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Southeast Regional Reports

Tropical Houseplants Can Be Stars of the Summer

Many outdoor plants lag in summer heat and humidity, but not indoor plants

The longer I garden, the more I love seeing tropical plants growing outside of their pots, freed by adventurous and creative gardeners.  Having worked at a botanical garden with a glasshouse for most of my career, I know well the cooling, calming effect of lush tropical foliage. I’m talking about the usual suspects of small conservatories and living rooms: fiddle-leaf figs, corn plants, umbrella plants, elephant ears, palms, and bananas. So when a new greenhouse manager started moving large tropical plants outdoors and combining them with hardy plants, it took me a season or two to break down the glass wall in my mind to embrace this botanical mixed media.

This is a brilliant use of plants that don’t spend the summer struggling against our heat and humidity; instead, they thrive in it! That alone scores high in my Southeastern gardening book, but the benefits don’t end there. Visually,…

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