I am interested in either tropicals, unusual, rare forms, or tropical-looking plants in the landscape, and was wondering if others had stories to share as well. I've had the success with the more obvious ones, like cannas, musa basjoo, golden bamboo, elephant ears, etc. but am more interested in others' successes with more rare plants. It sure would be nice to not have to drag all these plants indoors next year. So far, I have found these to be hardy for this part of NC, some with mulch, some with no protection:
Oxalis triangularus (purple shamrocks)
Oxalis "deppeii" (iron cross)
Purple wandering jew or purple heart
Several hardy hibiscus
And I am trialing this year
Cordyline (Ti plants)
I am interested to hear if anyone has success with oleander west of Raleigh, and if anyone has wintered philodendrum selluom, gingers (other than white butterfly) successfully outdoors.
I have 2 philo. selloum that I'm letting stay outside this winter. Of course, I'm in Z8, but I'll let you know the outcome. (So far so good. Green as can be. No damage from the two nights in the teens last week.)
Also two Hedychiums (Moy Giant and coccineum) are staying in the ground. They certainly went brown with the hard freeze, but I reallly do expect to see them back in spring.
Finally, one Curcuma Zedoaria and one Curcuma Elata, and these are the one's I'm most anxious about (and the one's I'll have to wait the longest for! :> )
I was interested to see that you had success overwintering the purple heart, since I am also trying that for the first time. Biggest risk I'm taking is Dracaena deremensis, which is under a tomato cage with a sheet tossed over it. So far, it's still green. Edited to say, I guess I don't have any actual sucess stories...yet. But I'm hopeful.
Thanks for responding! The PDN website lists the curcumas as hardy to 7b, so I was going to try those next year. I couldn't quite divide the P. selluom but I plan to try that next year as well. The purple heart dies back but reappeared in spring-no mulch or anything. It's all over the yard now! I left out pieces of Hedychium Flavenscens and Elizabeth, and hoping for the best. Good luck with the Dracaena, will be curious to hear how it does.
All the gingers I have came from PDN and I'm trusting in them that these are hardy. :)
I'll also be interested in how your Ti plant does. I have two that I brought inside and they are not very happy (too dry already, I think). Good luck, and 'come on Spring!!"
I'm just sort of lurking but I wanted to mention that at the store I work at here in Greensboro (W______t)lol, I noticed a new item in the garden center/Christmas area that I hadn't seen in our store before. They are styrofoam covers for plants and small shrubs. They kind of are shaped like a wastebasket (round type) and you just pop them over your plant and used garden stakes to pin them down. I only saw 2 sizes, the smaller one was about $3.50 and the larger one was about $5. Just thought I'd mention them. I thought about getting one or two but our weather here has been unseasonably warm so I don't want to waste the money or storage space on them right now.
You're welcome. I hope other stores got them as well. Our weather has been so mild that they haven't sold through very well so that may be the case in other areas too. They are wider around the mouth end and slightly tapered towards the flat top. I don't see why a plastic trash can couldn't do the same thing, stuff with leaves or drape with some kind of tarp or blanket should work about the same.
Oh yeah! I remember this now. :)
The P. selloum got to looking a bit weak over the winter and lost most of its leaves, but it's back in fine form.
The Curcuma zedoaria came up a couple of weeks ago and has "multiplied". :) Oddly, the curcuma elata hasn't shown it's face yet, which is worrying. I kind of dug around and it doesn't seem to have rotted, so I'm hoping it will still make an appearance. Both were mulched heavily and not watered til very recently.
The dracaena lost everybit of foliage. Feb. really did it in, leaving nothing but a 6' stalk sticking up, brown at the tip. But..surprise, it's not dead and is "starting over". A new little green stalk a few inches high. So, it'sll be smaller this year, but that's ok with me.
ALso, I had a snake plant survive as well (mother-in-law tongue? can't recall actual name).
I killed my Ti plants indoors back in January. :(
Watch out for cooking your plants if it you get a warm spell and leave a can or whatever covering it. If you know someone in the food service industry they can get you buckets, pails, etc for free. Lots of items are packed to stay cold but have containers that are normally throw away.
I am sooo gonna go kiss that selluom I just put in the ground this weekend, I am so excited now! One less plant to drag in! Good deal on the dracena and the snake plant.
