Trying Tropicals in your Garden

Some of my favorite plants to use in annual displays are tropicals. They usually add vibrant color or large, bold foliage. The best part is, many of them are deer proof. Lots of annuals by nature are technically tropicals, but here are a few of my favorites and why I like to use them.

Cannas are an absolute must have. While there are lots of varieties to choose from, I’m a sucker for the ‘Tropicana’ canna. These have striped leaves with bronze, green, red, orange, and purple, and saturated orange flowers. They look stunning in masses or snuck into full displays of color or even containers. Put them in a sunny spot and give them lots of water for the best color variations. If you dig up the corms each fall, you can store them in a dry place and use them every summer. I like to leave them in the landscape as long as I possibly can just in case they are able to overlap with some of the fall color. Just be sure to dig them up before the first frost.

Elephant Ears are a tropical bulb. You can usually find them at a local garden center, but it’s also really fun to order some extravagantly large or colorful elephant ears over the internet. I recommend, if you have the space for it, trying the Thai Giant Elephant Ear. Other exciting finds are the ‘Mojito’, ‘Black Beauty’, or ‘Hilo Bay’ varieties. These three have a dark colored foliage that looks sharp contrasted with oranges or chartreuse.

Lantana has to be one of my all-time must-have annuals for low maintenance. There are so many punchy, fluorescent colors to match almost any annual color scheme. Best of all, they are extremely draught tolerate. For that reason I love to use them in containers. These are fairly common in the landscape industry, so shop early for summer flowers and you should be able to find them in pinks, yellows, oranges, magentas and pinkish-reds.

Add color and fullness to your garden this year with some of these fun and flirty tropicals, and check out our Tropicals Pin Board for more inspiration!

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