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Backyard Paradise: A Guide to Tropical Plants


There’s nothing like being surrounded by lush, colorful foliage while relaxing in a tropical paradise. Wishing you could bring a taste of this back home to Bucks County? At Bountiful Acres we have a selection of tropical plants, including Mandevilla, Bouganvillea, Cannas, Hibiscus, Angels Trumpet and more, to turn your own backyard into an oasis. Here are some tips for care to keep your tropicals thriving:  

Water & Sunlight

Tropical plants make a great addition to your patio pots or landscape. You can plant them in containers with holes for proper drainage or straight into the ground. These plants love the heat, so even during the height of summer when other plants may be extra-thirsty, tropicals can withstand the drought. To replicate these conditions at home, consider the following:

  • Containers & Drainage: If planting in containers, ensure they have holes for proper drainage. Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot, a common issue for tropical plants when their roots are waterlogged.
  • Soil Moisture: Always check the soil, not the leaves, for moisture. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil to gauge its dampness. Only water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Over-watering can lead to root rot, causing the plant to wither and die.
  • Sunlight Requirements: While these plants enjoy warm temperatures, they can be sensitive to direct sunlight. Most tropical plants prefer bright, indirect light. Protect them from the sun’s most intense, mid-day rays to prevent leaf burn. A spot that gets morning sun but is shaded during the hottest part of the day is ideal.

While these plants enjoy a temperate climate, they are still susceptible to damage from the sun’s rays. For most tropical plants, bright, indirect light and protection from the sun’s most intense, mid-day rays is best. This means placing them where they get morning sun or dappled light throughout the day, rather than full, direct sun which can scorch the leaves.

Soil & Fertilizer

Jungle soil is loose and rich because tropicals don’t do as well when their roots stay wet, and soggy, poor-draining soil saps their health and beauty quickly. When planting at home be sure to use soil of similar construction. A good potting mix for tropical plants typically contains ingredients like peat moss, perlite, and pine bark to ensure proper aeration and drainage.

Tropical plants also need the essential nutrients from fertilizer just like your other plants. Feed your tropicals when planting and throughout the season at regular intervals. Along with the active ingredients nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) which will promote growth, giving your plants iron and magnesium can help boost the rich colors. Look for a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or a specialized tropical plant fertilizer. Talk with our garden experts before taking your plants home to determine which soil and fertilizer are healthiest for your blooms.

Keeping after Summer

Your patio tropicals can last year-round with the proper care and attention to changing weather conditions.

  • Indoor Transition: Once the nightly temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, start moving your tropical plants indoors. They still need proper sunlight so make sure they are positioned in a spot to absorb the natural light. Choose a location with ample natural light, such as near a south-facing window. If natural light is insufficient, consider using grow lights to provide the necessary light intensity and duration.

It is also important to keep up with routine maintenance of deadheading and pruning while indoors. You can even clean the leaves of dust with a soft, slightly wet sponge or cloth, which helps the plant absorb more light and maintain its health.

In addition to light and cleanliness, monitor the indoor humidity levels. Tropical plants prefer higher humidity, so if your home is dry, consider using a humidity tray or a room humidifier to create a more favorable environment.

Stop into Bountiful Acres for our full selection of tropical plants and everything you need to fill your backyard with a taste of paradise. Our garden experts are here to help you choose the best plants for your space and provide additional tips for keeping your tropical plants healthy and vibrant. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy a lush, tropical retreat right in your own Bucks County backyard all year long.

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