I love Ti plants, but I put my nice ones in too much sun outside and they look bad. I wish they had leafed out from last year...lol.
I got a curcuma elata bulb this year and have had it in the greenhouse until last weekend-it was just starting to have a new shoot when I put it outside-I think they like it when the ground warms well. Kinda like when the Black Magic elephant ears come up. I also ordered some more...lol..I got Aussie Plume and petiolata 'emperor' I think, that one's not here yet.
I've had great luck with a good variety of Ti's (I ordered most of them from Aloha Hoya) but I am in such a warm spot.
The tropical Hibiscus I had in the ground did very well this year, the ones in containers suffered with that last (Easter) cold spell but they are finally coming around again. By next winter they will all be in the ground.
My Ruellia, which was gorgeous and hardy last year, did not come back despite heavy mulch. Maybe it would have if we hadn't had those two nights down in the teens this winter...not sure. I've heard they can survive in my zone (7b), but are "iffy"...
my ruellia, setcreasea, phil. selloum, all my hedychiums (about 10 var.), some curcumas have come up, a lot of different bananas, brunfelsia came back ( the ytt)-I was shocked at that!, my shell ginger and the variegated shell ginger came back ( another shocker), erythrina herbacea, most of the ee's (red stem coloc, Royal Hilo colo, all the black ones, aloc. persian palm and California)-the only one that didn't come back was the illustris -surprised at that. My hardy oleanders didn't come back, but planted some more this spring. All my palms did great ( have about 7-10 different ones), trying some more this summer.
Thats all that I can think of right now off the top of my head.
Your garden sounds fabulous! The Southeastern Palm Society is meeting at Plant Delights in July and non members are always invited. They often have lots of other tropicals for sale at these meetings and of course, PD will too.
Thanks Ardesia. I didn't realize that they were going to be at Tony's this year-I have been meaning to join for awhile-maybe this will give me the kick in the pants that I need-even though I don't have to join, it is a worthwhile membership to have. Are you coming in July? Are you a member of the SEpalm soc? Do you have palms in your yard? Do you happen to know if they sell any palms at the meeting, aside from what Tony has?
Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes, they will probably be selling other palms. At least they did when they were here in Beaufort a couple of weeks ago. It is such a neat organization. Their meetings are really sort of a big tropical plant swap/sale and information exchanges. Everyone brings their extras and sells to each other and then they tour fabulous tropical gardens. I do not know for sure but I am assuming Tony will have PD open for sales to the group.
I think their journal is worth the price of membership, I always learn something from it.
I've never had any of the tall ruellias overwinter, but the ground hugging purple one overwinters and spreads reliably every year...I probably had it for 6 or 7 years.
Purple shamrocks do very well and usually begin to flower in early spring. The purple wandering jew has just come back for its 3rd season with no protection. It is in a pot and is not moved inside.
That surprises me, tggfisk! Those taller "mexican petunias" can be downright invasive here in Charleston. Had a friend bring me one from Texas, but she didn't know if it was R. brittonia or R. malacosperma. I didn't, either. To be on the safe side, I planted the whole container (1 Gal) thinking that would reduce any spreading. LOL! Those things are all over the place now. In one year. And they're 4'-5' tall! It's a good thing they're pretty, or I'd pull out the Round-up! They're evergreen here, and add a little green to the outside of the greenhouse in winter, so I haven't dug them out yet---but if they don't slow down, they're outta here. Want some roots if I dig them?
Just looked over the Ti's etc. I'm book marking this post. I may have use for some of these plants but I'm done planting for this year. Pretty soon I'll start my list for next year. Basicly I have to see how my stuff from this year works out.
If you're tossing them out, I could give them another try:) Wanna try the short ones?? They don't run, they just keep spreading outward...but slowly. I just dug my original clump tonight to move it and take it down in size.
Anyone else want some?
And Kara, I said I wasn't going to do this;))...Didn't I??? But...I got almost everything else planted, so it's ok (?)
And ginger Dr. Moy comes back for me every year. It's always June when it does, though.
