How to Grow and Care for Rare Tropical Plants in Your Backyard

How to Grow and Care for Rare Tropical Plants in Your Backyard

How to Grow and Care for Rare Tropical Plants in Your Backyard

Growing rare tropical plants in your own backyard can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and care, it is possible to create your own personal tropical oasis at home. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to grow and care for rare tropical plants in your backyard:

Selecting the Right Rare Tropical Plants

The first step is choosing which rare tropical plants you want to grow. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Hardiness zone – Make sure to select tropical plants suited for your backyard’s hardiness zone. Many rare tropicals are only hardy in zones 10 and above.

  • Sun exposure – Most tropical plants thrive in full sun, needing at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Some tolerate partial shade.

  • Mature size – Consider the plant’s mature height and width to ensure it fits the space you have. Many exotic tropicals can grow quite large.

  • Growth rate – Some tropical plants are fast growing while others are slow. This affects how quickly you’ll achieve the full exotic look.

  • Special needs – Certain tropical plants have specific needs like consistently moist soil, frequent fertilizing, or sandy soil.

  • Rarity – Prioritize rare tropical plants that are hard to find like Tahitian Bridal Veil, Philodendron Melanochrysum, and Variegated Shell Ginger.

After assessing your environment and needs, make a list of top rare tropical plant candidates for your backyard.

Providing the Right Growing Conditions

Rare tropical plants require careful attention to temperature, light, soil, moisture, and humidity. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain daytime temperatures between 65-85°F and nighttime temperatures above 50°F.

  • Acclimate tropical plants slowly to avoid shock from sudden temperature changes.

  • Give plants bright indirect sunlight or several hours of direct sun if they tolerate it.

  • Use fast-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix amended with compost. Many tropicals like loose, sandy soil.

  • Water when top few inches of soil become dry. Avoid soggy soil.

  • Increase humidity around plants by misting leaves, using pebble trays, and running a humidifier. 40-60% humidity is ideal.

  • Shelter plants from drying winds and winter freezes. Move potted plants indoors or use protective coverings.

Providing the Proper Potting and Fertilization

To help rare tropical plants thrive, use:

  • Shallow, wide planters that prevent root rot. Make sure pots have drainage holes.

  • Orchid bark, perlite, or sand in the potting mix to improve drainage.

  • Slow-release fertilizer applied every 2-3 months during growing season.

  • Foliar sprays with liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks.

  • Iron supplements if leaves are yellowish. Tropicals need micronutrients.

  • pH-balanced water between 5.5 and 7. Test and adjust water alkalinity.

  • Filtered or distilled water if your tap water is hard or salty.

Controlling Pests and Diseases

Rare tropical plants can be susceptible to fungi, bacteria, and pests. Follow these tips to keep plants healthy:

  • Inspect plants regularly and remove any diseased foliage immediately.

  • Disinfect pruning shears between each cut to prevent spreading disease.

  • Apply fungicidal or bactericidal sprays at first sign of infection.

  • Neem oil, insecticidal soap, and other natural pest deterrents can control bugs.

  • Remove pests like spider mites by hand or use horticultural oil sprays.

  • Apply systemic granules to soil for pest prevention. Reapply every few weeks.

  • Remove fallen leaves and debris regularly to prevent fungus gnat infestations.

With the right growing conditions and care, your backyard can be brimming with rare and beautiful tropical plants for you to enjoy up close. Pay close attention to each plant’s needs and act quickly if disease or pests become problematic.