Create a Sustainable Tropical Garden

Reconnect with the tradition of the nineteenth century and offer a world away with a tropical garden. By choosing hardy exotic plants (because they exist!), You will believe you at the end of the world …

Grow a sustainable tropical garden (or exotic look) in many areas. We must, of course, take some precautions, most sense.

Create a Sustainable Tropical Garden

This Trachycarpus palm tree in the foreground, supports -25 ° C. Who would’ve believed that ?


Shelter location of prevailing winds, with a hedge which filter the wind and not a wall that stops it. Indeed, a wall causes air vortices when the wind strikes it. These vortices descend behind the wall. For a wall of 2 m high, it is estimated that the area of cold eddies is 8 to 10 m! Except, of course you can plant against the wall of the house, which is one of the least cold areas of the garden in winter, because of the heat emission from the walls.

  • Do not buy too fed plants, the recovery will be better.
  • Plant your exotic with good exposure, south or southwest.
  • Plant in a very draining soil. Many plants (banana, agapanthus, small-leaved sage, Trachelospermum …) perish over the conjunction waterfront and gel as the gel itself.
  • Bring a fairly rich soil.
  • Do not mix plants with different backgrounds. The cacti, arid plants will not grow next to bamboo or banana trees, tropical plants.
  • If your soil is heavy, plant on mound to improve drainage.

Want to plant palm and banana?

1. Palm Lovers?

The Trachycarpus fortunei or hemp palm is the most rustic palm trees.

2. Want to banana?

Musa basjoo will be the only one able to withstand the cold, provided to mulch his stump with fallen leaves in autumn. At Musella, only Musella lasiocarpa (leaves with glaucous reflections and beautiful yellow flower size, photo) hardy to -10 -12 ° C, with good protection to the foot. For collectors: sikkimensis Musa, banana Himalayan rare as recently introduced, highly resistant to cold and snow, perhaps even more than Mr. basjoo.

Green and red envy?

1. Need cactus?

Turn to the Opuntia: Opuntia humifusa (-25 ° C), O. fragilis (-20 ° C), Opuntia polyacantha (-20 ° C), or the Echinocereus (photo below): E. triglochidiatus (- 23 ° C), E. coccineus (-20 ° C) and E. viridiflorus (-20 ° C).

2. Drawn by the bizarre?

Fascicularia pitcairnifolia is a broméliacée which bear gels of the order of -10 ° C. There is one in Jardin des Plantes in Paris, installed for over five years now.

Each exotic garden, its soil

For each type of exotic garden, adjust the floor.

  • To create a tropical-looking garden, bring rich soil, humus and draining. It will regularly watering and planting tight for that we have abundance of printing. Mulch with mature compost, leaves.
  • For a Mediterranean garden, the soil should be drained surface, stony, without humus, rather sandy clay, dry summers and cool without being too wet winter. Plant looser, plants rather to port ball (rock rose, santolina, thyme, boxwood …) compact. Mulch with pebble.
  • For a piece of desert, the soil should be light and very draining. You can plant in small hills, to further improve the drainage. Space plants and mulch well with very coarse sand.

The surprises

1. Chlorophytum, green or white coolers, behave like perennials in dry and protected areas: the leaves freeze, but the strain goes again in the spring.

2. Brugmansia and Abutilon folded each early winter and protected by 50 cm of dead leaves and compost, leave strain every spring if they kept their feet very dry.

3. Aspidistra elatior: originated in China, it has long been grown in the company of Clivia, the Sanseveria. It produces, slowly but surely, large oblong leaves. Surprisingly, it is resistant to cold in the Paris region, with a veil of forcing.

A true tropical garden

In a tropical garden, most of the plants live in the shade of taller species. At ground level, there is even very little light. Each stratum is occupied by specific plants. Far from them wither away, this lack of light forced them to develop forms and sometimes improbable colors, allowing them to better capture this light undergrowth. This explains why houseplants, most of all from tropical environments are so diverse in color and appearance.

And citrus or Cordyline?

1. Citrus desired?

Only the trifoliate orange is able to withstand without protection at temperatures of -30 ° C (sometimes even less) without protection. The proof, he existeun in superb copy in the wonderful gardens of Longwood Garden, Pennsylvania. The fruits are inedible, but the shrub in bloom is very beautiful (but alas no perfume).

2. Tempted by the Cordyline?

Cordyline australis has a good resistance to wind, spray and cold: it is resistant to -10 ° C or -13 ° C, if it has the feet dry, is sheltered from cold winds and if the cold does not last for weeks. She reached over time impressive dimensions: more than 10-12 m high and 5 m diameter crown. In casde severe frost, it restarts very often walk and even better that the plant has been widely and extensively straw. Well treated, is a plant that can last at least a century and a half!

Why not a eucalyptus or a passion?

1. Why not a eucalyptus?

Only E. pauciflora can spend several winters in a row. It restarts easy strain. But the rustic remains E. gunnii (photo).

2. Want passionflower

The only truly rustic passion, even in the Ile-de-France is the blue passion flower (Passiflora coerulea). It fully resists against a house wall. And if unfortunately, its stump dies, she also reseeds easily.

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