LARGE leaves . . .

redneck_growerJune 25, 2008

. . . what are your favorites? I'm looking for ideas.

Tried to post this on the FOLIAGE forum, with no "takers".

Cheers!

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jurassicdaryl

Castor beans, some varieties of elephant ears and bananas

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:34AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Try Tetrapanax papyrifer, especially the "Steroidal Giant" form.

What part of California are you in? You may be able to grow several different species of Gunnera.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:36AM
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redneck_grower

What part of California are you in?

San Joaquin Valley. I'm afraid that summers might be too hot and dry for Gunnera (without special care), or am I mistaken?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 2:49PM
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staceybeth(7 MA)

I have a"Giant Green" elephant ear and it is simple put, spectacular.. I also have some China Pink EE's too and the leaves are a combo of pink and green UNBELIEVABLE>.. I will try and post some photos later.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 8:51AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

"Hot and dry" and "large leaves" don't really go together! There's a reason why most desert plants have small leaves, or none at all! Most of the other plants that will be suggested, like elephant ears, will not do well under dry conditions--although I've found that Alocasias and Xanthosomas seem to tolerate dry conditions a bit better than Colocasias, which tend to get crispy for me if I don't water them almost every day.

Castor beans would be a good choice as they are very tolerant of poor, dry soil. Try the 'Zanzibarensis' selection, which has enormous leaves.

Many of the larger cannas like 'Musifolia' have very handsome foliage. C. indica 'Red Stripe' is another of my favorites.

Large-leafed plants I've seen in warmer climates that I like are the traveler's palm, Ravenala madagascariensis, and white elephant ear, Strelitzia nicolae. Both are very banana-like but have thicker leaves that don't shred in the wind and are somewhat drought tolerant (the Strelitzia especially). These probably won't be hardy where you are, but could be grown in pots and overwintered indoors.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:34AM
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redneck_grower

"Hot and dry" and "large leaves" don't really go together!

Yeah, I'm beginning to discover that. As you warned, my Colocasia's are getting a bit crispy right now.

One plant I'm trying that is working out pretty well is Acanthus mollis.

Thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming if you see fit.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:25AM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

i'm in the San Joaquin too. Unless you are in a cold pocket, i would say you are zone 9b. I stay away from the colocasias and alocasias. They aren't adapted to our climate. The red castor beans can be nice if trimmed. They perennialize here and can become trees. Here are some suggestions of plants i grow here,

Strelitzia Nicolai

Syagrus Romanzoffiana

Brugmansias

Howea Forsteriana, Clivia Miniata

Tibouchina Urvilleana

Monstera Deliciosa

Ravenea Rivularis (with lots of water and fertilizer and wrapped with cloth in the winter)

Cyathea Cooperi

Bougainvillea

Also, Jacaranda, Strelitzia Reginae, Passiflora Edulis, Passiflora Cerulea, Erythirina Crista-Galli...

There are tons of things you could grow, unless you are located in a frost pocket. Where in the valley are you? i am about 20 miles north of Fresno.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 3:42PM
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redneck_grower

Unless you are in a cold pocket, i would say you are zone 9b. . . Where in the valley are you? i am about 20 miles north of Fresno.

Interesting. I must live quite close to you; I'm in Madera.

I live east of town a bit, and we are in a microclimate that cools off more than some of the surrounding areas. My father-in-law lives only a few miles away, and I have seen my car thermometer drop as much as 10 degrees in the winter going from his house to mine. He can grow citrus; mine struggles, and I've about given up on it.

Interestingly, the National Gardening Association lists Madera as zone 8a, Arborday.org and GardenWeb lists it as zone 9. Hmmmmm.

I am under the impression that USDA has changed some of the zone designations. Maybe I'm wrong about my zone?

Perhaps I'm better off referring to my Sunset zone, which also happens to be 8 (I think).

I may give some of your suggestions a try. Thanks for the input!

Cheers!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 5:24PM
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rainydaywoman_z8(8)

Another very large leaf is Petasites Japonica, common name butterbur. They love water & can be invasive, so if you plant them in a buried kiddie swimming pool you can keep them contained and well-watered too. My petasite's leaves are now 4 ft across and the plants are about 5 ft tall. The kiddie pool works for gunnera, too. Let me know if you want a petasite start---they are 'starting' all over my yard because I didn't contain one plant! And did anyone mention cannas?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:47PM
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redneck_grower

I'd love a start! Got any requests for something you might like in return? How do I get ahold of you?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

Hey, sorry for the late response. I'm just north of Madera, outside of Chowchilla. Like you said, theres an area east of Madera that seems to get a bit cold, before you hit the thermal belt, which is where Ranchos Madera is. That's why theres all the commercial citrus, fig and olive groves there. In any case, plant anything tender/marginal near a south facing wall, where it would get the most amount of sun in the wintertime, and where reflected heat could keep the temperatures above the surrounding areas. good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 12:05AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

If you're willing to spend a little on the water bill, bananas will do well as long as they have enough water.
You most likely could benefit your colocasias too if you wrapped a soaker hose through the bed, put it on a timer to run 3-4 times a day and mulched over the top to retain the water. And brugmansias will go crazy grown this way!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 4:23PM
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stanofh

Another best bet for big leaves is Philodendron selloum. 3' and hardy for you.If you ever mail order the form "evansaii" you get 4' leaves(looks even bigger than it sounds) it might be a little more tender-still hardy for a Philodendron.
Alocasia sp. too are good.For you they might take a ton of water but if you went all out with "Borneo Giant" a mail order plant,the skys the limit

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 1:14PM
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stinkybuds

Brassaia Actinophylla, Monstera Deliciosa, Philodendron Selloum are my favorites.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 9:18AM
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darkman270(8b/9a)

Japanese Aralia. Nice leaves. Beautiful form. Fall blooms. Evergreen in 8b Florida. Very tropical looking.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Karen11111

HOw did you get your brug so tall? I have cypress gardens and I am lucky if it reaches 3.5 feet??

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:00PM
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fossel

philodendon and cannas would work for you

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:17PM
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crispy_z7(7B-8A)

Fatsia Japonica

The ones I have seem to be very hardy, and have seen reports of them taking down to 10F.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 2:15PM
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