Tropicals forum: Growing tropicals in the north

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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jul 29, 2011 4:26 PM CST

Plants Admin

Since so many of us grow tropicals out of there hardiness zones much of the cultural information available to us is inaccurate. How much light can the EEars tolerate, what are your fertilizing schedules, how much do you water? Maybe most importantly, how do you get them to survive over winter? Let's share our experiences.

Xanthosoma sagittifolium is supposed to like full to part shade. Here I find they like part sun to part shade better. Morning sun has worked well.

When I grow Callas in ground, full sun, planted deep, lots of mulch and water are the rule. When in pots full sun means watering at least once a day in the heat of summer. Part sun seems to work better.

Love those Ears
Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/87d99d

Musa cavendish Nana-2010 and '11 w/ Musa Basjoo
Thumb of 2011-07-29/eclayne/266e3c Thumb of 2011-07-29/eclayne/9a6e63
Won't get nearly as big this year, but I got 3 pups!

Zantedeschia albomaculata tuber-2010
Thumb of 2011-07-29/eclayne/a2bade

Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Jul 16, 2012 6:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo) (Zone 10b)
Leap. The net will appear.
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AlohaHoya
Jul 29, 2011 8:48 PM CST
You bring them in in the winter, don't you?

I think you could grow Hedichium coronaria and H. gardiniera (sp?) as well...at least until the ground freezes!

Carol
It's all about choices.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Jul 29, 2011 8:57 PM CST

Plants Admin

Yes, they all come in for the winter Carol. Most as tubers but some in pots. I'll check out your recommendations as I'm on the lookout for fun new tropicals. Thanks.
Evan
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Jul 29, 2011 9:16 PM CST

Plants Admin

Hedychium coronarium or Ginger Lily. Floridata says hardy to 7b, grows from a thick rhizome and cousin of culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale) - http://www.floridata.com/ref/h/hedyc.cfm.

Beautiful blooms and habit, thanks again Carol.

Does anyone grow this in the north?
Evan
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo) (Zone 10b)
Leap. The net will appear.
Charter ATP Member Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Permaculture Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Farmer
Dog Lover Garden Art Cat Lover Orchids Garden Ideas: Level 2
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AlohaHoya
Jul 29, 2011 11:27 PM CST
I know that it thrives in a warm corner (surrounded by brick walls and in the sun most of the day) in Portland, Oregon in the Chinese garden. They cut it back and mulch it heavily.....
It's all about choices.
Name: Susan
Zone 5b (Zone 5b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies
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gardenersdetective
Jul 30, 2011 7:43 AM CST
In zone 5 Dragon Wing Begonias and Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' will bloom indoors all winter if brought in and treated as a house plant..
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Jul 31, 2011 9:07 AM CST

Plants Admin

Here's a few edible Xanthosoma, what I call Supermarket EEars.

Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/36d689 Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/5d2640Nice red petiole and dark green leaves. Labeled red Yautia.

Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/ef399d Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/3fc706Labeled pink yautia.

Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/3f6d19 Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/d55b17labeled white yautia.

Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/d39e7f Labeled Yautia Amarilla. Xanthosoma atrovirens I think but no variegation like Mickey Mouse. Disappointing.

Thumb of 2011-07-31/eclayne/d5557aGrouping with misc. callas and castor bean, Ricinus communis 'Impala'. None of the Xanths have gotten as large as quickly as the C. esculenta, top center.
Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Jul 16, 2012 6:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Jul 31, 2011 10:31 AM CST
Evan, you've done a wonderful job! I love the way you've arranged the plants, they're all shown off beautifully! Are you familiar with Brian's Botanicals? He's got a lot of great and unusual tropicals, and has been testing hardiness and lots of hybridizing.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Jul 31, 2011 12:58 PM CST

Plants Admin

I've been looking to get C. Pink China to try and overwinter here and I see BB carries it. Along with lots of others. I hope you've noticed the Castor Bean. You were right about delaying direct seeding until it warmed up a bit. These 2 were flattened last week by a storm w/heavy rainfall but I staked them up that evening and they seem to be doing fine.

Now if I can add enough diversity to my Cottage Garden, maybe....

This gardening is becoming very rewarding.
Evan
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jul 31, 2011 3:01 PM CST
I did notice the Castor Beans, they're so perfect with tropicals! And they're gonna be gigantic by the end of next month!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Region: Mid-Atlantic I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Tropicals
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HollyAnnS
Aug 8, 2011 3:32 PM CST
I love Tropicals, really I should try to curb my impulses as wintering them is a real pain. Can't seem to help myself though. My Port Odora Elephant Ears are doing great this year. I have 4 of them now, one at each corner of the Gazebo. I have successfully overwintered them for a couple of years now but I worry each spring if they will grow for me.
Thumb of 2011-08-08/HollyAnnS/11d601 Thumb of 2011-08-08/HollyAnnS/57da1e
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
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Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Region: Mid-Atlantic I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Tropicals
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HollyAnnS
Aug 8, 2011 4:00 PM CST
They are looking a bit ratty right now as we had a hail storm last week and it did a good bit of damage to my larger leaf plants.
I have two tropical hibiscus in pots out there, too.
Thumb of 2011-08-08/HollyAnnS/79834e Thumb of 2011-08-08/HollyAnnS/ed0c2f
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Aug 8, 2011 5:57 PM CST

Plants Admin

Hi Holly great EEars. Are the photos recent? I'd love to hear how you overwinter your Alocasia and how big they eventually get. My EEars have really taken off recently with some working on there 2nd leaf in about a week. Only Colocasia and Xanths though. I've been wanting to get an Alocasia if I can manage to over-winter.

