Geeta sent in these photos of a tropical garden.
I have been trying to create a garden with a tropical feel to it for the last four years after we moved in to this place. The soil was a thin layer with stones underneath, so planting was difficult. I had to buy some garden soil to layer on top, but it still wasn’t enough for deeper-rooting plants. There were budget constraints, and I was excited and in a hurry, so I started planting in whatever condition the soil was. Another issue with the place was the presence of tall trees all around, which meant that the trees would lean over from the neighbors’ yard too, so sunlight was at a premium. I planted hibiscus, alamanda, plumeria—all flowering plants—but they hardly bloomed. Then I planted some shade-loving plants such as dracaena, arelia, and wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina), all of which are growing well. Some turtle vine (Callisia repens) has grown as a ground cover. The wandering Jew has also grown wild. Then there is the coleus, which has become quite an attention grabber. A scattering of curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii), four coconut trees, a mango tree, a small corner landscape, and a few other plants form my garden. It’s beginning to shape up, and I am loving the way it’s developed, though there is a lot more to do.
Shade-loving tropical plants fill this garden. Even if you don’t live somewhere where these plants can grow outside all year, they can be grown as annuals and then brought inside as houseplants for the winter.
A beautiful sago palm (Cycas revoluta, Zones 9–10). Not a true palm, this plant is actually a cycad, an ancient group of primitive plants.
Spectacular palm fronds provide a backdrop for the garden but also cast too much shade for some flowering plants.
The tree on the right looks like a papaya, which has beautiful and interesting leaves in addition to its delicious fruit.
A shady nook is planted with shade-loving plants in containers.
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