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tropical looking flowerbeds

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by KDLAWN, Jan 13, 2005.


    KDLAWN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    I have a business ( tanning beds ) that is wanting to install some flowerbeds and wanting them to look tropical. I have thought of some 2 or 3 ft palm trees and also some ferns. I am trying to come up with some other ideas and needing some input on this.. what other plants would you use and what type of ground cover would you use.. I have looked on the web alittle and have not found anything that caught my eye.. I thought some or you guys could help and possibly supply some pics on this.. the flower bed is going to be around 30ft long and 5 to 6ft deep.. any help would be GREATFUL.. thanks!!:)
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Well, I am no expert on this as we can't grow most tropical stuff here in Oregon. But I think you're off to a good start. I would think Palms and Ferns are good as a foundation.

    I would add to that lots of plants with the following characteristics;

    * bright, colorful, flowers (annuals and perennials)
    * plants with unique, colorful foliage (e.g. purple "moses in the cradle")
    * Plants with extra large leaves (e.g. Fatsia Japonica)
    * Plants with tall, spiky leaves (e.g.Snake Plant, Yucca, Dracaena, etc.)

    Those are the kinds of things I see at the Bahamas or Hawaii.
  3. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,274

    I agree this Jim
    Forgive my spelling below....

    IMO Best way to go is colorful foliage. Reds, purples etc. Dracina (Margy) tri colors are good and hardy. B

    Check out a rainforest garden type book. Large leaf, tri color, ferns, palms (something else other than the cocas) philodendrons (spelling?) Quarterlines come in all sorts of colors. Even Frangapanny and clumping bamboos! Bird of Paradise (forgotten the name) Gingers are popular, they have cool flowers and great foliage.

    Try grouping plants together, say three palms reasonably close (depend on size of course)

    Have to be sure of heaps of water.

    Rock features are good. Use large (bigger than wheel barrow dish) black bush rocks with moss if you can. These are good for grouping different ferns/what ever around.
    Also, a canopy may be important.. Palms! Choose a few different height palms of different varieties. Alexandra, Bungalow, Fox Tail come to mind but not sure if you can get them there. Self cleaning is the go!
    My favorite small palm is The Beautiful Brazilian palm I think its called. Low, clumping very dark fronds. Another classic is The Golden Cane. Can be very slow growing though!

    A few trees like Figs. Caution with these, as you know roots can be a problem but they are a great low canopy tree.

    Just did a search for ya and found this..
    Heres a good site for your reference. Its one of our TV show sites. Check out "Plants" once your in there!


    Hope that lot helped. If you want more, do a search like "rainforest garden AU" use the "au" and you ll get Aussie site usually!
    Good luck!
    heres another, not so good but has some info...
  4. kalyeah

    kalyeah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    what about some dwarf cannas? I think they stay around 2-3 feet. Bannannas, elephant ears. All kinds of annuals you can find. I don't know how big of an area you have. Hibiscus, oleander, These take up a little more room. Annuals can provide a lot of color. Is this a sunny or shady area?

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    As a litlte trick, add a stone pond. We put a little "pond" by a customers front door. Bright blue stone (like fish tank stuff) with white sand around it.
    Not very big only around 3' dia. Adds a neat touch and every body comments on it as they go in. Also cheap.
  6. slikrick

    slikrick LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 101

    do you put water in this or is it for looks and rain water? do you have any pictures of it? id like to see what your talking about
  7. Updog

    Updog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Try some base tropical plants and then just add color. A few sagos windmill palm or two maybe bird of paradise than your usual color to fill in the other areas. There are allot of palms you can use just keep them covered during frost or freezing conditions.
  8. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    Some of my favorite tropical looking plants are the Sago Palm and the Mexican Fan Palm. They make any bed look more tropical.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Sorry no pictures.
    The blue stone is the water. Go to a fish store (Pet Smart) and look at the fish tank stone. The blue stone becomes the water and the white sand the beach. Thats the cool part, there is no water to keep clean. Instead of mulch just make your "pond". I think the reason so many people like it is it is different, Something you don't see every day.
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Two of my favorites as well! And some of the only tropicals we can get to grow here in Oregon. Well, we can get Dracaenas to grow here too, for a few years anyway.

    I cheat with my Sago. I have a REALLY nice big Sago. It's in a pot. In the spring, I plant the pot in the ground, outside in my flowerbed. Then, I cover the rim of the pot with mulch. It's happy there all year until winter, when I just remove it (in the pot) and place it in my garage. There, I have a light lamp which keeps it happy for the winter. All my plant-knowledgable friends always see it in the summer and scratch their heads as to how I get that to survive from year to year.

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