I also tried a nice pumpkin colored Hibiscus which I bought at one of the big box stores. Not nearly as nice as yours though and after over-wintering they put out tons of new growth the following year but no blooms. What's your secret?
Evan
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Region: Mid-Atlantic I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Tropicals
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HollyAnnS
Aug 8, 2011 6:50 PM CST
Yes, recent pictures, just taken today.
Oh I was so careful with them, not!!! Just dug them up cut off the top and knocked some of the mud off them. Stored them under my seed starting table in an upstairs room. Two of them were in brown paper bags one just laying in a big plastic pot and one laying open on top of a trashcan lid as it was too big to do much with. I store my caladium bulbs in brown paper bags, and my cannas just laid out on plastic trays. Come spring they all just start growing.
Here are some pics of my caladiums.
Thumb of 2011-08-09/HollyAnnS/fbc3a4 Thumb of 2011-08-09/HollyAnnS/eca7e2
Thumb of 2011-08-09/HollyAnnS/0eb27d Thumb of 2011-08-09/HollyAnnS/c9682d
The Hibs are new this summer. I have overwintered them before but it has been a long time since I had one. I always have trouble with spider mites and other pests when I overwinter the tropicals.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Aug 8, 2011 7:34 PM CST

Plants Admin

Those Caladium are fantastic. Lari Ann posted that the tubers go dormant over on the Aroids Forum which got me thinking. Yours are great and I'll have to try some in the spring. Re: the Alocasia, are you kidding me. They're not sold locally so I've been agonizing over trying one. What temp. is the room you store them in? I store my Callas, EEars and banana in the basement @ maybe 60F. Do they need light? Sounds like they pretty much stay dormant. I usually plant in late May. Does that jibe or are you earlier?
Evan
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Region: Mid-Atlantic I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Tropicals
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HollyAnnS
Aug 8, 2011 8:09 PM CST
It's an up stairs room and the wood stove is in the room below it so it is a pretty warm room. Temp is probably at least 70 - 80 constantly but I think 60 would be fine. I store my cannas in a colder area. My son's basement which is colder. My Dad has his Mandevillia go dormant in the basement probably 60-70. I usually start them a bit earlier about the end of April in a protected area. Our last frost date is around May 15th. But this year I was running later and they really don't really get going until the ground warms up. The EE's were planted in ground around the end of May. I am hoping to get an earlier start next year as we are putting up a GreenHouse and I am hoping to put out good sized plants after our frost date rather than the barely started bulbs I am usually planting.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Aug 10, 2011 4:40 AM CST
I've found some Alocasias very easy to overwinter, specifically the green upright EE types. I keep them in a cool room and give them very light waterings. My favorite Alocasia, 'Metallic', was not so easy though, nearly lost it to rot a couple of years ago and was able to save it, but last winter I wasn't so lucky.

Evan, the 2 Alocasias that I have such good luck with produce plenty of offsets, I'd be happy to send you starts in spring. One is huge, some leaves over 40" long. The other is a big plant as a whole, but the individual leaves aren't as large. It's a bushier plant with more leaves. I gave a friend a pup from the large leaved one this spring, and it's already producing some big leaves- it's amazing how fast they grow once removed from the parent!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Region: Mid-Atlantic I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Tropicals
Ponds Hummingbirder Birds Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level
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HollyAnnS
Aug 10, 2011 6:09 AM CST
I have great success with some plants but I haven't quite figured out which ones will go dormant and come back and which ones just die off. I dumped a pot of dead taro in the compost only to find it growing beautifully in the garbage a few weeks later. My African Mask goes somewhat dormant also but the Mojito doesn't seem to be coming back.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Name: Susan
Zone 5b (Zone 5b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies
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gardenersdetective
Aug 10, 2011 8:31 AM CST
Holly I think it takes a lot of patience growing plants that aren't hardy in our zone. Finally I have a good grip on timing. I can move everything outside when it is consistently 60 degrees at night and I must keep in mind that the pot of dirt is not just a pot of dirt. By the end of June I have beautiful plants. If you can find the time I think journaling is very helpful. I often feel I learn more from my failures than my success. It's a little hard to imagine when your looking at a bunch of sticks in the basement over the winter. Didn't I see you post somewhere you are putting up a green house? Should be a very exciting year for you.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Aug 10, 2011 5:00 PM CST

Plants Admin

Neal you know I would! Can I interest you in some Z. albomaculata? Picasso? I'm sorry to hear about your Metallica. I've seen pics and it looks phenomenal. Wentii I think is the copper version which I thought looked great as well. How are the M. Daisies doing? I have several in reserve.
Evan

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