Very promising! lol Beautiful ginger, and the selluom looks nice and healthy, too, thanks for sharing (this is turning out to be a really good thread)...maybe next week I can take some baby pics of my new stuff to save for comparison later
Since I was out there with the camera, I took some more pictures-here is one of part of the front gardens. It is not a good picture-it doesn't show anything really. Its hard to get it all in one picture and show anything of interest! Maybe I should do smaller gardens...less time with the pick axe!! lol
Trop, I am a bit further West then you were probably thinking but in California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada oleanders grow like weeds. My DH's aunt and uncle have pink, red and white ones that line their entire property of 4 acres in Reno, NV. So I am sure they can handle both your heat and cold there. I have seen them on the coast of California and along the beaches in Mexico also so they can handle the humidity and the salt.
Oleanders are illegal to plant in public places in my county now. They are the highest contributor to our enormous pollen count and most people have an allergic reaction to them when handling them. So be careful.
Tigerlily, I love the flower bed pictures. Beautiful color...
Carat, Oleanders can be iffy in the Carolina midlands and above. Some years they do fine, others they do not. Frequently they freeze to the ground and it takes forever for them to come back.
I have one here that is invasive down here along the coast and it is too tall for me to deadhead the seeds. However, as a rule they are not much of a problem in this part of the country. My prettiest ones never seem to self sow.
Well I had some pictures and questions for you experienced folks---
I planted these basjoo (they were together in a small pot) this spring--they've really grown into each other. I know people hack them back every year, but since they're somewhere between 8-9 feet tall wasn't sure how much.
i have wintered them over outside but mine is up against the house and we use wood heat so the ground dont "freeze" there so i am not sure if that is why or not but i do have some at my down spout in front of the house that isent as close to the house as the others and they come back for me every year if i can get some batteries for my camera i will take a pic and show you,but i still think it is because the ground stays warmer ,so if you could try one up against your house and see how it does
well if it isent hardy to zone 6-7 i would bring it in,unless you have enough to bring one in and leave one out and try it and see i have a blue sage/salvia that is for zone 8 and it comes back for me every year but i know why it makes new plants on runners so you know what of the runners are protected somewhere in the garden lol and it is around the house as well so that might have something to do with it too lol i bring all my cucurmas in
good for you that is the best way to find out what will make it and what wont but in some cases we dont know how the winter is going to be,one year we could have tropical like weather and then next year have 6" of snow lol yeah right lol i do it your way if i have enough to leave one out side and bring one in then i do and that is how i have done it,cant wait to hear what makes it for you,
if you do plant stuff outside right now i dont think it would get a good root system to even try to make it through the winter,next year start planting things outside in early sept or even earlier so it willget astablished before winter,i heard that it takes 2 weeks to get rooted down but i wouldnt do that for the ones you arent sure of i would give them at least amonth to get rooted in good
Hey Tropicana-another zone denial lady here! lol I don't know when was the last time I thought I was in zone 7-not when I am buying plants, I'll tell you that!!
I would leave them all in the ground and mulch heavy-esp the ginger.
The velutina is going to throw up massive amts of stalks for you next summer-so don't worry about any of those babies making it.
I have the Sangria and it did fine coming back in the spring, and it was a first year planting like yours-but I would mulch it heavy. Mine is 3 times the size right now from a yr ago. All of my crinums have come back, and I have over 10 or more types, so I think they are pretty reliable.
I would not try to divide your Basjoo now, because to divide it, you have to dig the whole thing up (to do a good job-not cut into one of the corms). Bananas do tend to grow close together-do you not like the look or something?
Just went and took some pictures for you-
here is a clump of my basjoo with the stalks close together-I am not going to do a thing to them
tigerlily, thanks for the advice...don't have a problem with how the bananas look, they seem to like each other just fine. I had read that the would compete and not do as well planted on top of each other like that
one thing I want to add is that I know the soil is not good here either--somethings I tried to amend, but my gosh, I'd need 10 truckloads of manure, loam amd compost to get it how it should be
Just keep mulching and that will help to build up the soil/break up the clay...I am the laziest gardener! lol
Here is the velutina-this is a garden that hardly got any water this summer and it looks bad, but you can see (I hope) how large the clump is from one stalk last summer. Looks like crap-huh?? lol I hate droughts with a passion
want some pansies?? lol this is what most of my water has been going toward-have had to buy a tanker ful of water every week that past few weeks..this is just a small amt of them. Did I mention how I hate a drought...
