Musa zebrina, Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii', Musa basjoo
Banana is one of the first plants most of us conjure to mind when we envision the tropical look. With its long and broad, leafy foliage, it is a great plant to create a tropical feel in the garden. Treated strictly as ornamentals, these types of bananas are grown for their foliage, not for fruit. Bananas can grow to 15 feet tall and can be quite dramatic with their large leaves. Use bananas in large containers or as specimen plants in landscape beds.
- Blood banana (Musa zebrina) has purple-splotched green leaves and grows to about 8 feet tall. Hardy to USDA Zone 9.
- Red Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii') has foliage blushed with red and grows to 10 feet. Hardy to USDA Zone 9.
- Japanese fiber banana (Musa basjoo) doesn't have the beautiful coloration of the more tropical ornamental bananas, but it's much more cold-hardy (hardy to USDA Zone 6, and, well mulched, has even come back from -20 degrees F). It grows up to eight to 10 feet tall in one season. Produces huge, light-green leaves great for use in projecting the tropical look in the garden. Will not flower from the mid-South and northward, due to the short growing season.
Making a Lavender Hedge
Attractive to look at and much loved by bees and butterflies, these aromatic features are easy to grow, requiring no feeding and little maintenance beyond an annual clip as the flowers begin to fade.
Making an Herb Path Through a Wildflower Meadow
Many herbs withstand the odd footstep and thrive in the warmth reflected from pavers. Plant creeping thymes for the best effect; they will soon blur the sharp edges of the paving.
Make a Rose Arch
Add height and color to your garden with a classic wood arch, built from a kit and framed with climbing roses and clematis.
Assessing a New Landscape
When you're shopping for a new home, inspect the yard as thoroughly as the house. Here are some tips on what to look for.
Picking Plants: Understanding Is Key
Before you decide what to plant in your garden, get to know the various plant groups, different plants' needs and growth patterns, and other features that can help you pick the best plants for your space.
How to Prevent Invasive Plants
Prevent invasive plants in your garden and learn which plants to avoid growing altogether.
How to Cultivate and Care for Bonsai Trees
Learn these botanical basics to fully succeed at planting and caring for your bonsai tree.
Enjoying the Tropics in the Cold North
A master gardener tells how to enjoy tropical plants even if you're not in a typical climate for them.
Natural Hair Care From Your Garden
Who needs a store? The garden produces nearly all hair-care products.
How to Grow Self-Seeding Plants
Learn all about plants that reseed themselves without being invasive.
We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.