Today Margaret Pettit is sharing some photos of tropical beauty from Maui! If it is still cold where you garden, prepare to indulge in a little tropical escapism.
A brilliant bloom on a tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Zones 10–11). This brilliant flower is an iconic inhabitant of warm-climate gardens around the globe, but interestingly, it has never been identified growing in the wild, so the exact origins of the plant are unknown. Some researchers think it may have originated in India and quickly spread through gardens in Asia and the Pacific.
If you don’t live somewhere warm enough for hibiscus to be perennial outside, remember that it can be successfully overwintered if kept somewhere cool and dry, such as a basement or a frost-free garage. Keep these plants very dry to force them into dormancy, and they will drop all their leaves and wait out the winter months until warmth and water bring them back into growth in the spring.
Bougainvillea is native to South America, but the brilliantly colored, long-lasting bracts that surround the small flowers have made this plant nearly ubiquitous in warm climates.
Red ginger (Alpinia purpurata, Zones 10–11). Though they look like flowers, these showy red things are actually bracts that surround the true flowers, which are small and white. But the bracts are the show for the garden, making a beautiful, long-lasting display.
A banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis, Zones 10–11). This tree can spread to become one of the largest in the world, because the branches produce dangling roots that can grow down to the ground to support the continued spread of the branches. One specimen in India covers over four-and-a-half acres!
Roots of the banyan tree reaching the ground to support the spreading branches.
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