. . . what are your favorites? I'm looking for ideas.
Tried to post this on the FOLIAGE forum, with no "takers".
Castor beans, some varieties of elephant ears and bananas
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.
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?
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.
"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.
"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.
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,
Howea Forsteriana, Clivia Miniata
Ravenea Rivularis (with lots of water and fertilizer and wrapped with cloth in the winter)
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.
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!
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?
I'd love a start! Got any requests for something you might like in return? How do I get ahold of you?
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!
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!
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
Brassaia Actinophylla, Monstera Deliciosa, Philodendron Selloum are my favorites.
Japanese Aralia. Nice leaves. Beautiful form. Fall blooms. Evergreen in 8b Florida. Very tropical looking.
HOw did you get your brug so tall? I have cypress gardens and I am lucky if it reaches 3.5 feet??
philodendon and cannas would work for you
The ones I have seem to be very hardy, and have seen reports of them taking down to 10F.