Bird of Paradise — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, ColoradoIt’s hard to believe summer is over and it’s already November. Thank goodness for flowers and plants, because they can transport you to another place.

With flowers, I can relive the magic of Hawaii.

In one of my earlier blogs, I coined the phrase “flower watching,” likening it to birdwatching when flower lovers are exploring on a trip or vacation.

My wife and I were blessed to have traveled to the Hawaiian island of Maui for the 132nd Annual Convention of the Society of American Florists.

And boy, did we flower watch.

Bougainvillea — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, ColoradoInside the hotel at the convention itself, there were 184 varieties of flowers, foliage and plants competing in one of the floral industry’s biggest flower competitions.

More than 400 floral professionals from 41 states and three foreign countries were treated to excellent floral design displays around the hotel created by top floral designers who inspired us around every corner with bouquets of tropical color, textures and fragrance.

We also watched in awe as top floral designers competed in the nation’s longest running live floral design competition.

Outside, it was awesome strolling to see God’s creations blooming and growing around the island.

Plumeria — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, ColoradoI want to give you a taste of the many tropical treats we enjoyed throughout the beauty that surrounded us. Here are my top six flowers that love living and growing in paradise.

Bird of Paradise is native to South Africa and also goes by the name crane lily. It can reach the height of 10-feet and comes in combined colors of red, orange, white and blue. It is pollinated by sunbirds and is a favorite among floral designers for tropical arrangements. It also makes a fun houseplant with great light and minimal care.

Bougainvillea is an immensely floriferous show of paper-like flowers on a thorny vine. It can scramble up to 40-feet, and it can be in bush or tree form. It is native to South America and evergreen in warm climates where rainfall occurs year around. Clusters of pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white and even yellow flowers exist. It is a good potted plant on your summer deck and patio to create a great tropical look.

Beach Morning Glory — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, ColoradoPlumeria is a heavenly scented flower in the dogbane family native to Nepal, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. Creamy white and yellow flowers are most fragrant at night as they are pollinated by the sphinx moth in the evening. With more than 300 named varieties, they are used in leis and to indicate relationship status in Polynesian cultures.

Beach Morning Glory is an ipomoea and comes in blue, pink and purple. Also known as bay hops or goat’s foot, this impressive tropical vine creeps around upper parts of sandy beaches and endures salted air, while working as a sand stabilizer. In Australia, it is commonly used in aboriginal medicine as a poultice for stings from stingrays and stonefish.

Hibiscus — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, ColoradoHibiscus is a beautiful bloomer of short-lived flowers in the mallow family. There are several hundred species of them that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.

The many colored blossoms of Hawaii’s state flower are traditionally worn in the hair by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls.

The hibiscus attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and makes an excellent patio pot plant in a sunny location.

It is very versatile in making of paper, teas, medicines, and even dried and sugared as food. Hibiscuses love the tropical sun, and they represent beauty, unity and peace.

Ginger — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, ColoradoGinger, with its red and orange torches of color, fills the garden with sweet and spicy scents. Indigenous to the west coast of India, there are over 1300 species of ginger in the diverse zingiberaceae family. Its uses have therapeutic properties of oils and medicines. This favorite among floral designers has the perfect tropical flair. In flower meanings, ginger means “proud.”

Did you know that tropical flowers are available year-round at your local florist? Go ahead, experience aloha in November with tropical flowers.

What is your favorite tropical flower?

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