"Hawaii - Islands of Aloha" - 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show. Photo courtesy: www.forbes.com

Surf, ukuleles, tikis. No, I’m not planning a summer vacation to Hawaii, but believe it or not, reliving Philadelphia this past March. Yes, you read that right. Philadelphia in March. It’s true. Walking around the Philadelphia International Flower Show, the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition, transported me to the South Pacific with its 2012 theme, “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha.” Exotic plants and blooms surrounding you as far as your eye could see. Twenty-five foot waterfalls, lava rocks and pseudo volcanic activity, sounds of tropical birds and live hula dancers filled the floor for all to enjoy. And the stars of the show were the tropical flowers.

Here I was, a veteran of the floral industry for more than 30 years, seeing many flowers I had never seen before. As I enjoyed the beauty and marveled at the vastness of the collection of tropical flowers, I noted some of the newer varieties. Here are just a few of the ones that caught my eye.

“Champange” Anthurium. Photo courtesy www.floresangles.com

Anthuriums are gorgeous tropical flowers. A unique one spotted at the show had a medium-sized bloom with an enchanting shade of icy green. The name of this exotic gem is “Champagne.” What a perfect addition “Champagne” would be to a bouquet of pale pink and peach flowers.

“Tropic Night” Anthurium. Photo courtesy www.floresangles.com

Another anthurium variety that caught my eye was at the other end of the color spectrum.“Tropic Night,” a very dark, burgundy flower appears as if it were made of leather or some other non-botanical material. What a sensational combination of color and texture in one beautiful bloom.

“Emerald Forest” Heliconia. Photo Courtesy www.terralutions.com.

While being a fan of heliconia for years, I was pleasantly surprised to come across several stunning varieties. “Emerald Forest” looks as if it could have graced the stage for the musical, “Wicked.” Its angular form, like most heliconia, is only upstaged by the stunning intense green coloration of the bloom.

“Caribaea Gold” is yet another stunning heliconia variety. The brightest sunny shade of yellow grabs your attention from across the room. And, if you like the hanging Heliconia, look for the “Angry Moon.” It cascades from a strong stem in shades of green, orange, yellow and red. You can be sure this wonderful species has been confused with a jungle parrot on many occasions.

Musa Coccinea. Photo courtesy: www.xoticflowers.co.uk

One last great find: “Musa.” Like the tropics own version of the tulip, Musa comes in a few color options and forms. This one, “Coccinea,” is a brilliant red/orange and would be a most interesting addition to almost any tropical design.

There are so many varieties of tropical flowers, and they can transport you to a beautiful tropical destination, even in Philadelphia. Ask your florist about the tropical flowers they have and send someone you love a “Hawaiian” vacation, just because.

What are your favorite tropical flowers?