Garden Photo of the Day

Spice Up Your Garden With Tropical Beauties

Warm-climate wonders grace this garden for the summer

Today’s photos come from Barbara Cain of Norwell, Massachusetts, who shares some of the beauties from her garden this year. Many of these plants are tender perennials—tropical plants that can’t survive the winter in New England but can be grown as annuals, or in the case of Barbara’s Brugmansia (angel’s trumpet, Zones 8–11), overwintered indoors before being returned to the garden. A surprising number of plants we think of as annuals are actually perennial in warmer climates, and many of them are worth trying to overwinter on a sunny windowsill so you can reuse them the following season. Barbara describes keeping her Brugmansia in a dark basement over the winter. That has worked for me, too, and I have used the same technique to overwinter begonias and tropical hibiscus. It never hurts to give it a try if the alternative is leaving a plant outside to freeze.

Barbara’s comments follow each photo.

Dwarf banana (Musa sp.), sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), and dipladenia (Mandevilla sp.) provide a little splash of color in my annual pot next to my driveway. All three plants are tender perennials, generally grown as annuals in cold climates.


Monarch butterfly on tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7–10 or as annual). Though monarch butterflies require milkweed for their caterpillars, the adults feed on nectar from a wide range of plants as they migrate south for the winter.


Passionflower (Passiflora sp.) on my cedar tree. The flower is a nice surprise every year. It is a tropical, otherworldly vine.


Variegated Brugmansia (angel’s trumpet, Zones 8–11). This plant was grown from a cutting, and I’ve have had it for many years. The flowers are very numerous every year. It does need regular fertilizing and frequent watering. I keep it in my basement in the dark for the winter and water it occasionally. I prune it back in the spring to remove dead branches and to shape the plant.


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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/24/2018

    Your container combo that includes the dwarf banana tree is quite striking...each of the three plants look wonderfully healthy and they work together beautifully. And, it has to be a thrill each year to see your 'Angel's Trumpet' come back to life and reward you with so many blooms.

    1. beesknees123 10/24/2018

      Thanks for you compliments. I used to plant a regular size ornamental banana plant in the pot which would often grow 4-6'! I decided to tone it down a bit with the dwarf one.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/24/2018

    That monarch pic is amazing!

  3. btucker9675 10/24/2018

    Beautiful photos! I just love the color of that angel's trumpet - so soft and lovely. I overwinter my tender potted porch plants in our garage - it gets good sunshine and is insulated from the worst of the cold. So far it's worked well.

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