Tropical leaves that can give your clients the oasis they desire

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Updated Aug 9, 2021
Photo: PixabayPhoto: Pixabay

Tropical paradises are amazing to visit and even better to live near, but unfortunately not all of us are able to do so.

For customers who may live just a bit too far away from the tropics but still desire the look and feel of a tropical area, why not talk to them about planting and designing with a few tropical leaves?

There are many to choose from, and each one brings its own benefit and beauty to the landscape, so take a look at a few we’ve picked out that your customers are sure to enjoy.

Royal fern (Osmunda regalis)

Photo: FTDFreshPhoto: FTDFresh

Royal ferns are best grown in medium to wet soils and thrive in partial shade. They are able to live well in full sun as long as they are hydrated often. They prefer moist, acidic, rich soils but are able to adapt to lesser conditions. Their preferred temperature is cool and summery. They typically grow in 2-3 inch tall clumps but can sometimes reach 6 inches tall.

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Photo: FTDFreshPhoto: FTDFresh

Plumeria leaf (Plumeria spp.)

These leaves produce beautiful fragrant flowers and boast thick stems, an abundance of flowers and leathery leaves. They typically begin blooming in early summer and last until fall. For best results, they require at least six hours of direct sun. They are able to grow in partial sun but they usually will not flower as well. The leaves can grow close to 20 inches long and 3 inches wide and are medium green in color and oblong in shape.

  • USDA Zones: 9-11
  • Sun: Full sun

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Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Photo: FTDFreshPhoto: FTDFresh

These palms require partial sun, as full sun will scorch it and not enough will cause it to shrivel up. They can grow to be 5 to 8 feet tall and are a good plant for indoor or outdoor decorating. These palms thrive in warmer temperatures, but be sure not to overwater them. Be especially cautious if the surrounding soil does not drain well. Humidity is preferred, as dry air tends to turn the tips of the leaves brown.

  • USDA Zones: 10-11
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade

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Photo: FTDFreshPhoto: FTDFresh

Bird of paradise leaf (Strelitzia reginae)

Birds of paradise can grow to be about 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, and they require regular watering and fertilizing in the spring and summer. During summer, try to keep the plant out of very bright sun, and during winter keep it drier and use well-drained soil.

  • USDA Zones: 10-12
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade

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Photo: FTDFreshPhoto: FTDFresh

Japanese aralia (Aralia sieboldii)

These evergreens typically grow from 6 to 16 inches tall and is noted for its lobed glossy dark green leaves. The leaves can grow approximately 16 inches wide and typically have seven to nine deep lobes. The plant will produce small flowers in fall, followed soon by black berries.

  • USDA Zones: 8-10
  • Sun: Part sun to full shade

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Photo: FTDFreshPhoto: FTDFresh

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema ‘Siam Red’)

These plants can grow to be 2 to 3 feet high and about 2 feet wide. They boast a mixture of green and pinkish red leaves that are sure to add a pop of color and class to your customer’s landscape. These plants can also thrive as indoor or outdoor plants, depending on the preference of your customer. Keep in mind that these plants are toxic to animals, so advise against them if customers have cats or dogs that will venture close to them.

  • USDA Zones: 10-11
  • Sun: Partial sun
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