Creating a Tropical Garden Scheme

Tropical schemes are easily put together. Pick your star architectural plants, fill the gaps with flowers and foliage, then check that the pots and background create the right illusion. Simplicity is the key.

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Pots and Backdrops

With the emphasis on bold, punchy, exotic planting, avoid pots that will upstage the plants. The latter should grab all the attention. Only try exciting shapes or painted pots where the plants command equal attention. Avoid anything green in the background (from decking to a lawn), so that all the leaves are clearly visible, without any competition.

Placing Exotic Plants For Maximum EffectEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Permanent Fillers

The choice of gap fillers is important because if all the plants are headline-grabbers, they will fight for attention, and you’ll get more losers than winners. Use the fillers to guide the eye to the strongest shapes, and create breathing spaces. The most reliable and highly effective include shade-happy hostas and ferns.

  • Adiantum venustum

  • Choisya ternata

  • Dryopteris filix-mas

  • Hebe

  • Hosta 'Blue Angel'

  • Hosta fortunei var. aureomarginata

  • Hosta 'Frances Williams'

  • Hosta 'Halcyon'

  • Laurus nobilis

  • Matteuccia struthiopteris

  • Pieris

  • Sasa palmata

  • Sedum

Hosta FillerEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Colorful Accents

Tropical scenes demand sparing, judicious use of color, just enough to hint at parrots and toucans. Traditional English bedding plants, such as petunias and busy Lizzies (Impatiens), are ideal, as are the flashier dahlias, red hot pokers (Kniphofia), ginger lilies (Hedychium) and montbretia (Crocosmia).

Large Pots of Colorful PetuniasEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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