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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hawaii Souveneir Plants

When I got plants from my trip to Hawaii in August 2010, I was really curious to see how long they would take to grow. However, I could not find any information or pictures on the internet about these "tourist" "souvenier" plants that you find in Hawaii. So thats why I made this post. Here is how my plants from Hawaii are doing on May 26, 2012 about 1 year and a half older!
Butterfly ginger. These bloomed for me last year. Now they are sprouting back up and ready for another summer. They are very robust. They were small plants when I bought them so I kept them in pots over the winter indoors. Then I planted them in the ground in 2011 and they took off growing to 4 feet tall by November. Here they are as of today! They will be much more impressive in a few weeks.

Next up is my coconut palm. When I got this it was a coconut palm with a little sprout and no roots. I potted it up and gave it full sun. It had no problems indoors by a sunny window and here it is now 1 year and a half later! Its a tall coconut variety and they do much better in pots and indoors than the dwarf varieties. I do have a dwarf malayan coconut palm in the left of this picture that is about a year older than the tall coconut from Hawaii.

Here is my Tillandsia that is mounted onto a lava rock. When I got this it was in bloom. Its pretty easy to care for and Im hoping for some blooms on it again someday.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Passion vines, they look tropical, but they are not!

Passiflora caerulea is definitely a flower that looks like it belongs in Florida or Hawaii and MAYBE can be grown as a potted plant if your lucky. And while this fact is true for many other Passifloras it is not true for P. caerulea  The flowers look beautiful on this Passion vine and they are definitely hardy to zone 7 and even lower. Believe it or not, there are other hardy Passion vines (also known as Maypop) with much nicer blooms then my P. Careulea. So do some research because, these are great vines for your tropical garden, or even your native garden because some species happen to be native to the USA!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Purple Hearts, a very tropical looking hardy perrenial.

Purple hearts (Tradescantia pallida "Purple Heart") are a beautiful groundcover that is often sold as annuals but actually can make fantastic perennials. I just started growing these beautiful plants last year and they have proven to have a lot of cold tolerance. They stayed green until New Years, handling temperatures in the 20s with only a little damage. Eventually they died to the ground, but in March they started coming back up!
It was a mild winter so a lot of unlikely plants did come up, but I can definitely see these plants surviving an average zone 7, New York winter. They are reliably hardy in zone 8 and up but they are hardy to at least zone 7 with mulch, possibly even zone 6b.
Here is mine right now as of early May. already with quite a few leaves.


Hardy Palm of the Day: Pindo Palms!

Pindo Palms (Butia capitata) are one of the hardiest feather leafed palms that there are. Jubaea may prove hardier with age. Pindo palms are quite fast growing and many have a really nice bluish tint to the fronds. Some pindos are completely green, the species is extremely variable.

Here is a picture of my butia going into it's second summer now. I have another one that is growing in shade and not doing as well. That one is going into it's 4th summer now. I do provide winter protection in my zone 7. This takes about 5 minutes to put on and can easily be taken off after cold spells are over. Last winter I barely protected this butia and the other butia was not protected at all.


I highly recommend this palm for the eastern US.

Vinca Vines, Invasive but beautiful

Vinca Vines are great ground covers but I warn you, once they are established, they are impossible to get rid of. The variegation is very consitent (unlike some variegated plants that will revert back to green). It blooms in the spring and fall and sometimes it will even bloom in the winter if you live in a mild climate or are having a mild winter with a long duration of few freezes. Mine usually blooms from early March to late May. I have had blooms in January.
They are evergreen for the most part here in 7b, but a heavy snow can make the leaves a little brown. They will grow back though with no problem as soon as spring comes and are hardy down to at least zone 6.

Musa Saba Growth Rate

Musa Saba in zone 7
Musa Sabas are one of the tallest growing banana plants that there is. They are fast growers with lots of heat. I got mine in early October 2010. Here it is through the years to give you an idea of the growth rate of these bananas in more northern climates...

October 1st, 2010

May 3, 2011

June 2011

August 25, 2011

October 17, 2011 (almost the end of the season)

April 21, 2012 (after spending about 4 1/2 months indoors)

Currently it stands at about 9 feet tall to the tallest leaf. It was only 1 foot tall when I bought it 19 months ago and as you can see it only grows fast during the really warm summer months.

1st Post Ever, small sample of what I grow.

Hi! I've been growing tropical plants here in NYC for several years now and every year the collection gets bigger and bigger and the plants in the collection have also gotten a lot bigger too! This post is just a "small" summary of last season. 

Some of the plants you see in these pics are Buttefly ginger, Spiral ginger, Musa Saba, Musa Blue Java (Ice Cream Banana), mediterranean fan palm, mandevilla, peace lilies, dicksonia antarctica tree fern, Sky Glory Vine, Passion Vine, Elephant ears, Plumeria Divine (among other plumerias as well), Brugmansia "Ember Glow",  Frostproof Gardenia, oleanders, Sabal minor, Crape Myrtle "Zuni", Desert Rose, Hibiscus, papaya, and some others. Not included are most of my cold hardy palms (which I will post soon) and about half of my other tropicals.

I hope you enjoy this blog! I will try to update as regularly as I can.