Tropical fake out for zone 5

tikigardenerApril 10, 2011

What more can i add to my zone 5 tropical yard. Preferably thing I can leave in the ground without too much fuss.

This is what I have so far. Canna, ee, gladiolas, Mexican shell flowers, all which I have to pull out. Clematis, hardy hibiscus, day lilies, roses, some grasses, I need more more more!!

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bananatree94(6a MI)

fargesia rufa bamboo, yellow groove bamboo, petasites japonicus, musa basjoo, ensente, shell ginger, heliconias (expensive), hardy opuntia cactus, hardy cholla cactus, hardy corypantha cactus (vivipara and sulcata), hardy agaves (cover from winter water), yuccas, annual eucalyptus, castor beans, tree ferns, hostas, ostrich ferns, rhododendrons, rose of sharon, lily of the valley, ligularia, begonias etc. lol. not all of those are hardy in zone 5, but you can easily store most in the house for winter.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:39AM
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Hit the fruit section at the market and load up on Taro Root. Plant it and you get these great plants that look like smaller elephant ears.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:15AM
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bananatree94(6a MI)

taro root = elephant ears, that term refers to the families colocasia, alocasia, xanthosoma, caladium and even some philodendron. the type sold in the common super market i believe is colocasia esculenta. i also think that you might end up paying more for the ones at the store, you can get the plants for cheaper, each one with several bulbs beneath. but jacklord is right about the fruit section, most tropical fruits in the market today have quick germinating seeds in them, just eat the fruit, plant the seeds and viola! you have a nice papaya plant or opuntia cactus x50 :).

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 12:48AM
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Thanks for the post! I, too, am in zone 5, with a tropical heart!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:10AM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

I have kniphofia, crocosmia, Louisiana iris, ostrich fern and hosta growing together - looks like a tropical marsh, with creeping jenny standing in for the water. Also red buckeye and Gamecock azalea, which look tropical against a Sum and Substance hosta.

Problem is, bloom time is limited with this, even though the leaf contrasts stay pleasing. One of the crocosmias repeats, cardinal flower and red hibiscus bloom later in the season. Throw in some coleus and sweet potato vine and annuals for more color. I'm trying castor bean the first time this year as my children are old enough.

Rice paper plant and nandina are hardy for me - don't know if they'd make it thru z5 unless your soil is real favorable.

If you cut back a catalpa or paulownia to the ground they'll make GIANT leaves for you.

Edith Bogue magnolia is supposed to take z5; big leaf magnolia and sweet bay also worth trying.

Cannas, dahlias and brugmansia will go completely dormant if you dig them - just store between 35 and 55 deg and ignore all winter.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Staghorn sumac tiger eyes looks tropical and should be hardy in z5 Also variegatd giant reed arundo donax soups be hardy. Castor beans are annuals and add to the tropical look

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:42PM
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I definately recommend Edith Bogue and Bracken's Brown Beauty Southern Magnolias for zone 5b and maybe a little lower

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 12:25AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I travel a lot and got the feel that tropical was more of a lush feeling than lots of flowers. Everything was big and tight. If you plant in a controlled garden plan it will not look tropical.

I stuff lots of stuff in and concentrate on color leaves. The bigger the leaves the better. EE, Hosta, Banana, Brunnera, work good for me to get the look. Canna has worked great for ease of care and winter storage than any of the tropical plants.

Canna Intrigue with hardy Hibiscus

Canna Bengal Tiger, Oriental lily, Hosta flowers, Yarrow

My plan is when I want color in height I use Banana and cannas. For lower color I use Coleus.

Look for big lush foliage and stuff the gardens and you will have the tropical look.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 10:47AM
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I forgot to say mimosa. There are mimosas that are hardy in zone 5 and those that aren't. Also some crepe myrtles are root hardy in zone 5.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:32PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

There are quite a few cacti and succulents that are perfectly hardy in zone 5, or even zone 4. Yuccas too. The key is to keep them from being waterlogged in winter, by planting in full sun on a slope (preferably facing south or southeast) or a mound with good drainage. I grow several different Opuntias, a corypanthus, yuccas and delospermas (ice plants) here in zone 6 RI.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 11:18AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Bill brings up a good suggestion with the Yuccas. I picked up 3 Yucca Color Guards this year.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:12AM
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Bananatree94, in zone 6, same as me. You mentioned tree ferns. Have you successfully grown a tree fern in your zone? I mean indoors or out. If I can successfully have one outdoors in the growing season and overwinter one in my basement in winter, come on and share some info how you do this. I have heard that the winter storage is not so simple for tree ferns. If it is just the same as for other tropical, I have heard wrong.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 11:32PM
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