Category: ‘Tropicals’

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Enjoy Tropical Paradise on Your Patio

by Brian Wheat on July 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

Just because you live in a land-locked state or have a small outdoor area doesn’t mean you can’t sip a fruity drink surrounded by flowering tropical beauties this summer. You can easily transform your outdoor summer space to reflect the ambiance of an island paradise with just a few plants from your local garden center.

There are a variety of tropical plants that can be potted and placed on your patio. In the fall, bring them indoors. Most tropical plants love hot, sunny locations; all you have to do is water when dry and fertilize monthly to keep them blooming all summer.

Listed here are my top five favorite tropical patio plants and the climate zones where they thrive:

Mandeville (Zones 10-11): This vine with its red, white, pink, yellow or bi-color blooms looks wonderful spilling out of a colorful pot and its green glossy leaves can climb up to 20-feet. It is deer resistant and easy to grow.


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Cool Plants for Kids

by Brian Wheat on July 11, 2013 at 8:36 am

Venus Fly Trap

“Mom, can we get a Venus flytrap? Please, please, please?!” I hear this plea in the garden center almost daily. Kids love carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants are cool and a great way to teach children about plants and how to care for them. They are not dangerous and do not bite; but they do eat insects and spiders. The three most popular and most available are the Venus flytrap, pitcher plant and octopus plant.

Of the three, the exotic Venus flytrap is the most popular. Native to sub-tropical wetlands in North and South Carolina, it attracts insects to eat, but it’s okay to feed it other bugs, but just not hamburger or other processed meat. Insects will crawl into an open trap, triggering the hairs and it will snap shut. The trap will remain closed for a few weeks as its digestive juices consume the intruder. They can go two months without food. To care for your hungry friend, keep it in a sunny window with high humidity. It loves moist soil, so place the pot in a tray of water with a half-inch of distilled or rain water. Read More

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5 Tips for Father’s Day Flowers

by J. Robbin Yelverton on June 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm
Father’s Day Flowers by Blumz by JRDesigns in metro DetroitFathersDay-Robbin

This arrangement features vivid yellows, greens and whites with a keepsake dress tie in coordinating colors. The use of the exotic pincushion, bold fatsia leaf and unique blue eryngium thistle adds a distinctly masculine touch. Bells of Ireland add height and hydrangea lends its visual volume to help balance that height. — Photo Courtesy Blumz by JRDesigns in metro Detroit

Papa, Father, Padre, Pop, Dad … whatever name they go by, when it comes time to think of gifts for them, thoughts generally run the gamut of he-man tokens — rarely flowers. But yes Virginia, REAL men love flowers, too. They may sometimes act like they don’t, but that’s just dad following the rules laid out in the Old School Testosterone Playbook. The same playbook that says men don’t cry and shouldn’t wear pink. But trust me, it’s a fact backed up by actual research, men like flowers.

My dad gave me grief for the longest time when I announced that I was going to go to college to study plants and flowers. You see, my dad worked for the railroad; a brakeman hanging on the side of boxcars, switching the tracks, chewing tobacco and wearing cowboy boots. A REAL man. Playing with flowers was for sissies. But guess what that very same man did when he retired — he started playing with flowers. Daylilies to be exact, but flowers none the less. The truth was out: REAL men do love flowers.

Don’t be afraid to send dad flowers or a blooming plant. But when you do, give a nod to the Old School Testosterone PlayBook and keep these tips in mind: Read More

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Say Aloha to Tropical Flowers

by Tim Farrell on July 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm

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

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. Read More