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Tropical Project

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

All projects have to start somewhere. And I've been inspired by Brian's photos in Kentucky for some time. I'm on a mission over the coming years to create this: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/828480/

So here's my start. 11 Basjoo, 1 Dwarf Cavendish, 1 Pink Fruiting Banana, 2 Super Dwarf's, 4 Alocasia Odora, numerous Colocasia's, Black Magic EE, Fatsia, a clumping bamboo, and a mix of cannas (with many more to come to fill in). I'm also testing my freeze survival luck with pothos, monstera, blue ginger, and parrot's beak heliconia. I actually think another pothos I put in the ground last summer survived the winter (it still has what appears to be live stem - I couldn't believe it). In any event all those later plants will require some heavy duty mulching come winter. If I loose them, no biggie - still have the parents in pots and/or plenty of others to go around. I may even try a Ti plant.

Here's what we started with. A pretty sloped hill with no real good use. Been leveling off that one back section where the small GH is to put a patio area. Figured the edge of the wood would be the place to start the 'jungle' project.

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Before shots.

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Where we got yesterday

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Another of yesterday, upper yard

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

What I was able to do today before mulching. Black Kow to help the sandy soil I hope. Overall the O and/or A-horizon of the soil was pretty good back here, not too much pure sand until you dug down a bit.

This message was edited Apr 2, 2008 9:45 PM

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

With the mulching to help the run-off on the hill. I couldn't keep soil in place before putting this down.

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Upper yard. Now we just have to fill in all the space with cannas we're purchasing - all sorts of varieties.

Any other filler ideas?

Thumbnail by keonikale
Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

philodendron bipinnatifidum
schefflera arboricola did great for me this winter
hardy palms
hardy hibiscus

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks. You think we could get philodendron bipinnatifidum to survive with good mulching?

I've also found a few more gingers I think will go well in the bed. I'm going to try growing beehive and shampoo gingers especially.

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

yeah... i have heard of them around there

Johns Island, SC

Might want to consider Ardesia japonica as a shady ground cover in amongst the trees...Nice foliage in the spring,summer,fall, and pretty red berries in the winter. Seems to compete well with tree roots here in Charleston, and I've NEVER watered it. I've used it successfuly as an underplanting for various gingers...

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

and fatsia

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks, I'll take a look at the Ardesia. diehrd, how easily can you propagate a Fatsia? Woody stem cuttings? I took one I had and put it in the ground yesterday and was curious how I can propagate it around the bed.

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

hmmm never done it, but that sound like what i would do

Georgetown, SC(Zone 8a)

I have propagated Fatsia from softwood cuttings, but it was a slow process. Seemed to take a long time from rooting to actually becoming more than a rooted leaf. I started them in water. Might've worked better to start in in soil. Not sure.
Deb

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks Deb. Seems like the one we purchased a few weeks ago had sent up a smaller shoot. So maybe over time it spreads like that as well. I went ahead and split them up and they both seem fine. I may try the cutting method still though too.

We added in a number of new cannas this weekend along with a couple of Banana Cannas, Chinese Fan Palms (which I'll probably dig back up in the winter) and some Yellow Flag. Should get a whole bunch of new cannas and gingers in the mail this week, so I'll be looking forward to getting them in the ground too.

This project is a test of patience... just everything's so small at the moment. Once it establishes itself and grows in, I really think it'll look nice. I've always wanted to create a lush jungle-like atmosphere like this.

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

Might want to throw a loquat in there. Nice foliage.

I don't think the heliconia will live for you.

Looks like a good start, tropical can be done in less than tropical locations.

(Zone 9a)

About 6 or 7 years ago we had a frost here and all the philodendrons browned off. However, they came right back in the spring and were bigger than ever.

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Figured it was time for an update. It's slowly growing in. By next year this should really be something jungle-like. I'm really having to fight off the Japanese Beetles this year - they're insane.

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

The lower bed closeup.

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Upper bed

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Lower Bed

Thumbnail by keonikale
Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

And one of the front yard beds, the upper bed.

Thumbnail by keonikale
Georgetown, SC(Zone 8a)

Wow! It's really come along. Good job! And your front garden is beautiful, too!

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks. I was looking back and I realized how ugly it really used to be back there - yikes. I just need a few more evergreens in place, else it'll be ugly all winter long again. Or worse, since I'll probably put black pipe around the banana trunks. LOL, that'll be reaaal pretty.

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

Have a few ideas for you.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/772/index.html

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53834/

Those two tree or shrubs will grow for you and I doubt anyone around you has them. They would both blend into a tropical setting.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/55401/
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/59780/

Might want to check those out.

If you're after some cold hardy citrus check this out. http://www.plantfolks.com/preview/sitebuilder/Plantfolks/CitrusAvailability.html

Your making good progress, looks nice. Just thought you might want a few other ideas. I have everything I've posted in my yard BTW.


This message was edited Jun 21, 2008 11:38 PM

(Zone 9a)

Corey, where did you get your Ruttya fruticosa? I had a friend send me one from Texas; they are really neatand I love the common name - Jammy Mouth.

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

Core,
Do you have any idea where to purchase a Killarney Strawberry tree? Looks like both vendors shown have sold out or are not shipping now. Must say ..... your ideas are always great!
Thanks,
Barbara

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

Alice,
I just saw that your birthday was yesterday. Sorry I didn't notice before, but I hope you had a great day! That makes how many??????

