what tropical plants [or look a likes] or hardy for z6a cincinnati ? i am near the river [3 blocks].
Jeff, none that I know of. They would all need to be kept above 40 degrees - do you have a warm area to store them over the winter?
There are all kinds of interesting plants for up north, I used to live in OH. Not sure if you have shade or sun, what size plants you want, but there's... Wisteria, Dicentra (bleeding hearts,) Pieris, Baptisia, Brunnera, Alchemilla, Polygonatum, Thalictrum, Heuchera, ferns, staghorn sumac, bottlebrush buckeye, Hostas, Hisbiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon,) ginger, not to mention all of the bulbs that can be stored dormant in a basement... elephant ear, Cannas, Gladiolus, Dahlia, Caladium.
Musa bananas are known to overwinter where you are with a little extra care, this guy's doing it. I lived in central OH and had Mirabilis jalapa against the basement wall on the west side, which survived for years and the tuber was moved to AL and is still doing great. A friend a few blocks away had perennial Cannas around her brick patio, for about 15 years until I moved down here.
Jeff, thought of this post when I saw this.
With some carful selection you can many tropicals around here!
You should check out briansbotanicals hes not for from and totally worth the trip, for inspiration alone, not to mention after your inspired he will sell most of the stuff there to you.
elephant ears cannas palms cacti bananas the list goes on and on, but you must select carfully most tropicals are marginally hardy here at best, but theres a few of us that are trying...I dig and store most of mine but some stay out, lots will this year im over run!
its late, if you need more advice email me and I can help more, Its possible i wont check this thread for some time...
Brian Williams (Brians Botanicals has zone 6 hardy colocasia.
Also you could grow Musa basjoo, tetrapanix (rice paper plant) huge leaves, Needle palm, and possibly some eucalyptus.
If you want more info email me directly email@example.com