The Q&A Archives: Tropical plants for Zone 8 sunny spot 10:30 AM til 2:30 PM

Question: Dear Monrovia Expert(s),
Am designing a new, small 17'x17'NE facing courtyard garden in downtown Dallas that gets about 4 hrs of sun mid morning to mid afternoon. Three sides bordered by tall (three stories) building (stucco/stone light in color) E has 7 ft tall privacy fence. Would like to use tropical plants. Plan to use cannas, musa acuminata 'zebrina', bambusa multiplex 'alphonse karr', miscanthus sinensis 'variegatus' BUT all die back in winter. Am considering trachycarpus fortunei and a cycas revoluta for year-round structure. Ophiopogon japonicus 'nana' and houttuynia cordata 'chameleon' as grouncovers. St Augustinegrass sod for small lawn area. Soil is clay but amending w expanded shale and OM. Have installed french drains and zoned irrigation system. Any other suggestions? Am working monm so garden needs to be low maintenance.Thanks for your help. Have had GREAT success w Monrovia plants in the past. Am a loyal Monrovia fan.

Answer: Kathryn,

You are on a great track there! I would use a zoysia rather than St. Augustine for a neater tighter turf in such a small area. As you know the light is very limited but I would be tempted to consider some type of upright evergreen. While junipers may not quite get enough light an upright plant like Will Fleming Yaupon might do okay, although that is not a Monrovia variety. I would definitely include Monrovias 'Sienna Sunrise' nandina for dramatic cool season color and evergreen foliage. One of their Aucubas may also provide some evergreen interest for you.

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