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

Ardesia I got the Ruttya fruticosa from a trade. I'm having a rough time with a few of my small plants so hopfully nothing kills it off.

Barbara I'm not sure where you can get a Killarney Strawberry tree right now. I started my from seed. Traded with a guy over in Europe for a few things. Not an easy seed to get going. I'm sure by the fall you can probably find one. I wouldn't mail order anything right now because of the heat. Locally I seriously doubt you could find a strawberry tree. I have seen one in Fla.

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the suggestions Core. I am definitely going to have to try and 4'oclocks. My grandmother grew them next door to my folks house and I loved them. I haven't seen them anywhere else that I can even remember.

Do I have to plant them from seed or can I just take a cutting? And how invasive are they? I seem to remember hers spreading out quite a bit.

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

I started them from seed and they do put off a lot of seeds. I wouldn't say they're invasive but Ardesia probably does, LOL. She seems to really have it in for morning glories. They do spread but it just a matter of pulling up news ones that you don't want. If they spread into a yard the lawn mover will take care of them. I have mine in a shady spot and they haven't gotten wild on me. They also seem to do better as a group so they can use each other for support.

Let me see if I can find the thread but I asked if anyone thought 4 O'clocks were invasive and no one seemed to have a problem with them. Can't seem to find the thread.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

keonikale-I leave my chinese fan palms in the ground over the winter. If it goes to 17 degrees, then I wrap them, but they do fine. I would think in your zone, they would do even better! I also give mine more sun than it looks like yours is getting.

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks, I'll try wrapping them this year. I thought we'd lost one this past winter, but it's come back pretty strong. I think it just takes a year or so for them to get acclimated. My hostas have been the same way with the heat. Last year they fried, but this year they're great and thriving. In fact we thought we'd lost most of them, so we planted several Crotons in the front yard. The hostas ended up coming back and one actually grew right up through the middle of the Croton. It's funny looking and I like to call it my Hoston ;)

Johns Island, SC

I've got 3 Chinese Fan Palms that I estimate were 5-7 years old when planted here. Winter die-back the first year was horrible---most of the top growth crumped, and I thought I'd made a bad mistake in my choice--- but we cut the dead stuff off in the spring, and new growth emerged. Have not had a winter-kill of any significance since that 1st yr. (2003). Some of the older leaves get brown and puny from the cold fronts that sweep through here every winter, but the plant is hardy (IMHOP) in the Charleston area. Just cut off the frost damaged fronds, and new stuff will replace it so fast you won't even notice the winter-kill. Once those roots get fully established, you're home free with the cold. I do mulch heavily though, which may help...plus, only the older leaves/fronds seem to get cold damaged (???), which makes sacrificing them a lot easier.

Lexington, SC(Zone 8a)

I think the same is true for the Sago. I put two in the ground last year and of course they were fried by the first frosts. Looked horrible. But I cut all the fronds off early this spring and they've bounced back. One looks like it never even lost all its fronds.

Thanks for the tips on the Chinese Fan Palms, I feel better about leaving the two new ones out in the ground. I plan to mulch very heavily in that bed, since I have a few zone 9'ers in there (3 Cavendish bananas and some gingers). I figure if Brian can grow what he does in Kentucky, surely I can get away with a single zone or so. I may get weak though and dig up a banana still - I did last year. At least the bulk of the banana are basjoo and can survive even a hard freeze.

I actually had a Pothos (zone 10) growing next to the house last summer. I knew it'd be toast by the second week of December, and sure enough by mid-winter it was a rotted plant. But just last week the first of two new leaves popped out from the mulch near the back deck - I couldn't believe it. Pothos survived the winter in a zone 8!! There's hope for my zone denial yet.

This message was edited Jun 24, 2008 11:25 PM

Sumter, SC(Zone 8a)

zone denial...LOL I love it! you and diehardsthner should get along famously...he is one super young man who truly loves his garden! His mom should pay him big bucks for all the landscaping he has done in the yard...I can see her trying to move...he will dig the entire yard up LOL

you have dmail on the 4 o'clocks...also...if you wanna try any daturas LMK...I have about a dozen or so left (grown from seed this winter...lilac lefluer(18-24 inches tall at this point), dbl cream dat and metal (both approx 8" at this point if i remember correctly) I can't plant in the yard...I have to say no sometime and after working all day watering at the nursery for 9 hrs it is getting harder and harder with this heat to then come home and do my own yard..or worse yet....getting up at 5am to get a jumpstart on the yard prior to working...talk about giving a whole new meaning to the words "water boy" LOL

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

My My Momma says.

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

Hmmm ... interesting about the chinese fan palms that tigerlily leaves in the ground in Raleigh. Wish I had the nerve so I'll be anxious to hear how it does in Cola.

Here's a tip ya'll probably already know --
When I was in the FL Panhandle I had lots of Chinese Fans in my yard and they did great all year. Bought them at the palm "store" for $35 each for fairly large ones. Now I move back to Sunset Beach and I buy one in Home Depot in the "indoor" tropical section as one of their 14" tropicals for $18 a piece. So maybe the tip is to look for certain palms in certain cities where they're considered indoor to get a good price. Mines on my screened porch, but, like I said, I'm scared to put it in the ground here. Also, it's much deeper green when it has shade.

Core, did I ever tell you I lived on HHI for 15 yrs? From 1979 - 1993 and worked for Sea Pines Real Estate. Do you know Nancy and Bill Roe up there in Bluffton? They've been there forever.

Sumter, SC(Zone 8a)

whats ur moma say core

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