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Midwest Regional Reports

Tropical Foliage for Sun and Shade

Create a lush jungle in your garden using these leafy tropicals

Fennel, Joseph’s coat, glossy swiss chard, and ‘Maurelli’ red false banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelli’, Zones 9-11). Photo: Erin Presley

Hot and humid Midwestern summers allow us to luxuriate in a taste of the tropics in the garden. Although tropical flowers in red, orange, and yellow can provide a fiery burst, it’s the color and texture of foliage that carry the day in creating a tropical look. You can create your own tropical foliage scheme in full sun or deep shade, and these leafy tropicals often tolerate a bit of neglect in comparison to more floriferous designs. Overwintering tropical foliage plants either by growing them indoors or letting them go dormant means they can live on to provide an increasingly bold statement in subsequent years. Looking to breeze through summer heat with tropical foliage? Create a lush tropical look in your garden with these selections that thrive in the Midwest.

‘Ogon’ sweet flag and ‘Déjà vu’ philodendron (Philodendron ‘Déjà vu’, Zones 10–11). Photo: Erin Presley

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