Tropicals instantly evoke a sense of serenity with their ability to make us dream of white sand and blue water. This summer, create your own vacation hideaway at home by adding tropical plants to your outdoor living space, or if you have a tropical plant already, now is the perfect time to take your beautiful tropical plants outside. Here are a few plants that you can enjoy both inside and out this season.
If you are looking for beautiful foliage, look no further than the Boston Fern. This popular fern’s trailing, flat fronds make it an excellent addition to any hanging basket. Native to the forest floors of the tropics, these plants thrive in cool places with high humidity and indirect light. The key to keeping your fern healthy is to keep it moist, mimicking its natural environment as closely as possible. Consider feeding your fern a diluted amount of an all purpose fertilizer such as Jack’s All Purpose Fertilizer during the summer months to help its foliage show better, then provide it the standard dose of fertilizer when it goes back inside for the cooler months. While your plant is inside, be sure to keep it away from any wood stoves or fireplaces, which dry out the air immensely and deprive your plant of the humid environment it loves.
Although the Asparagus Fern has the “fern” name, it is not actually a true fern, but a member of the lily family and more closely related to lilies and tulips than to other ferns. Its trailing foliage can be incorporated into a beautiful hanging basket or container for the summer time. This fern’s unusual needle-like fronds look soft but can be a bit prickly, and they will produce white flowers and red berries when situated in an ideal environment. Just like the Boston Fern, keep this fern moist to keep it happy and place it far away from your fireplace or wood stove during the cool months! Feed it a diluted amount of all purpose fertilizer during the summer to help its foliage show better and then the recommended amount when your fern goes back inside for the winter.
You may not be able to experience the deliciously aromatic groves of Florida up here in Virginia, but you can keep a slice of paradise in your own home with a potted citrus plant. Beautiful fragrant flowers and the delicious fruit we all know and love that appears towards the winter holidays means this plant is one that will provide delight all year. There are many varieties of citrus fruits, though the most popular ones are lemons (Meyer and Ponderosa varieties), limes, and oranges. Bring your citrus plant outside for the summer to provide your plant with more sun and to allow for pollination. The best month to transition your plant outdoors is May, and the best time to bring it back inside is toward the end of September. Let the plant slowly acclimate to the new light and the space when transitioning indoors and out. To encourage health and beauty in your plants, fertilize every 7-10 days with a citrus fertilizer like Jack’s Citrus Feed.
Native to the Philippines, medinilla has been prized as an exotic houseplant by European nobility for hundreds of years! This interesting tropical features a dramatic, drooping pink bloom that will last about 3 months, as well as a grape like cluster of lavender flowers which bloom for a much shorter period of time. It looks stunning cascading from a pot. When caring for your medinilla, water it well all the way down to the bottom of the pot and then let it dry ¾ of the way before watering again. The amount of time it takes for the soil to dry out will vary from home to home, so check regularly to find out how long this takes. These plants enjoy at least 4 hours of sun each day, but dislike direct light since, like the Boston and Asparagus ferns, they are exposed primarily to light filtered through the forest canopy in their native environment.
Mandevillas with their stunning pinwheel shaped flowers provide vibrant color year round. Native to the southwestern United States and Central America, they come in many wonderful colors as well as night illuminating whites. They are easy to care for, thriving in bright, indirect or filtered sunlight. Give your plant a balanced, high phosphorus fertilizer (20-20-20 or Osmocote) once every two weeks in the summer to boost the blooms. It is a vine, so give it a trellis to climb up as it grows!