.com

They sell "clumping" and "non-clumping" varieties and have a pretty informative web site. The non-clumping stuff creeps and expands, however they said it can be fairly easily controlled by breaking off the new shoots when they pop up. Otherwise just buy the clumping variety which handles the weather in your area.

There are some good reasons to buy the creeping/non-clumping -- the colors and shapes of the bamboo is diverse, and if you fall in love with a certain type of bamboo, you may choose to buy non-clumping and just keep an eye on it.

Have fun -- it's great stuff if it can tolerate your weather.

Our HOA will not OK running bamboo but was OK with the clumping variety. Running rhizomes travel farther from the plant than clumping variety.

For people with small yard space and timid about considering bamboo in general, I'd recommend looking solely at the clumping variety. In either case you want to keep an eye out during growing season especially for new shoots emerging and decide if they are keepers or not. Easier to remove at the shoot stage than as a "bamboo pole". And you will want to thin out your clumping stand as time goes to keep it healthy.

Took this photo to show some of the new shoots emerging on ours. We'll go in this weekend and snap off the ones that are on the other side of our irrigation. You can also cut through the rhizome with a garden tool to kill off unwanted growth direction and dig out that unwanted portion. For maintenance think of the clumping in terms of canna growth, although our Canna intrigue spread much faster than our B. Textilis v gracilis does.

BTW each year will see the diameter of the emerging culms increase to the point of maximum diameter. What you see coming up will be the diameter of that culm for the life of it. Similar pattern for the height. Bamboo is pretty slow the first two years in ground. Very cool plant and some gorgeous culm colors as mentioned on the larger bamboo, cool looking shaped culms as well. Finding something "tropical" looking, evergreen, fairly fast growing for privacy, and relatively low maintenance gets to be a challenge especially for zones 9 and lower.

[ Edited by: Polly_Nesia 2016-06-17 14:36 ]

I'll share one other site I found invaluable in getting educated in bamboo, Bamboo Garden. Good info on planting and care, including photos of cold hardy bamboo varieties. The photos of the rhizome structure was very helpful in understanding how both running and clumping propagate ( http://www.bamboogarden.com/Hardy%20clumping.htm#Clumping%20rhizome ). This is our first home with space for planting anything (more or less Mediterranean in the front and saved tropical for our backyard) and neither one of us has a green thumb so I did quite a bit of research. Glad to hear that the shared links and photos are helpful. We're pretty much planted out and have had a few years to see how things grow and now looking for additional tiki and landscape lighting to add to the beds.

Here's a good place to start your "researching":

http://www.landdesignpublishing.com/docs/LPCG%20Sections%201-3.pdf

Check out pages 52-53, 72-73, 92, and 116-125

Not sure how useful this will be, but if you've got a Tractor Supply Company location near you, it might be worth checking out.

Last year I picked up several tropical hibiscus. I thought since I'm Zone 8b I might be able to nurse them through the winter. No dice. They were completely dead before Christmas. I'd originally intended to get Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), but for some bizarre reason they're not commonly carried by nurseries around here, and those that do carry them charge an arm and a leg--far more than for tropical hibiscus. Well, today I stopped in at Tractor Supply Co. because they often have interesting things there, and I was surprised to find a display with a bunch of Rose of Sharon plant from DeGroot. These are small, mind you, 6" stems with about 8" of bagged roots, but for the list price of $6.99 I thought it too good a deal to pass up. At check-out, though, I found out they were 50% off. I ended up getting an Austin Dewberry as well--total spent, $6.35.

I still hope to pick up some hardy hibiscus that sport more garish, tropical-looking flowers, but the Rose of Sharon makes for a attractive, low-maintenance semi-tropical addition to the landscape.

Sorry if this one has been mentioned before in this thread, (I'm still a newbie), but if you live in a colder climate and want a "tropical" look for the garden then Strelitzia nicolai is your best friend. This is a giant cousin to the ever popular "Bird of Paradise" Strelitzia reginae, and has those wonderfully tropical looking banana-like leaves but it's WAY tougher than any banana. It will tolerate frost for a start. It clumps naturally and can be divided or left to create a thicket. It grows to maybe 15/20 feet eventually and can look a little untidy if not "groomed". The flowers are large white and blue "birds"!

Potted size: IMG_7186_530x@2x Flowers: web_flowers Half-grown...look at those wonderful "tiki" leaves! il_fullxfull.2357357785_dpmh

[ Edited by TIKIGIKI on 2023-01-23 22:28:48 ]

Pages: 1 2 3 4 158 replies