Tropicanna: I know I'm a zone warmer than where you are, but here's my 2 cents anyway. ;-)
I have a Xanth. Lime Zinger that I left in the ground last winter. It had been chewed to the ground by ducks when it was only a foot tall so I thought it'd be toast. I'm z8 but, we had some freezes. It came back just fine. Didn't get very big - but I'm chalking that up to the duck damage preventing it from getting enought nutrients and grow time before the end of last season.
My Musa Basjoo comes back each year and seems to double in size, it's against a north wall.
I mulch all of them the outdoor aroids and tropicals the same way. Just a bunch o' pine straw in a wire cage around the stalk. Up to about 6-8 inches or so. Seems to work. They die down, but come back bigger the next season.
I 'm with Tigerlily because I am also "lazy" when it comes to doing all this change of season stuff, so the less I have to do to protect, the better! :> BTW, my basjoo is in solid clay with about 4" of actual top soil.
So far, so good.
I don't grow many tropical looking plants but I have to put in a plug for Hardy tapioca- the one PDN sells. It has thrived for me and looks good even in this drought with very little extra water. My hedychiums all look terrible and I don't think I'l get any bloom this year(from well established plants). On the other hand I have a Brug that has come back the last 2 years at least and I think it would bloom if we got any rain now. Go figure.
Edited to say that the Brug has had no supplemental water at all. The only reason it's still in the ground is I haven't gotten around to replacing it yet.
None of my hedychiums have bloomed yet, most are late bloomers so my fingers are crossed
Deb, good to know about the zinger...not ready to risk that one, but I have a jeoquinii that's about 5 feet tall that I'm gonna leave--there's two of them together andd hopefully I can split one to bring inside.
I'm gonna try using big pots filled with leaves...the cage stuff sounds like something I'd kinda have to mess with at least initially and I'm too slack for all that...lol
I have more questions I remembered yesterday, but slept on it and can't remember..lol
I don;t think that you have to do the cage thing. I just dump about 4" or so of mulch over the plant/roots.
Deb-I meant that I am lazy in that I don't try to build up the soil with amendments! lol But I am lazy in the winter protection area too...and also cleaning house!
Mulching every year really helps to build up the soil
I have that one too! lol (can you tell I am sick or what) Mine is a lot bigger-but 2nd summer, so that is why. It went thru the 17 degrees we had last winter (a few times) like a champ-I didn't notice any freeze burn or anything. Want me to take a picture, I will if you want to see a larger one. It is in the really bad drought garden-for all I know it may be dead! lol I dont like looking at that garden
Oh Tigerlily, I am a lazy gardener and housekeeper also. LOL But it works in the garden, the more mulch I dump on top the better the soil becomes. The worms seem to seek the mulch, enriching the soil as they go. Not sure that works in the the house tho... :-))))
I just hate to hear that you are still experiencing such a horrible drought. I am in Colorado this week and we hear a lot on the news here about the drought in this area. Naturally I left my irrigation system on to water my plants while I am gone and the weather at my home has been wet, big time. I had to email a neighbor pleading with them to go over and turn my sprinklers off. Sure wish I could have sent you some of that rain.
Interestingly, it is 2 zones warmer down where I live but it has been my experience that while I can safely leave Xanthosomas in the ground they do get smaller and smaller each year. Perhaps it is a fertilizer issue.
Tigerlily: I like to let the mulch do the work, too. ;>
And I'm with you Ardesia - if only there was a similar system for housework. What you said about the Xanth's getting smaller each year concerns me, tho. If my Lime Zinger gets any smaller next year I'll need a magnifying glass to see it!
Now considering digging it up. I have fertilized it, tho. Uh oh. Libra indecisiveness attack!
Bev: Yes, I am a Libra in the worst way! LOL! I can see both sides of every issue! I'm sure you understand. ;->
I envy my best friend, who is a Sagitarian, and never hesitates, just jumps in! It's uncanny sometimes how people are so true to their sign.
Tropicanna: So..obviously...I'm still waffling about my Zinger. Will it come back bigger or smaller? Can't decide, can't decide...