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Summer Tropicals are Here!

 By: Rachel Elmakiss

May is here and it’s bringing the summer heat along with it! It’s time to add some heat-loving tropics to your home for the summer! But what will be happy in our Arkansas heat? Here are some of our favorite options to add a tropical touch to your garden:

Hot Plants for Tropical Weather

• Boston, Macho, & Kimberly Ferns
These ferns behave as annuals in Arkansas, but they sure look great hanging on your patio. These fluffy ferns will be happiest in part sun to part shade, preferably morning sun and afternoon shade. Making sure that the soil stays damp will help to keep them looking happy and prevent fronds from drying out and dropping. Check them daily to make sure they’re not drying out! And remember, these beautiful ferns love the heat so bring them inside if and when the temperature drops below 60 F.

• Tropical Hibiscus
If you’re looking for a big-bloomed, colorful plant, look no further than tropical hibiscus! These show-stoppers will bloom all summer long and add a beautiful splash of tropical color to your home. Plant in full sun, and during the hot summer keep them well watered, especially when you see those blooms budding out! These are annuals in Arkansas so if you’re wanting something similar year round, there is a perennial hibiscus called a “Rose Mallow” that will come back each year!

• Mexican Petunia
This beautiful, perennial flower is great for adding some colorful height to your garden. With their dark stems, long leaves, and showy purple flowers, they’ll make your gardens feel just like the tropics! When it comes to water, these plants are unique from their other tropical cousins in that they are more drought resistant! They’ll still need occasional watering but not nearly as often. And the more sun you give them, the more beautiful blooms you’ll have! They will die back in the winter but give them time and they should come back up in the warmer months.

• Mandevilla and Dipladenia
These two flowering beauties are great for areas with bright filtered or indirect light. They come in shades of red, pink, and white. While the two are related and have very similar blooms, their growth patterns set them apart from each other – Mandevilla is a vining plant with an upward growth pattern, whereas Dipladenia has more of a bushy or low-trailing growth pattern.

• The Firecracker Plant
The firecracker plant adds some fun texture to your garden with small but showy orange blooms. These plants like full to part sun and regular watering during the warm summer months. Hardy zones 9-10, they’re just shy of being an evergreen in Arkansas, but they make for a showy accent plant for the summer!

Don’t forget that you can also bring the tropics indoors! Most houseplants are tropicals, and with bright light and the right care, the inside of your home can look just as fun and colorful as your garden! Look for Philodendrons, Monsteras, Dracaenas, Crotons, or some varieties of Palms to green up your home. As always, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable staff here at Cantrell Gardens with any questions you may have. Call us today to learn more about Tropicals can liven up your garden during the summer months!

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