Is there anything better than admiring a leafy, colourful and calming tropical garden? With big, bold leaves on the dominant plants, colour and texture on the understory, our senses are catered for in the most TROPICAL way!
So how do you achieve a tropical garden at home? How do you take an area that is maybe bland and lifeless and create this wonderland of living things?
Firstly, find an area that's going to support the new plants with the right amount of sun and space. How is the soil? Does it need some improvement with maybe some mushroom compost, cow manure, garden mate rock minerals and some 5 in 1 fertiliser? If your soil is good to go, then we can get to the exciting part... what plants to choose!
The dominant plants will be the bigger growing ones which will form the framework of the area and protect the smaller or more sensitive plants in the understory. Choosing larger plants such as heliconias, palms, giant bird of paradise (strelitzia's), large gingers, bamboo or giant elephant ears. Plant these so they are spaced to create a bit of shade on some of the smaller plants like crotons, bromeliads, smaller gingers, ixora shrubs, ctenanthe plants, calatheas, gardenias and lots more.
What you are looking to create is a variety of leaf size (particularly lots of large beautiful ones), as well as leaf colour, shape and texture. Plant them close, be generous with the numbers to create a full lush effect. Try to layer the plants organically in a way that gives them some space to shine. Tropical gardens aren't usually 'planned to be neat and in line' like a modern cottage garden. You want your eye drawn in many different areas and not just in straight lines or even numbers... in fact most landscapers use odd numbers!
Another great tip is to group some plants together like crotons, bromeliads and ixoras for a more dramatic effect. So far it should be looking pretty good!
And once all your plants are in, how about adding a pond or a bird bath? Maybe a large bowl with some aquatic plants and maybe a couple of fish... it really doesn't have to be too elaborate or difficult to look after! You don't have to have the water moving with a pump unless you want to. A well designed bowl will do the trick.
Once the garden is all in, now all you need is some lovely thick mulch, perhaps some cypress or tea tree. Both look fantastic and insulate the soil really well to keep your plants happy and hydrated. Nothing looks worse then a dry stressed garden! Tropical gardens are tropical due to their lush, hydrated, humid effect and this is where soil health can make dramatic improvements without necessarily adding to your water bill.
After all of that, if you're still looking for more advice or feel a bit lost as to what to choose - please ask! We are here to help with garden design as a part of our customer service and love to help you create the magic at home.